Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2: Civilized baby bull

- by GB Bajaj, CEO & Strategist at GB LUXE LIFE for Stylefluid Trendz
The Lamborghini Gallardo was launched way back at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show. It was created as an affordable everyday super sports car and positioned as direct competition to 360 Modena and the 911 Turbo and went on sale in 2004 under AUDI ownership.  More than 12,000 Gallardos have been built and delivered to their proud owners since 2004. Lamborghini has created various Gallardo models to suit the lambor enthusiast. Lamborghini has mixed and matched engines, power trains, paint colors and upholsteries to create variants such as the SE, Super Trofeo, Nera, BicoloreTricolore, Valentino BalboniBlancpain Edition, Superleggera, Spyder PerformanteSuper Trofeo Stradale, along with limited editions for Malaysia and Singapore, not to mention the Noctis, a variant developed exclusively for Chinese markets.

And the current Gallardo LP550-2 is the living and howling proof that Lamborghini is taking its future very seriously. The 550-2 is faster, lighter and a powerful version than its Gallardo predecessors.

It is Lamborghini’s most successful model in their history by a long rpm.  The beasty 5.2 litre V-10, mid belly positioned and unleashing 550hp, leaves you completely adrenalized. It’s not only powerful, cleaner too, credit to the Bosch direct-injection fuel system.

At the heart of the Gallardo, the V10 engine boosts out 550bhp and 398lb ft of torque and the key factor is its relative lack of weight at 1380kg, its superbly light and with a front-to-rear weight distribution of 43 percent/57 percent. When you feed octane to the baby bulls, the V10 engine’s delicious roaring sound wakes up the neighborhood. It does have a way to blow your mind. It does a 0- 62mph in 3.9sec, and I've no reason to doubt that. No heart patients allowed.

Its 2:35pm, after a very hearty lunch from San Qi-FOUR SEASONS, a cup of green tea to settle my stomach, I condition myself to test the Gallardo 550-2.Oh my bull god, do give me all the strength to tame this one!!! I head to the Bull's den at Prabhadevi.  Let’s see if this is capable of fulfilling my Lambor inner fantasies.

Gallardo 550-2, being the rear wheel drive lambor, it's customer's are a little mad to having to drive around in it and control it. I love it. Meaty 550hp engine for that adrenalin rush while going to the office. No rear tyres spinning allowed.

At the traffic signal beginning of Worli Sea Face, this baby bull is sputtering like a machine gun, resting on Pirelli P ZERO 235/35 ZR 19 – 295/30 ZR 19 and the rims are a unique five hole theme, a signature  and distinction of Lambor compared to that of a modern five-spoke.

As  we wait patiently, passers-bys are wondering, is that a canary, a giant canary ??? No it’s a bull, and I need all the muscles in the world to tame it.  Turns green, I just floor it, fantastic, zilch torque steering and I touch 150 in no seconds. Gripping the thick ALCANT ARA leather steering tightly as I turn left for the sea link, a dip comes before the carpet road begins, press the Lifting system button, lifts the car for extra ground clearance, at the apex, car is lowered and off we go. The nose lifting system is standard. The steering is stiff but responsive, no roll steer present. Ride quality is perfect. And yes, to tame this canary bull I have to build shoulder muscles and biceps .

The interiors are black and yellow leatherette. The inner door trims, inner seat sections and the lower part of the dashboard are in perforated leather in black & yellow color. The stitching and piping is black, however I would prefer the canary yellow body color.The door inserts, the lower dashboard and the center of the seats can be also in it's body color. The sound system and toggle switches; boasts of high-quality and works well.

Sure you can customize to a range of your personal choices. Keep the cheque book handy. The seats are comfy and thickly bolstered.

For a mid engine sports car, the visibility is good, considering the wide A-pillars.

After a long C curve, a flattish S curve,  negotiating this is very tricky at speeds in excess of 100kmph, one error and I could send the 550-2 with its 540 pound feet of torque slamming into the barriers and heading on a stretcher. The engineers are concerned about safety of the passengers and to avoid such bad scenes, they have redesigned the nose to keep the 550-2 closer to the tarmac and sucks in a lot of cool air to keep the 14inch, 8-cylinder front calipers cool and effective, the brake calipers bright-yellow. For everyday office duty, the springs and dampers are slightly softer for a civilized ride.

The Lifting system in the Lambor cars is developed for countries with bumpy to rough terrain and while negotiating speed breakers and ramps without clouting it. The function of this system is to raise the front of the car by 45 mm and at speeds up to 70 km/h, placed at the central console and can be switched off using the same button. A boon and a standard option.

The sea link, Bombay's greatest test road and especially mid-week at high noon when the traffic is minimum, it is the best time to take the sunshine yellow Lambo for a quick spin and I was only too happy to try to tame the baby bull.
Return to the 5.6 kilometers  sea link stretch, this baby bull is little challenging, and can be some what stressful. Once on heat, this baby bull growls and unleashes those 550 baby bulls ferociously. The machine is very aero dynamic and driver needs to have intense concentration. Glad I am listening to some industrial techno from CARL COX, others listen to Pavarotti or Bocelli while driving this baby.

