Ten years ago Lamborghini unveiled the Gallardo at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show. It featured a 5.0L V10, 500hp, all-wheel drive, with looks to match, and The Ferrari 360 in the cross hairs. Since production began in the same year there have been over twenty iterations of the car including many special edition and racing versions. Production ended November 25, 2013 with 14,022 being produced and makes up nearly half of the 30,000 total cars built by Lamborghini since 1963. In this article we will be looking at some of the key versions of the Gallardo over the years.
The original Gallardo was built in 2003 as a 2004 model. As mentioned above, it was powered by a 5.0L V10 producing 500hp put down through an all-wheel drive system and either a 6spd manual or 6spd e-Gear (flappy paddle) option and propelled to 60mph in 4.1 sec and on to a top speed of 192mph. It was much easier to drive than its big brother, the Murcielago, and could be used daily.
With 2005 the first update was made. An SE version was launched featuring new “Callisto” wheels, two-tone special paint colors with matching interior accents, and stiffer suspension. It also saw a bump in power making 520hp through a new exhaust system. The e-gear transmission was also updated and featured a new thrust mode which is essentially an early version of launch control. 250 units were built.
In 2006 a convertible version was launched called the Gallardo Spyder. With the exception of a cloth top the only real difference between it and the coupe is that the Spyder benefited from the SE’s 520hp V10 as well as the ability to hear the V10 scream even better! Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear loved it so much he bought one.
Four years after being shown at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show Lamborghini went again to Geneva in 2007 with a new track oriented version of the Gallardo called the Superleggera. Power was upped to 530hp by tweaking the computer mapping as well as revised intake and exhaust systems. On top of the added power the car was also put on a diet and dropped 220lbs through the extensive use of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials. The aerodynamics were given a rework too adding a new diffuser and an available fixed rear spoiler. It also featured unique wheels and a side stripe identifying the car as something special. It was built for a little more than a year with 172 sold.
Once again in Geneva Lamborghini showed off the latest Gallardo, the LP560, in 2008. This time the car received its first major facelift with more aggressive front scoops to match the LP640 Murcielago. The rear end was redesigned and made use of the triangular shaped LED taillights similar to those found on the Miura Concept and Reventon. The powertrain received a major overhaul too now boasting a 5.2L V10 producing 560hp. The transmissions remained the same albeit an added “corsa” mode for the e-Gear transmission improving shift times by 40%. Combined with a 44lb weight and added power the car now sees 60mph in 3.7 seconds and a new top speed of 201mph.
In 2009 Lamborghini took the Gallardo to the track launching its one make series Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo dubbed the fastest one-make series in the world. The car is essentially a modified version of the road car with all the usual safety equipment and racy bits from roll bars, stiffer chassis, and being stripped out reducing overall weight to just 2900lbs, 400lbs less than the road going version. The transmission is an unmodified e-Gear but the engine has been retuned to produce 570hp. Other versions of the car were also used in various racing series around the world including Super GT, ALMS, and Pirelli World Challenge.
In 2009 Lamborghini offered a limited run of 250 cars named after their long time test driver, Valentino Balboni called the LP550-2 Balboni Edition. Built to his request, the car was rear-wheel drive only and had a 6spd manual (e-Gear was also available). Without the AWD system the car weighs 66lbs less and also also slightly detuned to 550hp because Lamborghini says it did not need them with the drop in weight. The car is easily identifiable by use of a white stripe running down the center of the car. The seats also featured a white stripe. Performance also allowed for easier drifting, a preference of Balboni. 0-60 times suffered only slightly and took 3.9 seconds.
2010 marked the return of the Superleggera this time as the LP570-4. The styling mimics that of the Murcielago LP670 SV with huge front openings, a fixed wing, and rear diffuser. It also features unique wheels. The engine is a street version of the Super Trofeo which also features 570hp and weighs only 50lbs more than the race car thanks to carbon fiber everything. 0-60 comes in 3.0 seconds while top speed remained at 201mph.
At the 2010 Paris Auto Show Lamborghini pulled out all the stops and unveiled the show stopper Sesto Elemento, a Reventon style special edition car build on the Gallardo. It uses the powertrain from the Superleggera but uses carbon fiber in every place possible allowing the car to tip the scales at 2200lbs allowing 0-60 times in claimed 2.5 seconds! Arguably one of the best looking designs to roll out of Sant’Agata in years. While there were no plans for production, enough demand has been made that in late 2013 they offered 20 for sale to the public for track use only. They sold out quickly and were offered at $2.2-2.9 million.
The very next month for the first time a Spyder version of the Superleggera was offered called the Performante. The Performante offered the very best of both worlds; the open top gorgeousness and all the power and performance of the stripped out, light weight Superleggera. It even comes with the spoiler!
In late 2010 another LP550-2 special edition was offered for a short time called the Bicolore. It is essentially the exact same as the Balboni Edition only it trades the stripe for a two-tone paint job. Outside the US the car was offered as a LP560-4. In 2011, demand for the rear-wheel drive Gallardo was so high it was offered as a base model for less than the LP560-4 version. Both coupe and Spyder versions of the LP550-2 were available.
Special edition Superleggeras were offered in 2011 and 2012 as the LP570-4 Blancpain and LP570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale. Both cars are mechanically the same as the LP570-4 Superlegerra with the only difference being a larger, more effective rear wing. The Blancpain Edition was black and only 12 were built while the Super Trofeo Stradale was bright red and was far less exclusive with a relatively large number of 150 being sold.
For 2013 the Gallardo received its third facelift only this time it was purely cosmetic. The front and rear fascias were given the trapezoidal treatment. It wasn’t as pretty and nor was it as well received. The Gallardo was still offered with the original LP560 style fascias along with the newer stylized version. As someone who is constantly finding myself looking at inventory at super car dealers I can say I haven’t seen very many of this design being offered.
To go along with the trapezoidal design a third Superlegerra special edition was created as sort of a last hurrah for the Gallardo. Like the Blancpain and Super Trofeo Stradale it shares all the mechanics of the LP570-4 Superleggera with the added styling of the last refresh. A total of 50 were built and were offered in four different colors. 15 came to the US and were only available in yellow. Red, white, and green stripes were added in place of the Superleggera stripe.
November 25, 2013 marked the end of the Gallardo. Seen here is the last car, a LP570-4 Spyder Performante in Rosso Mars, to roll off the assembly line. it has been sold to a private collector. The car is pictured above along with several of the Lamborghini employees and execs. It marks an end of an era in the Lambo book. Ten years of one of the greatest cars ever made. So what comes next?
Seen here is a spy shot of the Gallardo replacement. We’ve seen more recent photos with less camo but they are of the front and rear only so for now we are only including this one. We’ve even seen many renderings of what the car could look like but obviously those are simply speculative and so we won’t share those either. Details are scarce but currently journalists around the globe have been calling it the Cabrera. All we know for sure is that it will retain V10 power a 7spd dual-clutch gear box and to produce roughly 600hp. Expect styling to take inspiration from the Aventador.