The Lamborghini Gallardo was hailed years ago as the first Lamborghini to truly show off its Germanic influence, following Audi's purchase of the Italian carmaker. Visually, the Gallardo is restrained (for a two-seat Italian exotic), with no outlandish visuals that put flash ahead of drivability. Still, this is not a car for those looking to travel undercover. The Gallardo replaces Lamborghini's previous visual lack of restraint with a pure addiction to speed: the Gallardo is available with 550, 560, or 570 hp, all enough to propel the rear- or all-wheel-drive supercar to 60 mph in fewer than four seconds. Stand on it long enough and the Gallardo's speedometer will crest at close to 200 mph. This high-speed machine can be had in a number of packages, too. It has a manual or an automated manual transmission and comes in coupe, convertible, and superlightweight body styles. The Gallardo's 5.2-liter V-10 may be less refined than some of its competitors' engines, but it makes a great noise to match the car's great looks. It also has great thirst, but supercar performance and good gas mileage have so far proved impossible to reconcile. The all-wheel-drive system in the LP 560-4 and the LP 570-4 models keeps the fun from getting too dangerous. But don't for a moment think that the Gallardo is sensible: it's bold and striking and makes a serious statement. Various special editions help buyers get specific about just what they want to say.
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