Road Test: Lamborghini LP560-4 Spyder
I'd only been up a matter of minutes, but I was already fidgeting. I knew I had a long day ahead of me, but boy was it going to be a satisfying one. I picked up the trusty iPhone and checked the weather in the Peak District. Fantastic, 25 degrees. There was only one nasty thing between me and the day’s pleasure - the M1.
So, a bit of cereal consumed to avoid the inevitable McDonalds breakfast menu, and I was ready for the off. Not too much luggage, as my weekend transport can only hold an overnight bag and my camera bag. Hop into the dull eurobox hire wagon I have that week, and schlep up the M1, through boring roadworks, avoiding drunk lorry drivers (I’m guessing, he was all over the road) and trying to avoid Burger King’s temptations for lunch. How do reps manage it? Anyway, back to the trip…
After what seemed like a week (actually 4.5hrs) I arrive in Wakefield, at ecurie25’s Leeds branch. And sitting there, looking gorgeous in the beaming sunlight, was my weekend’s transportation. The Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder to give it the full title. Wow. White bodywork, black wheels, black leather, just gorgeous. After a brief handover, it’s mine for the taking.
I must admit to a little trepidation at this point. You see, the old Gallardo Spyder, in manual gearbox form, was my favourite car. And I don’t use that term lightly – it genuinely was my favourite car. I adored the looks, the sound, the driving experience, everything. So this updated Gallardo had a lot to live up to, and to my initial dismay it came with the eGear paddle-shift gearbox. I’ve always preferred my Italians to be stick-shifters, purely down to my love of getting the heel-and-toe just right on the way into a section of bends, and powering through them with the smug knowledge that you got it right that time.
Right, onto first impressions of the updated baby bull. As I’ve stated, I loved the Gallardo Spyder of old, but I think Lamborghini have very much succeeded in doing one of the hardest tasks in the whole of automotive-land; making a facelift look better than its predecessor. The shorter and slightly wider front lights, resplendent with DRL’s, sit above a restyled front bumper which has taken more than a little inspiration from the Reventon hypercar. Larger air intakes jut out aggressively on the lower edge, ready to decapitate any unlucky pedestrians caught by them and the nifty carbon blade which joins them. Around the back there are some large changes to the look as well. The rear light clusters are much smaller, no longer wrapping over the rear clam and holding LED lights in arrow formations, as on the Reventon. A new carbon diffuser sits at the bottom, with 2 enormous exhaust outlets at either side, which should in my opinion be classed as musical instruments.
Inside it’s much the same as before, apart from the fact that this particular car has some awful silver plastic trim on the steering wheel. Honestly, if it was my £170,000 I’d be rather unhappy with the cheap feeling, cheap looking addition to the bottom of the wheel, but I assume one can have it in traditional leather. What hasn’t changed luckily is the driving position and driving environment. Sitting low in the seats, you have a pure supercar view out of the tiny side windows and down the short nose. Amazingly easy to place for a supercar too, as the short nose enables you to know exactly where the front of the car is.
After sitting there for a few minutes getting some odd looks from people, it’s time for the off. I have to be in north Cheshire for dinner later in the evening, with the Peak District between me and my food. The trip computer says it’s 28 degrees, there’s a beaming hot sun in the sky, and the roof is down. Perfect.
In a refreshingly old-school way, a turn of the key fires the glorious 560bhp, 5.2 litre V10 engine into life, with a bark and a loud blare of exhausts. On first start-up this fanfare lasts a surprisingly long time, not that I’m complaining! With no roof, and the rear facing a big wall, the noise that fills the cabin and my ears is incredible – loud, melodious and smelling of petrol. Now onto my first interaction with the eGear transmission. Foot on the brake pedal, flick the right pedal and into 1st it slips. Crawling away from the ecurie25 office and into traffic it’s a very docile beast, with no juddering or clutch smells when pulling away. The same slip road I encountered in the Audi S8 appears before me, which is interesting as that has a very similar engine, and didn’t feel too fast in the Audi.
Not so in the LP560/4. I squeeze the throttle, then plant it into the carpet and a wall of noise erupts all around me. Somehow Lamborghini have managed to improve the noise the old Gallardo made which is quite an achievement; once again a deep rumble which resonates through your body gives way to a harder edged rasp, and onto a screaming wail at high revs. I realise at that point that I will be accelerating like that a lot this weekend, and to hell with the 99RON…
Even though the noise is all-encompassing, you can’t help feel the sheer forces of the acceleration. A few weeks later my internal organs have only just made their way back to the correct bodily positions after being forced into an orgy with my spine. A cheeky little lift of the throttle - not much, just lift the foot maybe an inch or two – as you flick the gearshift paddle is enough to ensure a smooth shift, and is very impressive. Combined with the smoothness of operation when taking it easy, this is the most impressive (non-dual clutch) paddle shift ‘box I’ve driven yet. I’m still pretty sure I’d have the manual but this is certainly a good option.
Once the motorway and A-Road sections are out of the way I have my pick of the Peak District ahead of me. I pick a suitably twisty looking road, and away I go. 3rd gear squirts along the straights link the faster bends, flicking the left paddle to give a throttle blip as it shifts into 2nd for the tight turns. Noise ricocheting off the high valley walls it is utterly intoxicating. Accelerate, brake, blip, turn, accelerate, flick, accelerate, flick, brake……. and on it goes until I reach civilisation again. Nope, that wasn’t enough, so I find a carpark and turn around. Back I go along that road, taking in the stunning views and ribbon-like tarmac, revelling in the sensual overload that this Lamborghini is providing.
I was supposed to be taking some photos whilst in the Peaks, but the thought only crossed my mind on my last run back when I got to the village again, with failing light. I was just too involved to think of anything other than that car, the noise and the view.
I revelled in everything the LP560/4 had to offer over the weekend, using the nose lift seemingly everywhere I went, contributing massively to Shell’s profits, and doing my own little bit of posing in Alderley Edge. Given how good this car looks with the roof up as well as down, the engine, the handling and the noise, it has happily taken over from the older Spyder as my new favourite car.
My choice? Bright orange for that extra bit of Lamborghini extrovert style, and grey leather so it doesn’t get so hot!
So what do you think? Would you have eGear or manual? White or orange?
Please comment below, we'd love to hear your thoughts.
Words & Photography: Tim Oldland