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Italian pizazz

When you first lay your eyes on the Gallardo, you’d think the car to be one of the Decepticons from Transformers.

autos Updated: Jan 20, 2010 19:29 IST

It looks like it could make mincemeat of all opposition, and it can. But it is also Lamborghini’s most ecologically-efficient car and offers a mighty friendly drive. Who else but the Italians could have come up with something like that?

When you first lay your eyes on the Gallardo, you’d think the car to be one of the Decepticons from Transformers. When the engine erupts into life and scares a flock of birds into flight, you fall utterly in love with it. Meet the new Gallardo LP 560-4, a faster, lighter, more powerful version of the old 5-litre Gallardo.

Though it looks like it could easily wipe out three species of fauna for breakfast, this is the most economical and ecologically efficient Lamborghini ever made.

However, we’re not here to see how eco-friendly it is but to drive the living daylights out of it. We are at the Lamborghini Track Day in Chennai.

Instructions are vital
Once there, you get two laps at a time, plus one lap to cool the car down. A typical lap goes like this — Nail it down the straight. Brake. Downshift. Turn-in. Skim the apex. Unwind steering lock. Pedal to the metal. Max Venturi, Lamborghini’s aptly named pro-driver, says it’s the fastest way around this circuit.

The track is wet from the previous night’s freak downpour, and with the 552 bhp from the beautiful-in-Italian Iniezione Diretta Stratificata (direct injection) V10, it’s easy to take a foolish trip into the surroundings.

A friendly ride
Luckily, the Gallardo seems more friendly than intimidating. The steering is light but accurate, the turn-in is sharp, throttle responses are crisp and it builds speed so fast that you occasionally find your thoughts getting lapped by the car.

It’s hard to think of a car that accelerates like this one. Lamborghini claims a 0-200 kph time of 11.8 sec and a top whack of 325 kph, helped along by the snappy gearbox and the strength of the acceleration at full chat.

The engine tears towards its rev limiter in first — you then need to be on high alert to avoid running it against that limiter.

Put your foot down and the traction from the all-wheel-drive system and Pirelli PZero Corsas is simply astounding. At the heart of this is the power, but the other key factor is its relative lack of weight; at 1,500 kg, it is pretty light for a 4WD supercar.

At the end of about 20 really insane laps, it’s time to pack up. What’s nice about this track day is that the instructors are keen to let you properly drive the car — so they’ll let you drive in Race and Corsa modes (where all safety nets but the ABS are switched off) and they give you good advice to help improve your lap times.

Lamborghini gallardo

Price: Rs 2.25 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi)

L/W/H: 4,345/ 1,900/ 1,165 mm

Wheelbase: 2,560 mm

Fuel tank capacity: 90 litres

Kerb weight: 1,500 kg

Engine layout: 10 cyls-in-vee, direct injection petrol

Displacement: 5,204 cc

Installment: Mid, longitudinal

Power: 552 bhp at 8,000 rpm

Torque: 55 kgm at 6,500 rpm

Gearbox: Robotised sequential e-gear

Brakes (F/ R): Ventilated discs

Tyre size (F/ R): 235/35 ZR 19, 295/30 ZR 19

— Autocar India