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Scuderia Ferrari will have sealed its fifth consecutive Formula 1 drivers' championship and sixth consecutive constructors' championship well before your eyes glide across these words. Maybe it's time to turn down the voltage, coast for a while before even F1's impresario, Bernie Ecclestone, falls asleep.

Coasting isn't what management consultants would label a "core competency" at Ferrari. The black mare has been prancing at redline ever since current president and CEO Luca Cordero di Montezemolo kicked the door down in 1991. What had been a sleepy compound of squat red-brick workshops has become an Architectural Digest centerfold, the latest addition being Ferrari's Centro Sviluppo Prodotto, or Product Development Center. To his portfolio of wobbling spheres, coiled cobras, and fractured daggers, Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas has added a sculpture of levitating smoked-glass cubes crowned by rooftop reflecting ponds. The water bugs zipping by as you navigate the narrow steel walkways between the buildings' wings now represent the bulk of Ferrari's nonunion workforce.

New Ferrari people, such as Mini Cooper chief designer Frank Stephenson, the director of Ferrari-Maserati Group design since August 2002, are busy fashioning the next generation of hero cars. Ferrari's latest entry-level model, the F430, is the first example to be publicly pinned on Stephenson (who shares the credit with design studio Pininfarina, which gets the body badge).

Carrying over much of its extruded aluminum space frame, suspension, interior layout, and longitudinal V-8 configuration, the F430 isn't considered a replacement for the 360 Modena so much as an evolution of it. Inside Ferrari, the 360 was called the F131, and the company ladled out about 10,000 servings. Although 70 percent of the parts are new and the price increase should be about $9500, to $167,000 with gas-guzzler tax, the F430 is called the F131 Evoluzione or, more simply, "the Evo" by Ferrari's engineers.

The 360 had looked fast, a crackling bonfire of Italian lust. But Stephenson believes it "was always a little flabby. It needed to go to the gym." The F430 went to the Enzo supercar for a few items, such as those blistered taillights and rear grille mesh. It worked out in the wind tunnel and received a new underbody winglet in the nose, air baffles on the otherwise smooth belly pan, a finned rear undertray, and a little whip of a tail spoiler. It all helps press the body down harder at speed. At 124 mph, the F430's axles carry about 100 more pounds than the 360's.

What purpose do the cartoon nostrils serve?

Back in 1961, Phil Hill won the F1 world championship in a Ferrari 156 that featured similar "shark nose" vents, Stephenson explains. So it's retro? "I hate that word retro," snaps the father of the new Mini. "We're carrying over our DNA, much like you have your grandmother's eyes or nose." Family genetics also spawned an industry called rhinoplasty, but that's neither here nor there.

As if a Ferrari needed visual gewgaws when there are 4.3 liters of aluminum virtuosity to gape at under the back glass. Lift the rear deck and behold what looks like a fine pair of thighs in scarlet spandex. The F430's 483-hp V-8--722cc and 88 horses angrier than the 360's--is part of a new family of V-8 screamers in the Maserati Coupé and Quattroporte. The commonality lies mainly in the block casting, says powertrain director Jean-Jacques His, where the engines share their 90-degree vee and five-main-bearing architecture. Variable intake- and exhaust-valve timing, plus the bore spacing of 104 millimeters, is also found in the Ferrari Enzo's V-12, which descends from the same family. A detuned version of that V-12 will eventually go into the 612 Scaglietti and replacement for the 575M Maranello.

As in the 360 Modena, this new F430 is the only Ferrari or Maserati to use a flat-plane crankshaft. That means half of its connecting-rod journals line up directly opposite the other half, making the crank look as flat as a dash mark when viewed head-on. Most V-8s, including Maserati's own version of the motor, have a two-plane crank that looks like an X and spaces the rod journals at 90-degree intervals for smoothness. Ferrari says the flat way, which mimics two inline fours joined at the hip, increases vibration but pays benefits in breathing and power production. It also grinds a particular edge into the Ferrari's bark at high revs.

Ah, that Ferrari voice, once the accidental byproduct of Weber carburetors and tangled steel tubes and now a serious challenge for engineers dealing with sealed induction manifolds and catalytic converters. This, the first Ferrari engine designed with sound quality in mind from day one, breathes differently from a typical boom-boom Detroit V-8 with its single intake and twin exhausts. The F430's twin air intakes (the 360 Modena had one) feed from the enlarged shoulder scoops with carefully tuned resonators for better airflow and enhanced stereophonic playback. The exhaust manifolds mix the hot stuff in one large chamber, producing a rapidly cadenced mechanical snarl. Under hard acceleration, the decibels rocket shriekward when bypass valves open a straighter path to the atmosphere.

The F430's V-8 isn't just a spinner; its new dual-displacement intake plenum and variable valve timing put the pants press to the torque curve. American-delivered F430s with the optional F1 paddle-shift automated manual transmission go without the launch control that lets the driver commit hairy high-rpm clutch drops, but never mind; Ferrari's test drivers instructed us to just drop it in low and flatten the aluminum stick of a gas pedal--lightly at first to keep the 285/35 hams in back adhering to the pavement. While the engine went Bwwaaaaaa! and those crackle-red mounds twitched in the rearview mirror, the computer counted to 60 in--wait, does that say 3.5 seconds? Look, the quarter-mile is 11.7 seconds at 123 mph. Can't be. Fearing a test-box meltdown, we consulted with a rival magazine that was radar-gunning another F430 driven by a factory pilot. Results: practically identical.

The archive states that the old 360 Modena was more than a second slower to 60. The mighty million-buck F40: 0.7 second behind. The rare-as-hen's-molars F50: 0.3 in arrears. Even with some help from Ferrari's Fiorano test track (the straightaway turns slightly downhill halfway through, and tests were allowed only in one direction--north), Ferrari's cheapest model appears to be its second-quickest production car ever, behind--but not by much--the Enzo. A V-10 Lamborghini Gallardo gets a snoot full of bull dust. How's that for progress?

