The Gallardo was designed as a competitor to Ferrari's 360 Modena, and now competes with its replacement, the F430. The car is named after a famous breed of fighting bull and is pronounced roughly "gah-yar-do". Gallardo is also Spanish for the word gallant. Although performance is lower than the Murcielago, it is still very high, and the Gallardo has much better rearward visibility and, according to reviewers, is more maneuverable as well as more tractable in low-speed traffic, making the Gallardo a much more practical car to drive. It is also much more practical to use in bad weather than many other supercars, thanks to rear-biased all-wheel drive. Although corporate owner Audi is renowned for its Quattro AWD system, Lamborghini uses a system of its own.
However, to the disappointment of enthusiasts, Lamborghini did not fit its signature scissor-doors as on the Murcielago, and some owners have fit their own, vertical-opening doors. Lamborghini chose to keep the doors exclusive to the V12 models, as it has done since the Countach when they were first introduced.
At current U.S. prices, a base Gallardo costs about $165,000.
The Gallardo uses a V10 engine based on Audi's old straight-5 design. This engine was split again to become the straight-5 engine found in the new Volkswagen Jetta. The 5.0-liter engine is a current Audi 4.2-liter V8 (featured in Audi's S4, A6, A8, and Q7 models) with two extra cylinders added and a slightly smaller bore diameter.
The Gallardo offers two choices of transmissions, a conventional six-speed manual transmission, and an advanced six-speed electro-hydraulically controlled auto-clutch manual, or, as Lamborghini abbreviates it to, "E-gear". The latter allows the driver to make shifts much faster than an automatic transmission would, with the control that a manual offers. The driver shifts up and down via paddles behind the steering wheel, and does not need to manually actuate the clutch.
In December, 2004, several Gallardo supercars were donated by Lamborghini to the Italian police in honor of the force's 152nd anniversary. The Gallardo Police Cars will be used by the traffic police (Polizia Stradale) during emergencies and alarm situations on the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway, also under the powers of the special safety operative which is already being employed along this tract of highway and above all for the transport of organs destined to transplants.
Top speed: 309 km/h (192 mph)