At 12,198 feet, Mount Teide might be the highest point in all of the territories that comprise Spain and one of the main tourist sites in the Canary Islands. But on this particular Thursday in March, at the parking lot of the viewing center nestled in the volcanic rock near its summit, El Teide is definitely a second-string attraction for the tourists milling about. That's because the mountain, which last erupted in 1909, has been upstaged by the fleet of 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyders that just came roaring in. A single example of the ragtop version of the revised Gallardo coupe that debuted last year would garner attention wherever it went, even if it were painted generic silver. But what we have here at the top of Tenerife is a flotilla of more than a dozen Gallardo Spyders painted dayglow yellow, electric lime green, brilliant blue, matte black, and crisp white with black wheels, among other eye-popping shades. The cabins are just as colorful and enticing, every inch of them lined with exquisitely detailed leather. (Our favorite? Pearlescent white paint over rich, dark brown hides. Scrumptious.)
So, all around the parking lot, wives are aiming cameras at husbands who are posing next to Gallardos, video cameras are rolling, and the mountain is being ignored. We raise the rear lid on our car, a process that involves the use of both electric and hydraulic motors, and a scrum of tourists rushes over to point their cameras at the 5.2-liter V-10 engine that lies, resplendent, behind the passengers. Who can blame these people? Mount Teide has been here for millions of years, and if the citizens of Tenerife are fortunate, it will be here awhile longer before it erupts again. The Lamborghinis, though, are leaving, heading back down to the coast, and fast.
Fast is the operative word, because the latest Gallardo Spyder is one of the quickest ragtops in the world, with Lamborghini claiming a 0-to-62-mph time of 4.0 seconds - likely a conservative number - and a breathtaking top speed of 201 mph (with the top in place, thank you, not that we tried it). These figures are made possible by the fact that the Gallardo Spyder weighs some 44 pounds less than its predecessor, although it also weighs about 220 pounds more than the coupe, due to its extra structural reinforcements and roof-opening mechanisms. And with a 3417-pound dry weight, it can hardly be called light.