Our time at Fiorano was unusually generous, thanks to the absence of an F1 testing crew. This late in yet another smack-down season, perhaps the Ferrari team doesn't even wash the cars between races. However, Ferrari's Gestione Sportiva, the racing department, rides along in every F430, most obviously on the steering wheel.

Schumacher's own wheel has rotary knobs adjusting everything from the car's throttle sensitivity to the viscosity of his lip balm. In the F430, a single manettino, or selector, condenses the traction control, the stability control, and the firmness of the Skyhook electronic shock-damping regulator into one five-position dial. Simply pick the setup that suits your adrenaline level. The "ice" and "low grip" settings relax the shocks, slow the shifts, and perk up the traction and stability controls. In "sport" and "race," shift times range from 0.20 second to 0.15 second; also, the shocks go progressively rigid, and the anti-crash nannies become more tolerant of sideways play. The last setting, "CST," shuts off all the electronic insurance except ABS and the E-Diff differential, another Grand Prix peace dividend.

In the E-Diff, hydraulic pressure supplied by the self-shifting F1 transmission's pump (opt for an old-time stick, and you still get the pump and the E-Diff) compresses a stack of friction plates in the differential that transfers torque from side to side. The computer watches your movements and supplies the torque split needed in back to maintain traction and help rotate the car through corners. We can sum up the E-Diff in two words: It works.

See the corner, turn sharp, pick your moment, and go. The F430 tangos to command, slightly loose or totally sideways as you choose, your right foot feeding the power, your hands twitching the corrections through a responsive and friction-free rack soaked in Ferrari's magic steering lubricant. It's summertime and the drifting is easy! Across the Apennine ridgelines above Modena, the F430 twisted faces into permanent smirks. A center of gravity at kneecap height--the F430's crankshaft spins on an axis just 10 inches above the pavement--nails the car down flat and stable through corners. Nothing upsets the body or flusters the grip, not even a road surface pitching like the North Sea.

Fiorano's lack of a suitable skidpad kept us from measuring lateral forces in our usual way, but we did see more than 1.05 g through some of the circuit's corners. Put in motion by a firm brake pedal, the carbon-ceramic discs--an option expected to cost the same as a Scion xB, or $14,000--performed four successive stops from 70 mph in fewer than 150 feet. Ferrari claims they're good for 350 laps at Fiorano without fade. They didn't mention the moaning that the huge carbon-impregnated silicon discs make when they're cold, or the wind whistle one of our sample F430s made at speeds above 60 mph, probably from an ill-fitting windshield gasket.

Now that the beginner's Ferrari has reached supercar levels of performance, maybe it's time to pump some excitement into the F1 program, too. They could blow a few engines, maybe crash once or twice. Then again, should Ferrari ever become just a couple of offices in the marketing department of General Motors, we may all forget what perfection looked and sounded like.

By Eric Sandoval

 

Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera

£180,000 Driven April 2010

Additional Info


8.30am: The arrival...

We arrive at a photographic studio on a grey and functional Bolognese industrial estate in the kind of weather that manages to siphon off positive emotions and leave you feeling depressed for no good reason. The clouds are off-white, low and thick, heavy with implied resentment, a few desultory flakes of snow slowly spiralling to their inevitable deaths on the concrete. It's rubbish. Rubbish right up until we pull back the roller doors of the studio. At which point our day starts to look a damn sight brighter, in every sense that matters.

Squatting behind said doors is a new Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera, painted blazing yellow, wedge-shaped body parenthesised by black, carbon-fibre bits that stick out all over the place. It has the ‘big wing' option, black wheels, the Reventón's chin. It has Superleggera stripes down the side, a 562bhp direct-injection V10 in the back and a quad of matt-black exhausts the size of storm drains. The man from Lamborghini hands me the key and simply says, "'Ave foon." It takes me a second to translate the heavily accented English, and then I'm advancing on the SL with a boyish gleam and a very uncool grin plastered across my face. Sod the weather, time to get noisy.

See our pics of the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera

9.04am: Not so fast sunshine...

Charlie and Joe immediately stand in front of me, pulling large and important-looking cameras pointedly from bags. First we must shoot the cover. First I must hurry up and wait in a state of tortured idling. Balls. I amuse myself by wandering around the car spotting the new bits, and trying to figure out which bits aren't new, but have been skinnied to allow the Superleggera, or ‘Superlight' to live up to its name. The first bit is pretty easy: the front-end air intakes are new and pleasingly jutting, there's a big fixed picnic table (a smaller wing comes as standard) and a straked Venturi-style rear bumper underneath that, all woven from the finest carbon fibre. The sills are similarly made of weave, as are the rear-view-mirror casings.

If you prod various bits of the outside of the car, you discover that the engine cover is also carbon, and the clear bit in the middle turns out to be thin and wobbly polycarbonate, which also features as the material of choice for the side windows. On casual acquaintance, pretty serious stuff, even if a lot of it is really racing jewellery rather than hard-core weight saving. But then you look closer, and you see that Lamborghini's got fantastically anal with this car - probably because the standard Gallardo isn't actually very porky in the first place.

10am: carbon-fibrous...

Let's just whip through some of the dietary highlights. Those black wheels are forged aluminium with titanium wheelnuts, saving 13kg. Most of the flat undertray is carbon fibre, as are the aforementioned sills, Venturi, air intakes and engine cover.  Inside you sit on Alcantara-skinned carbon seats, right thigh resting on a carbon-fibre transmission tunnel that houses a carbon-fibre handbrake, looking at a carbon-fibre dialset and pulling closed a carbon-fibre door card with a lightweight, leather-tab handle. The wheel is carbon fibre, wrapped in a fluffy Alcantara that feels identical to grasping a worn-through towelling bathrobe. Getting the picture?

