Lamborghini has developed a number of great cars over the years – the Countach, Murcielago and the Miura to name a few. However, none of those have enjoyed as much success as the Lamborghini Gallardo. You may remember this car from Need for Speed games where it was branded as one of the sought after exotics, and for all the right reasons.
Named after a fighting bull, the Gallardo went into production in 2003 and enjoyed a 10 year production cycle until 2013. The last Gallardo was a bright red Spyder Performante model, a fitting culmination to the production cycle of one of Lamborghini’s best cars. In total, 14,022 units were produced over the 10 year production cycle, more than any Lamborghini model. Its success can be judged by the fact that before the Gallardo, Lamborghini sold around 250 cars per year. But after the Gallardo was born, the number skyrocketed to 2,000 cars per year.
The Lamborghini Gallardo, also known as the ‘Baby Lamborghini’, was able to attract success the way it did because it was almost the perfect balance of spirit and practicality. Having baby in its nickname did not make it any less of an exotic supercar, rather it meant that the car is relatively more manageable for everyday use. Call it the common man’s Lamborghini if you may.
The Gallardo’s technical specifications are evidence of its super car genre. The car has a V10 housed in the middle which sends power to the rear, pumping out around 500bhp which gives 0-60mph times in mid 3 seconds and top speeds that touch almost 200 mph. Later models included an all-wheel drive (AWD) option too and each successive model was fine tuned to pump out more power with more or less the same horsepower engine. The model names were an indication of its technical specs. For example, Gallardo LP540-4 means the following: LP stands for ‘Longitudinale Posteriore’ or Longitudinal Rear which means mid-engine, 540 is the horsepower, and 4 stands for AWD. Transmission was 6-speed which came in either a standard manual or e-gear. The latter is somewhat like the paddle shift sequential transmission we see in modern day cars.
Lamborghini Gallardo came in two style versions – the coupe and spyder. The latter is essentially a convertible. It also came in bi- and tri-color with some exclusive special editions too. Components making up the car are chosen to be lightweight in order to ensure that the car is nimble. And the interior looks quite polished too with seating that is a mix of comfort and style. That is something expected from a car with Audi as its parent. There is only space for two though and little room for luggage in the front trunk.
Looking at a Gallardo, one immediately feels a Lamborghini like element in the design, even if you somehow miss the bull emblem at the front. The angular design at the back is reminiscent of older Lamborghini models, which is coupled with a cab-forward sloping front. It does not take a genius to realize that the car has been designed this way to cut through the air at supercar speeds. All this is housed in an aluminum chassis and stands on 19 inch alloy wheels – the ones at the rear being slightly bigger than those at the front (don’t we all like different wheel sizes at the front and rear).
Due to the immense success of the Gallardo, Lamborghini was able to come up with more special edition versions of the car. One such version is the Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera LP 570-4 which came about in 2010. This was the quintessential version of the Baby Lamborghini. It was a lighter and more powerful version of the older Gallardo models. Carbon fiber was extensively used on the inside and out giving it a significantly high power-to-weight ratio.
One thing that has to be admired about the Gallardo is that throughout the production cycle, it did not lose its essence, its identity of being the car that changed Lamborghini. It still remained in the price range (excluding the special editions), still had the same target market and maintained its status as the manageable exotic, all while growing with each successive model. Every version was better tuned, more efficient, yet it did not lose its heritage. Maybe this is what made the Gallardo what it is, a legend in Lamborghini’s history books.