The snarl turns to a growl at about 3500rpm, still feel subdued, and hit around 8000rpm and your heart is piston pounding. Just no time for the Carl Cox track to complete, I have reached the toll booth. The nearly 1400kgs does come to a quick slowdown as we near the toll booths, the brakes like I say damn hard, yet very effective and accurate with just a feather touch on the pedal, sensitive enough, but do need to develop my calves. The way the 550-2 negotiates the curves and bends, is because of its balance and engineering with its excellent steering and traction, while the snuggy seats firmly grip my 72kgs body frame in place, does need more lumber support.

The suspension is firm with perfect damping, it eliminates traces of body roll and the low center of gravity definitely helps on sticking to the ground with the hugging Pirellis.

The steering response is quick and precise which is assisted by short wheelbase and wide track, my hands stays gripping the ALCANT ARA leather steering firmly. 

It’s a truly charismatic Italian baby bull. Airflow dynamics are critical to facilitate cooling of the engine oil, transaxle, and air-conditioning both under and over the car. As  Donckerwolcke puts it as, "We didn't want to craft a sculpture, then have to drill holes in it."
3.9secs and I see 100kms, top speed of 320kmph, can never ever achieve this speed or even close to it but around 237kmph was achieved. Heart piston pounding. 

DOHC 4 valves are very active. The naturally aspirated 550hp engine responds to throttle input instantly. No lag or delay, just the V10 awaiting to fire all cylinders.

It may gulp gallons of fuel, expectedly, but it's heart hardly skipped a beat. Who cares for the gas bill?

Customers can choose from five standard colors: Giallo Halys, Nero Noctis, Nero Serapis, Grigio Thalasso and Blu Caelum, to name a few. In my language, that's yellow, orange, grey, white, and blue. Honestly, keep the cheque book ready, damn, paint it any color you want as long you love and admire it.
The Ad Personam customization program for exteriors permits you to tailor the design of your 550-2 with a lot of individual tastes suiting your personality. Be unique !!!

Since the beginning of the development of the car, the safety aspects are priority for Lamborghini and for its customers. It boasts of the front and side airbags bundled with a seatbelt and pre-tensioned system for the passengers to protect them at speeds in excess of 200kmp/h and instant throttle to reach 150kmp/h.

Chassis reinforcements and seat shape too guarantee the maximum level of safety on board for driver and passenger. Safety features like ESP contribute to achieving stability and traction at high speeds and for zig zag roads, leave alone the racetrack.

There is a fully integrated proper entertainment/multimedia system installed at the central console. Other functions such as Bluetooth® connection, satellite navigation and rear-view camera to name a few depending on the region the Gallardo’s are sold and options for that region are provided. 

The main info is displayed on the 7” multifunctional LCD color display placed in the center of the instrument panel. The sound system consists of four speakers (2 tweeters and 2 woofers) located in the windscreen pillars and in the door panel, the sound is fabulous . Adrenaline beat !!!

With the On-board computer, the driver can monitor average speed, average fuel consumption, current fuel consumption, journey time and how far you can drive with the gas in your tank. This information along with information coming from the multimedia system is displayed in the multifunctional TFT located between the speedometer and the revolution counter.

For security of the car, the anti-theft systems helps protect against break-ins and theft, as the functions provided are:
– Interior monitoring
– Towing protection system
– Trunk, door, ignition and radio monitoring
– Activated 30 seconds after the doors are locked
– Attempted break-in triggers an audible and visual alarm

Huge Air Intakes on the sides and air scoops on rear above the air intakes.
Lamborghini’s E gear is an automated transmission with electro-mechanical control of the gear shifts and clutch. This eliminates the need for a clutch pedal, and the conventional gear lever is replaced by a pair of steering column mounted paddles.The system provides the following modes Normal, Sport and Corsa.

When designing the Gallardo and to make it a successful sports car, the aim was to make it sportier, sexy, muscular  and elegant, the traits do not seem to be compatible initially, but the blend made it very successful.
The front with small and compact lights with two large forward-facing air intakes on the sides to cool the radiators and on the rear above is the small side air scoops to cool the engine giving it the sleek muscular look. The engine gets a transparent bonnet for visual appeal.

Globally the design of the Gallardo has won numerous awards and recognized accolades. To name a few, they won the red dot design award and the British Design and Art Direction Award. The muscular sportiness of the car's shape with the simplicity of its contours is remarkable. 

The 550-2 has fulfilled my Lambor inner fantasies. To tame the beast effectively , it will require patience and some gym hours.

To my bad luck, as I desperately wanted to take another tame drive, it started pouring and had to hand over the keys, but did certainly satisfy my Lambor inner fantasies. Until the next lambor bull to be tamed, I head to the gym.

The Lamborghini Gallardo is named after a famous breed of fighting bull and represented to many the smaller version of the Murciélago, a descendant of Lamborghini's Jalpa from the 1980s.

Saluti.  As Ernest Hemingway said "There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games."

For further details, contact:
Mr. Kunal Patwa - Product Manager.
Lamborghini Mumbai
Auto Hangar (India) Pvt. Ltd.
Ground Floor Rajan House,
A. M. Marg, Prabhadevi,
Mumbai 400 025.

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