The SL has four-point, semi-race harnesses that drip intent. There's no radio and no satnav, though I'm pleased to note thatyou do get aircon and electric windows. Anything really to break up the unrelenting attack of carbon-fibre weave. It's making my eyes go funny, and I'm sure that after staring at the centre console for 10 minutes I can see a leaping dolphin. But at least it works. The LP570 has shed more than 70kg, making it lighter than the rear-wheel-drive-only Balboni special edition, despite the full suite of 4x4-ness. It weighs in at just 1,340kg. If you still think that sounds porky, it can be put into perspective by pointing out that a Porsche Boxster weighs 1,356kg. This thing is as fat-free as road-going supercars get. And at this point I'm so desperate to start driving, I'm standing behind Charlie and Joe, and hopping from foot to foot like a five-year-old kid, desperate for a wee.

1pm: wake up, time for harness trouble...

After roughly 40 years of waiting, Charlie and Joe are finished doing whatever it is that people from the art department do, and it's time to leave. I wiggle easily into the non-adjustable seat and then fit together the various pieces of harness jigsaw. Once comfortable, I realise that with the harnesses on, I can no longer reach the door to shut it. I take the harnesses off and shut the door, put the harnesses on, programme the satnav, then realise that I now can't reach the windscreen to attach the sucker. Harnesses off, attach sucker, put on harnesses and realise that the key is actually in my jeans. Under the harnesses. At this point I'm pretty much ready to commit suicide and I'm gnashing my teeth so furiously that several molars spill into the footwell. A crowd has gathered to watch the car pull away, and I look like I'm sitting in the car park arguing with the seatbelts. Charlie and Joe follow in the hired Ford Focus. I suspect they are laughing.

See our pics of the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera

1.30pm: Oh. My. God...

Ten minutes later and my frustrations have been sluiced away in a vicious tide of acceleration, noise and unnecessary gearchanges. I'm giggling to myself and need to wipe my nose, but can't because my tissues are approximately 1mm further than the bloody harnesses will let me get to, even if I slacken them off. But I don't care. We're headed up and north away from Bologna, in search of mountain roads to match the Lambo; pretty stuff that includes - one assumes for artistic and emotional reasons - corners. But to get there, first we must dispatch glorious stretches of Italian Autoroute. At the first toll booth, I am forced to risk smearing the car along the barrier just to get close enough to take a ticket, and still have to undo the harnesses and open the door, but feel strangely glad that I'm proving to be so amusing to the following Focus, whose occupants appear to be laughing so hard they're in danger of vomiting up a lung.

An angry right foot sees the Gallardo reach out and hungrily smash forwards through the horizon. The revised 5.2-litre V10 strung out behind my head makes slightly more power than before (up 10bhp over stock), thanks to new more efficient, stratified fuel-injection system, but the Superleggera just feels keen to get up and go, even if the mass-loss is relatively low in percentage terms. The 0-62 dash takes 3.4 seconds, and 0-124mph occurs a smidge over 10 seconds after that. The old-school standard-fit six-speed e-Gear gearbox is fast but jerky, whipping your head back to the headrests when changing up, but gloriously blipping downchanges with the kind of barking huff that's pure racecar. We variously try to bait Modena-bound supercars, trying it on with Maserati GranCabrios and even a full-spec 599, but nobody's having any of it. I decide they're probably scared.

4pm: Lake Garda. Feedback. Need a massage...

We head out to the western shore of Lake Garda aiming for the mountains, and everything is good with the world. The Focus has caught back up after it failed to maintain the required Lamborghini cruising speed, and we drop back onto some slower A-roads and calm down a little. It's here that I realise how tense I am.

The Superleggera may be very easy to actually drive, but it never, ever stops mainlining information. Which is knackering. The steering reacts at thought-speed to every tiny input. And you can download ridiculous amounts of data through your palms; at one point driving across a cobbled section of roundabout, I could not only tell you the shape and size of the block paving, but that one of the sets on the right-hand side of the car was loose. There is no ‘sneeze factor'. Sneeze at speed in this Lambo and you're likely to find yourself in another lane. Possibly on another carriageway.

The other thing I realise as we cruise through an out-of-season Garda that looks like a Gucci Skegness, is that the suspension is actually racecar hard. Damping, engine mountings, anti-roll bars - they've all been wound down to something approximating the Super Trofeo racecars, and you find yourself idly wondering whether you can swallow down the bit of intestine that's bounced up into the back of your mouth. It might not crash, but if you've got the LP570-4 in ‘Corsa' mode on a public road, you're in for a bumpy ride just the right side of actual pain. Which you might expect to be an issue for a Lambo, seeing as some previous models have had a reputation for less-than-perfect fit'n'finish. But the Superleggera, despite being mostly made up of sheets of rattly carbon and furnished with the spartan minimalism of the truly fetishistic, doesn't squeak or rattle. True, it sounds kind of hollow, the pulsing rasp of the V10 moving more easily through the cabin, but not cheaper or less solid.

7pm. Hairpins. Lots of them...

Which is a feature we're about to test as we head up into the hills past Riva and out to Pranzo and Ballino, up towards Bolzano. The countryside here is desaturated, all browns and winter greys, just awaking from a winter hibernation. And there are hairpins. Lots of them. Excellent.

With no radio to distract, or satnav to silence, I push the ‘Corsa' button and start letting the Superleggera do its considerable thing. And it gets better and better. The six-pot carbon-ceramic brakes need a little heat, but once warm slam the car to a stop with casual violence. The steering is so transparent that you can feel the front diff clawing around for grip mid-hairpin, but with the drivetrain split defiantly rearwards at 30/70 front to rear, the SL punches out of the corner on a wave of oversteer. So you feed the car in and keep a neutral throttle and you get a 4x4, slight understeer experience. Go in hard on the brakes, stab, lift and power out, and you get luscious powerslides gathered up at the ‘overcooking it' moment by the front axle, which just tugs the nose away from the dynamic precipice of a spin. Only after a couple of hours do I realise just how special the Superleggera really is. So much so, that there's barely any fuel in it when we finally drop out of the mountains and head towards Bolzano for some dinner.

