11 March 2008

White rascal

Top Gear gets up close and personal with the evil new Lambo Gallardo

Lamborghini Gallardo LP560

The new Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 drew the Geneva crowds like moths to an industrial jet turbine. But while the rest of the punters were limited to gazing at the faster, more aggressive new Gallardo from a respectable distance, Top Gear was granted an out-of-hours audience to haul the LP560 off to a top-secret studio and get up close and personal with the meaner baby Lambo. 

For the full shoot, you'll need to get your hands on the April edition of Top Gear magazine - out next Thursday, March 20 - but in the meantime, we thought we'd bring you up to date on Sant'Agata's latest weapon.

That name, for a start: the LP560-4, in full. The LP at the start refers to the longitudinal engine - longitudinale posteriore in Italian - layout; the 4 at the end to the four-wheel-drive transmission; and the 560 in the middle to the monumental power output.

That's 552bhp in English money, from a revised 5.2-litre V10 which features direct injection and variable valve control on all four camshafts. Which means power is up some 32bhp over the old Gallardo, with an extra 23lb ft of torque to play with, too.

Despite the extra power, fuel consumption and emissions are reduced by 18 per cent, making the Gallardo almost green. Almost.

The Gallardo's E-Gear paddle-shift transmission has been revised too, making it lighter and quicker-shifting. But the six-speed manual remains - which is no bad thing.

Bigger brakes and a slightly firmer suspension set-up complete the mechanical alterations... but then there are those looks.

And it does look mean. Seriously mean. Lambo's design director Manfred Fitzgerald describes the new Gallardo as 'aggressive and yet more minimal' than the outgoing model, and the razor-sharp new looks draw heavily on the million-Euro special-edition Reventon.

Round the front there's a new splitter and air intakes, but it's the squatter, scarier rear, with its quad exhausts and mental diffuser, that really belies the Gallardo's F430-devouring intentions.

The modifications aren't just aesthetic - the LP560 is, says, Lamborghini, 31 per cent more aerodynamic, which helps fuel consumption but more importantly should make it even better at dimension-bending speeds.

Whetted your appetite? For the full story behind the stunning new Gallardo LP560, get hold of April's Top Gear magazine, on sale next week.

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