The 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 breathes supercar performance from each of its 10 cylinders and all four of its driven wheels, in the estimation of Web-wide car writers and the supercar enthusiasts at TheCarConnection.com.
The newest Gallardo is “a much more vicious machine,” Motor Authority thinks. It’s about 52 pounds lighter than the previous Gallardo, and with better aerodynamics, it’s “a far more formidable track weapon than the standard Gallardo,” they observe. Its chief weapon, though, is obviously its 5.2-liter V-10 engine. The changes for 2009 result “in a significant spike in output to 552 horsepower at 8000 rpm (from 512) and 398 pound-feet of torque (from 376),” Car and Driver reports. Named for its European power output (560 PS, the equivalent of those 552 hp) and its four-wheel-drive powertrain, the LP560-4 can catapult to 62 mph “in 3.7 seconds,” Motor Authority adds, and reach a top speed of more than 200 mph, Lamborghini claims. At speed, “the engine emits a deep bellow when pushed, and is most brutal in the lower end of the rev-range where it seems to summon the most force.”
The Gallardo LP560-4 offers a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed “e-gear” transmission that uses paddle shifters to control the clutch action, no clutch pedal needed. It’s found in about 90 percent of all Gallardos sold in the U.S., and it’s been reworked for this year to include a quicker-shifting Corsa mode, Edmunds reports. “As before, there's no console-mounted shift lever in sight: just a trio of flat buttons labeled 'Sport,' 'A' (for automatic) and 'Corsa,' plus a pair of shift paddles on the steering wheel and just two pedals.” The shift modes progress from softest A to faster Sport to Corsa—which can be “quite brutal,” Car and Driver says. It’s “appropriate only in 10/10th driving. Anything less, and the Sport mode is a far better compromise—still quick but not neck breaking.” Popular Mechanics agrees, noting the “eGear transmission seemed less clunky during laps here at Las Vegas Speedway, though Sport and Corsa modes produced appropriately abrupt (and sometimes violent) shifts.”
In addition, the Gallardo has a “thrust launch control [that] can be enabled for demon standing starts,” Edmunds adds. It’s useful for goading the four-wheel-drive system to direct “all of that equine fury to the pavement.” The Gallardo’s four-wheel-drive system uses “a viscous-type center differential,” Edmunds notes, that “divides the torque between front and rear: 30 percent front and 70 percent rear in this case.”
Handling is much improved, most reviewers felt. “Gone is the instability during high speed cornering and the tendency to understeer that were the negative hallmarks of the Gallardo,” Motor Authority says. Edmunds feels the Gallardo’s “thoughtfully tuned springs and dampers filter out more of the impacts than we expected on the open road,” and Car and Driver observes “the feeling of porkiness of the Gallardo has been mitigated somewhat, and body roll, if there is any, is absolutely undetectable.” Popular Mechanics observes the Gallardo “pushes a bit with excessive entry speeds, but a lift of the throttle quickly tucks in the nose and neutralizes the car's balance.” Overall, they thought, “the car sometimes felt like it needed precise steering, brake, and throttle inputs in order to avoid understeering.”
One aspect of performance that brought complaints is the Gallardo’s available carbon-ceramic brakes. They “lack proper feel for stop-and-go traffic, a problem we’ve noticed on a number of other cars fitted with them,” Motor Authority says. Edmunds agrees: “When the CCBs get up to temperature on the track, they bite like mad and haul the Lambo down to a stop in a hurry, but on the street they run cooler and tend to feel a bit erratic.”
The Gallardo’s total performance package is stunning. Motor Trend says it best: “the LP560-4's attempt to violate Newton's second law is a comprehensive assault on the senses. Getting kicked in the ass a split second before being shot from a cannon is probably the closest approximation.”