See our pics of the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera

11pm: Caffeine overdose. Temporary... blindness. Potato issues...

We stow the car in an underground car park for a couple of hours and marvel at how good the Gallardo still looks. I bounce into the restaurant, hyper and gabbling, eat a kilogramme of potatoes and find that carbohydrates cancel out adrenalin. I remember how long I've been awake and consider a rest-stop. At which point I catch the glimmer of the golden bull on the keyfob and decide that 24 hours probably isn't enough. We head out again, into the murk of the night.

3am: WeeeArrrWoooArrr... click... brrrr......

The next two hours are a slight blur as I forget that I've just drunk a double espresso and chugged two cans of Red Bull. The ensuing palpitations mean that I go temporarily blind in one eye and can't stop talking. At the services I start to jig around like a Nineties E-head and then can't drive for 15 minutes because I can see my own heartbeat in my one remaining orb. It's dead  out here, so the TopGear roadcrew heads further north. Towards more mountains. And, before we are really aware of what's happening, copious amounts of snow.

4.30am: we're nearly in Austria!...

It's so late it's become tomorrow morning, but the Superleggera keeps on giving. We've headed out towards the Brenner Pass, above which is Innsbruck, Austria. It's dark, I'm tired and just a little bit scared. But I can't stop driving. Another 85 litres of fuel. More elevation. More snow. I find an incredible piece of squirelly tarmac covered in ice that allows me to gently drift the Gallardo around sets of hairpins for about 10 miles. It's like my own private ice-racing track, and the Gallardo is a car like no other. I'm here for nearly four hours. It feels like 20 minutes. Morning breaks and the car is reading -10°, but taking windchill into account it must be about -30°. The Pirellis stopped working properly at about -8, so there have been a few monumentally hairy moments - all of which were gathered up by the Superleggera's 4x4.

8.30am: Worrying urine. Stolen by the Suit...

I get out for a pee, and realise that I've covered many hundreds of miles, through towns, motorways, mountains, through rain, snow and sunshine, and the Lambo hasn't missed a beat or been wrong footed in any way. Which is positively incredible for such a hard-core car. While I ponder urine coloured a worrying, fluorescent green, I look back towards the car just in time to see the door slipping shut, and hear the V10 bark into life. I stand gobsmacked as the familiar helmet of the Stig turns to me once, nods and then explodes away in a storm of snow and ice, traction off, full commitment. The three of us watch the Stig steal our car, drifting his way down the hill at full speed and without a hint of human imagination. We stare at each other, shrug, and follow in the Focus. Too stunned to know what else to do.

1pm: how did he do that?...

Several hours later and the man from Lamborghini rings to say that he's just gone outside to find ‘our' Superleggera inside the locked compound with the driver's door open and the engine running, but no sign of us. We explain we're still more than an hour-and-a-half away and ask about the white-suited one. Nobody saw or heard anything. But you know that for the Stig to bother taking the car back at all, it must have been impressive as hell.

As we trawl back to Sant'Agata in our much more humble support car, I can't help but agree. The Superleggera is definitely harder work than the standard car, but more rewarding at the upper reaches of ability, and yet less dangerously focussed than the Balboni. And I was right: 24 short hours with a car as exceptional as the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera LP570-4 isn't enough. I need more time. But somehow I don't think Lambo will go for a 20-year loan, no matter how much I plead.

Tom Ford

Lamborghini Gallardo

Although it's probably difficult for most people to think of a $200,000 automobile as "affordable," that's the position the Lamborghini  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  finds itself in within the Lambo product lineup. But no matter -- sports cars with exotic looks and the performance to match have a built-in ownership audience.

Since its introduction, the mission for this "baby Lamborghini" has been to maintain the style and attitude of Lamborghini's 12-cylinder cars but be more livable in everyday use. It's been a successful strategy, as there's been no shortage of takers who rightly lust after such a usable and alluring sports car. In fact, the  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  has become this Italian automaker's best-selling model ever.

It is true that the  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  lacks the outrageous spirit and flair so often associated with the company's more expensive or legendary offerings. But the trade-off of a little spirit for a lot of functionality has been a good one, and there's no doubt that the  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  is a true, world-class exotic.

Current Lamborghini  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**
The exotic Lamborghini  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  LP560-4 is currently available in a coupe body style and as a spyder convertible. The name LP560-4 refers to its engine position ("longitudinale posteriore" or longitudinal rear), its European horsepower measurement (560 ps) and that all four wheels are powered. There are also two lightweight versions: the LP 570-4 Superleggera coupe and LP 570-4 Spyder Performante

The  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  LP560-4 is powered by a 5.0-liter V10 good for 552 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission with gated metal shifter is standard, while an automated six-speed sequential-shift manual transmission known as e-gear is optional. The LP570-4 models benefit from some clever tuning to produce 562 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. The e-gear transmission is standard. Expect 0-60 times in the high 3-second range for the LP560-4 and the low 3-second range for the LP570-4.

In terms of layout and design, the Lamborghini  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  is a true exotic. To keep weight down, the chassis is a composite blend of alloy stampings, extrusions and castings. And except for the traditionally opening steel doors (no scissors), the exterior is constructed of thermoplastic-formed panels. To further reduce weight, the Superleggera and Spyder Performante receive carbon-fiber exterior and interior components, polycarbonate rear and side windows and lighter 19-inch wheels.

Inside, the  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com** 's handsome furnishings sublimely marry form with function and offer a surprising level of comfort for a vehicle of this type. Credit is certainly due to the influence of parent company Audi, whose expertise with interior design has been of no small benefit since the Volkswagen Group purchased Lamborghini in the late 1990s. The impact is obvious given the precisely fitting leather and soft-touch materials.

Despite the fact that this is an exotic sports car, seating is comfortable enough to accommodate the occasional road trip. Though not as flamboyant as its extroverted exterior, the interior styling still befits a vehicle in this price range. Storage space is tight, though, with a minimal amount of room available behind the seats and in the nose-mounted trunk.

But once behind the wheel, you'll gladly leave everything behind in exchange for the sweet, sonorous symphony of its V10 at full throttle. With 500-plus horses at your command, the  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  is capable of spine-compressing speed in any gear. At wide-open throttle, the lusty V10 plays a veritable mechanical symphony in keeping with the car's Italian heritage. The big V10 and all-wheel-drive system add quite a bit of mass, but in return the AWD system gives  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  drivers extra traction when the road ahead is slick and unfamiliar.

Used Lamborghini  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  Models
The Lamborghini  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  debuted for 2004 in a coupe body style only. Originally, it was powered by a 493-hp version of the 5.0-liter V10. The same transmission options were available, although e-gear was improved over the years for better shift response. For 2006, the lineup expanded to include the spyder convertible with an automatic folding soft top, and a limited-production SE model featuring 520 hp, shortened gear ratios, revised suspension tuning, quickened steering, better tires, a new exhaust, special trim and two-tone color schemes. Other than the colors and trim, all the SE's mechanical improvements were made to the standard  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  later that model year. For '07, a change in horsepower measurement technique resulted in a lowering of hp to 512.

Produced only for 2008 was the  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  Superleggera. This coupe-only model was modified for even better performance. It featured 522 hp, slightly different suspension settings and an approximate 150-pound-lighter curb weight thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber and reduced feature content. It would be a rare used car find.

For 2009, the current Lamborghini  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  LP560-4 arrived along with a number of updates. Compared to those that came before, it lost 45 pounds and gained 40 additional horses as well as quicker e-gear shift times. There was also revised exterior styling, particularly around the rear fascia and taillight area, which softened the  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com** 's angularity a bit. Chassis rigidity was also stiffened. Finally, the  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  LP560-4 differs from the previous  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  from rear suspension modifications adopted from its Audi R8 platform-mate, which enhanced the  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com** 's already otherworldly cornering capabilities.

There was no  Gallardo - ** Rent a Lamborghini Gallardo in Denver @Oxotic.com**  Spyder for '09, but it was reintroduced for 2010 with the same changes made the previous year for the LP560-4. That year also introduced the 542-hp, rear-drive-only Valentino Balboni special edition (of only 250 examples) in honor of the noted Lamborghini test-driver's retirement. For the 2011 model year, the 570-4 Superleggera coupe and the 570-4 Spyder Performante convertible both debuted.

Although it's probably difficult for most people to think of a $200,000 automobile as "affordable," that's the position the Lamborghini Gallardo finds itself in within the Lambo product lineup. But no matter -- sports cars with exotic looks and the performance to match have a built-in ownership audience.

Since its introduction, the mission for this "baby Lamborghini" has been to maintain the style and attitude of Lamborghini's 12-cylinder cars but be more livable in everyday use. It's been a successful strategy, as there's been no shortage of takers who rightly lust after such a usable and alluring sports car. In fact, the Gallardo has become this Italian automaker's best-selling model ever.

It is true that the Gallardo lacks the outrageous spirit and flair so often associated with the company's more expensive or legendary offerings. But the trade-off of a little spirit for a lot of functionality has been a good one, and there's no doubt that the Gallardo is a true, world-class exotic.

Current Lamborghini Gallardo
The exotic Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 is currently available in a coupe body style and as a spyder convertible. The name LP560-4 refers to its engine position ("longitudinale posteriore" or longitudinal rear), its European horsepower measurement (560 ps) and that all four wheels are powered. There are also two lightweight versions: the LP 570-4 Superleggera coupe and LP 570-4 Spyder Performante

The Gallardo LP560-4 is powered by a 5.0-liter V10 good for 552 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission with gated metal shifter is standard, while an automated six-speed sequential-shift manual transmission known as e-gear is optional. The LP570-4 models benefit from some clever tuning to produce 562 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. The e-gear transmission is standard. Expect 0-60 times in the high 3-second range for the LP560-4 and the low 3-second range for the LP570-4.

In terms of layout and design, the Lamborghini Gallardo is a true exotic. To keep weight down, the chassis is a composite blend of alloy stampings, extrusions and castings. And except for the traditionally opening steel doors (no scissors), the exterior is constructed of thermoplastic-formed panels. To further reduce weight, the Superleggera and Spyder Performante receive carbon-fiber exterior and interior components, polycarbonate rear and side windows and lighter 19-inch wheels.

Inside, the Gallardo's handsome furnishings sublimely marry form with function and offer a surprising level of comfort for a vehicle of this type. Credit is certainly due to the influence of parent company Audi, whose expertise with interior design has been of no small benefit since the Volkswagen Group purchased Lamborghini in the late 1990s. The impact is obvious given the precisely fitting leather and soft-touch materials.

Despite the fact that this is an exotic sports car, seating is comfortable enough to accommodate the occasional road trip. Though not as flamboyant as its extroverted exterior, the interior styling still befits a vehicle in this price range. Storage space is tight, though, with a minimal amount of room available behind the seats and in the nose-mounted trunk.

But once behind the wheel, you'll gladly leave everything behind in exchange for the sweet, sonorous symphony of its V10 at full throttle. With 500-plus horses at your command, the Gallardo is capable of spine-compressing speed in any gear. At wide-open throttle, the lusty V10 plays a veritable mechanical symphony in keeping with the car's Italian heritage. The big V10 and all-wheel-drive system add quite a bit of mass, but in return the AWD system gives Gallardo drivers extra traction when the road ahead is slick and unfamiliar.

Used Lamborghini Gallardo Models
The Lamborghini Gallardo debuted for 2004 in a coupe body style only. Originally, it was powered by a 493-hp version of the 5.0-liter V10. The same transmission options were available, although e-gear was improved over the years for better shift response. For 2006, the lineup expanded to include the spyder convertible with an automatic folding soft top, and a limited-production SE model featuring 520 hp, shortened gear ratios, revised suspension tuning, quickened steering, better tires, a new exhaust, special trim and two-tone color schemes. Other than the colors and trim, all the SE's mechanical improvements were made to the standard Gallardo later that model year. For '07, a change in horsepower measurement technique resulted in a lowering of hp to 512.

Produced only for 2008 was the Gallardo Superleggera. This coupe-only model was modified for even better performance. It featured 522 hp, slightly different suspension settings and an approximate 150-pound-lighter curb weight thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber and reduced feature content. It would be a rare used car find.

For 2009, the current Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 arrived along with a number of updates. Compared to those that came before, it lost 45 pounds and gained 40 additional horses as well as quicker e-gear shift times. There was also revised exterior styling, particularly around the rear fascia and taillight area, which softened the Gallardo's angularity a bit. Chassis rigidity was also stiffened. Finally, the Gallardo LP560-4 differs from the previous Gallardo from rear suspension modifications adopted from its Audi R8 platform-mate, which enhanced the Gallardo's already otherworldly cornering capabilities.

There was no Gallardo Spyder for '09, but it was reintroduced for 2010 with the same changes made the previous year for the LP560-4. That year also introduced the 542-hp, rear-drive-only Valentino Balboni special edition (of only 250 examples) in honor of the noted Lamborghini test-driver's retirement. For the 2011 model year, the 570-4 Superleggera coupe and the 570-4 Spyder Performante convertible both debuted.

"We don't want to add just another toy to the segment but a serious sports car that can be used every day," Werner Frowein says about the Audi R8. He's the managing director of Neckarsulm-based Quattro GmbH and is responsible for the development of Audi's new mid-engined sports car. Frowein doesn't want to create competition with the Lamborghini Gallardo. (VW owns both Audi and Lamborghini.) Accordingly, the interior of the R8 is not as breathtakingly aggressive as the exterior styling. The interior has design details shared with other Audis, for example, although the milled aluminum shift lever and the carbon-fiber trim in the cockpit are unique R8 pieces.

Thanks to a 104.3-inch-long wheelbase, the R8 passenger compartment has more leg-, shoulder-, and headroom than a Porsche 911 Carrera or Mercedes SL. The user-friendliness.

VEHICLE TYPE: mid-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe

ESTIMATED BASE PRICE: $110,000

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 254 cu in, 4163cc
Power (SAE net): 420 bhp @ 7800 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 317 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 6-speed manual with automated shifting and clutch

DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 104.3 in Length: 174.4 in Width: 74.8 in Height: 49.2 in
Curb weight: 3450 lb

PERFORMANCE (MFR'S EST):
Zero to 62 mph: 4.6 sec
Top speed (drag limited): 185 mph

Continuing the civilized-sports-car theme, the engine is fired by turning a key rather than by pressing a race-car-style button. The 420-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 engine is smooth and quiet at low speeds, the steering is direct without being nervous, and wind noise is muted in everyday driving, although—as with most mid-engined sports cars— poor rear visibility makes parking a challenge.

The R8's character changes at higher speeds on open roads, but it's never raw, like a Porsche 911 GT3's. Thanks to the modified air intake and exhaust system, the R8 engine delivers its maximum torque between 3500 and 7600 rpm, a higher figure than in the RS 4, which shares the same powerplant. At 5000 rpm, two valves in the intake manifold open and the engine note becomes more aggressive while the car surges forward impressively, despite a claimed curb weight of 3450 pounds.

The V-8 FSI engine sits 4.7 inches lower than in the RS 4, thanks to a dry-sump oil system. The engine is mated to a short-throw six-speed Graziano manual transmission. A hydraulic clutch system is optional, using paddles for manual shifting. Audi calls this R tronic, whereas Lamborghini names it e-gear in the Gallardo.

Like the Gallardo, the R8 has all-wheel drive. A minimum of 60 percent of the engine's torque is delivered to the rear wheels. The upshot is safe, balanced handling: Initial understeer can be countered with the throttle, and it's possible to break the tail loose if the driver is brave on corner exit. The R8 uses adaptive damping, as in the TT, and it's precise and easy to drive fast, if a little bland. It's also stable at speed, thanks to careful aerodynamic management—a rear spoiler deploys at speeds above 75 mph, and there's a flat underbody.

Audi claims a top speed of 185 mph, which means the R8 is faster in a straight line than a 911 Carrera S. Yet it's not as sporty as the Porsche and is likely to cost a lot more money in the U.S.—we estimate about $110,000. That's still way cheaper than a Gallardo or Ferrari F430, its closest mid-engined rivals, and will make the R8 an alternative for prospective 911 Turbo and Aston V-8 Vantage buyers when it goes on sale in the fall of 2007 in the U.S.

 

 

The Gallardo gets Superleggera'd all over again, and it's fantastic.

It seems as though Ferrari and Lamborghini are always launching their new cars in reaction to each other. The latest example is Lamborghini’s launch of the LP570-4 Superleggera (Italian for “super light”) just months after Ferrari introduced the 458 Italia. But the game won’t involve one-upmanship this time, as there’s little chance that the Lamborghini can overtake the Ferrari on the road. Both offer the same 562 hp and weigh about 3400 pounds. Indeed, their manufacturers claim identical 3.4-second 0-to-62-mph times and 202-mph top speeds.

Adding Lightness…

We sampled the new Superleggera close to Lamborghini’s home base, with the sophisticated character of the 458 Italia relatively fresh in our mind. The Lamborghini’s personality is much rougher in comparison, a trait signaled by its wild exterior. Compared with the regular Gallardo LP560-4, the Superleggera has larger front intake nostrils like those on the Murciélago LP670-4 SV, and they send more air to the radiators and are said to impart extra front-end downforce. The diffuser and spoiler at the rear are bigger, and Lambo says they provide more downforce, too. The side skirts are different, and the Superleggera gets a unique wheel design. Our tester had the truly extroverted large rear wing, but shyer buyers—as if Lambo customers could be described as such—can specify a smaller piece. But it’s not as if this car would ever fly below the radar of law enforcement.

The Superleggera is lighter than the stock Gallardo by a claimed 154 pounds, 88 of which are accounted for by the use of carbon fiber for the engine-cover frame, external mirrors, rear spoiler, side skirts, and diffuser. The remaining weight loss comes from the new wheels and interior changes. The 19-inch forged aluminum wheels—attached with titanium lug nuts and shod with 235/35 front and 295/30 rear Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires—save 29 pounds. Inside, the center tunnel, the door panels, and the bucket seats are now rendered in carbon fiber, and trimming the seats and dashboard with Alcantara instead of leather also helped the slimming process.

…and Power

The Gallardo’s 5.2-liter V-10 engine makes 10 more hp in the Superleggera than in the LP560-4, thanks to revised engine management calibration. Torque remains the same at 398 lb-ft. The Superleggera comes standard with Lamborghini’s e-gear automated manual transmission, and a conventional six-speed manual with a gated shifter is a no-cost option. The e-gear transmission has three modes: Normal and “corsa” are fully automatic, whereas sport is a manual mode activated via the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Lamborghini has programmed in a launch-control system, called thrust mode, that drops the clutch at 5000 rpm for maximum acceleration off the line.

The engine is incredibly responsive to commands from the throttle, and it sounds malevolent even at idle. On the move, the V-10 is incredibly aggressive, emitting a deep bark at full throttle that’s wilder and more brutal than the Ferrari Italia’s engine note. And the Superleggera is seriously fast in a straight line. Lamborghini’s claimed 0-to-62-mph time looks conservative, because we managed to cover the sprint in 3.2 seconds in an LP560-4, which has slightly less power and weighs in at just over 3500 pounds. Lamborghini also claims a 10.2-second run to 124 mph, so 100 mph should come up in fewer than seven seconds.

A Harder Core

The Superleggera gets suspension changes to make it even sportier, with firmer shock settings and stiffer anti-roll bars. Switching between the transmission modes has no effect on the suspension, which already is about as tied down as you want in a street car. The steering is precise and extremely sensitive, but the trade-off from the suspension modifications is a harsh ride over small undulations. The Superleggera is certainly a sharper weapon than the regular Gallardo, but it’s also almost too much like a racing car on the street.

As in the Gallardo LP560-4, the extra weight of the all-wheel-drive system at the front end makes the Superleggera understeer more than the 458 Italia on corner entry, but as you feed the power in, the central viscous coupling transfers torque to the rear axle, and it’s possible to get the tail out, provided the stability-control system is switched off. Although the Superleggera is quite compact, outward visibility isn’t that great, and we’d recommend ordering the optional rearview camera (it lives under the spoiler), as it’s certainly cheaper than buying a new bumper.

A Heftier Sticker

Just 618 examples of the previous Gallardo Superleggera were sold worldwide, but Lamborghini is hoping to sell considerably more this time around. U.S pricing has yet to be confirmed, but based on the pretax European sticker of €175,400, we figure the base price will be about $235,000, or about $30,000 more than the Gallardo LP560-4. Add in desirable options such as navigation, the front-end lifting system, the rearview camera, and carbon-ceramic brakes, and the price will easily reach more than $250,000. Coming back to the rivalry between the preeminent Italian sports-car makers, the Superleggera is definitely a wilder, more extroverted car than is Ferrari’s 458 Italia, but we’ll defer judgment on which is better until we can compare them side by side.

 

458BIG

Ferrari 458 Italia

You don't drive it. You grab its terminals and let the juice stand your hair on end.

La Pista di Fiorano, Ferrari’s private test track, is two giant hooked paper clips wedged between a porcelain tile factory that belches white smoke and a scruffy apartment block whose tenants, we learn from an exasperated Ferrari spokesman, are always bitching about the noise.

Noise? Describing a Ferrari in full scream as “noise” is probably against the law in Italy. The riffraff wouldn’t dare if the old man were still around. It’s like calling the Bayeux Tapestry a beach blanket.
Nonetheless, Ferrari’s jaded neighbors have forced the mighty House of Enzo, whose much photographed red-brick factory gate is just across the street, to abide by strict sound-level limits and obtain special permits to run racing cars with open exhausts (Ferrari also owns the Mugello circuit near Florence to the southwest, where it has moved much of its testing). The fact that the Fiorano facility, built in 1972, predates most of the buildings around it doesn’t inhibit the neighbors’ chutzpah.

Your favorite car magazine has returned to strap on the company’s newest mid-­engined doorstop, the 458 Italia, with 562 horsepower straining to run down insolent peasants. At the moment, someone else is piloting, and perhaps it’s just a feeling, but Ferrari test driver Raffaele De Simone seems to relish downshifting to second for that tight left-hander in the track’s southwest corner, near the apartment blocks. We emerge sideways in a ballet of bawling ­rubber, the tach screwed up to its window-rattling, 9000-rpm redline.

Noise? We got your noise right here! After a few laps, about a third of which involve us looking down the track through the side glass, De Simone climbs out and beckons me to the driver’s carbon-fiber bucket. He then strides away. I’m on my own, even though, about five years ago, I introduced a new Ferrari to a wall on a similar day not far from this very spot. Don’t these people learn?

When it arrives in June, Ferrari’s volume car—it’ll be a failure if it delivers less than half of Ferrari’s worldwide sales, which are about 6000 cars—will boot the retiring F430 F1 (price: $205,404) off its perch with a projected 10-percent price increase, another 79 horses, slightly more cabin space, and a spec sheet wet with technology, including a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (alas, no manual—you knew this was coming).

The ragtop Spider should arrive within a year or so, with the requisite parade to follow of limited-edition specials, including Challenge Stradale and Scuderia.

Life is unfair; we all know it. It is an article of faith among the bourgeoisie that anyone stinking-rich enough to afford a new Ferrari can’t drive worth a damn. They imprison their machines in air-conditioned lockups, parked on polished marble covered with wax paper to keep the tire treads from losing the original factory gloss. Thankfully, the negative stereotypes—hardly helped by that YouTube video of a Bugatti Veyron being towed out of a deep marsh—don’t stop Ferrari from forging ahead, developing ever grander rewards for affluence.

Indeed, you don’t drive the new Ferrari 458 Italia at all. You grab its positive and negative terminals and let the juice stand your hair on end. It goes whaaaoooop! when you stroke the throttle, and it explodes forward, an aluminum red sabot with seatbelts.The dual-clutch box changes gears with less shock and delay than a TV changing channels. Upshifts take 0.4 second, we’re told, though nobody thought to clock them. Hold the left paddle approaching a corner and the crackling downshifts come automatically and rapid-fire. The carbon-ceramic brakes—standard on all 458s—can park the car in startlingly short distances and also answer to minute changes in foot pressure. The steering is somewhat reminiscent of a Honda’s: slightly light, as though the front tires barely touch the ground. But with an 11.5:1 ratio, it’s breathlessly swift. The directional control into a corner is so clear and explicit that you’ll swear there’s a rudder tilling the asphalt. Going quick is easy, like wearing parabolic skis or doing square roots on a calculator.

 

Specifications >

VEHICLE TYPE: mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 2-door coupe

ESTIMATED BASE PRICE: $226,000

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 274 cu in, 4497cc
Power: 562 bhp @ 9000 rpm
Torque: 398 lb-ft @ 6000 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual

DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 104.3 in
Length: 178.2 in
Width: 76.3 in Height: 47.8 in
Curb weight: 3450 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
Zero to 60 mph: 3.3 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 7.4 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 11.5 sec @ 128 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 202 mph

PROJECTED FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST):
EPA city/highway driving: 12/17 mpg


Electronic magnetorheological shock absorbers keep the car’s body flat and calm, even over the heart-fluttering yump! on Fiorano’s bridge. Traction and stability control, the electronic differential, and a sport ABS mode—all adjustable via the steering wheel’s “manettino” (it means “little handle”)—do for grip on braking and corner exits what they would do in Formula 1 were they not banned. Unless the traction and anti-spin devices are switched off or set to the low-intervention mode, the Italia churns out of corners as if Jupiter himself is sitting on the back bumper.

The Ferrari touchstones are all there: the fishbowl engine hatch, the shapely pair of thighs in red spandex underneath, and an interior swaddled in perfumed leather. The saucy yellow tach carries over, as do the transmission and launch-control buttons, which look like three shotgun shells embedded in the center console. But Ferrari’s mid-engined car has been reshaped, the cockpit bubble pushed forward to mimic an F-16’s canopy silhouette. The wheelbase grows by almost two inches, and the overhangs shrink. The F430’s flaring nostrils are gone, replaced by a single carp’s mouth split by deformable airfoils [see “Flow Motion” sidebar].

 

Other changes: The 4.5-liter engine speaks with a deeper voice than the old 4.3. It’s less of a shriek than a manly bellow. Compared with the hand-fabricated simplicity of prior Ferrari dashboards, the 458’s is a garden of abstract sculpture. Fingers need time to acclimate to the crowded steering wheel with its buttons for turn indicators, high-beams, and wiper controls. Knobs page through a pair of digital display screens in the cluster. To the right of the tach: navigation, radio, or a digital facsimile of an analog speedometer. To the left is car status, including a hokey “Vehicle Dynamic Assistance” screen. The engine/gearbox, brake, and tire temperatures are predicted—it’s all done mathematically rather than with sensors—in three colors. Blue is for “warm-up,” green is “go,” and red means it’s “over,” as in “game over.”

___________________________________________________

The 4.5-liter engine speaks with a deeper voice than the old 4.3. It's less of a shriek than a manly bellow.

___________________________________________________

It was Ferrari chairman Luca di Monte­zemolo’s idea to name the new car after Ferrari’s homeland, and the 458 recalls bygone days when Ferraris were numbered by engine displacement in liters plus cylinder count (e.g.: the 1976–’84 512 Berlinetta Boxer). Overtones of Donkey Kong notwithstanding, the 458 should keep Ferrari on top as the producer of the world’s most stimulating noisemakers.

Eight Under Glass

 

Ferrari calls the 458’s 4.5-liter, dry-sump, flat-plane-crank V-8 the F136FB, part of the family that includes the F136I in the California model and the F136E in the outgoing F430. All share bore centers and block basics, though only with the FB does Ferrari claim a world record for specific output in a nonturbo production engine: 125 horsepower and 89 pound-feet of torque per liter. Three developments were vital: direct fuel injection, friction reduction, and better breathing. The 2900-psi injection system and shell-shaped piston crowns tailor the injection charge to be rich at the plug and lean elsewhere, cooling down combustion temperatures and allowing the lofty, 12.5:1 compression ratio that better harnesses the fuel’s energy. Piston skirts receive a graphite coating to reduce friction, and tappets get a slippery DLC, or “diamond-like carbon,” coating developed for F1 engines. Deep in the block, pumping losses are stemmed by employing three electric scavenge pumps, one for the inner-four piston bays and one each for the outer four. These pumps both return the oil to the reservoir and also better equalize the air pressure between the bays to reduce pumping losses due to “windage,” or air movement inside the block caused by piston motion. Ferrari says windage losses in the old F136E knocked almost seven pound-feet off its torque output.

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