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2013 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-2 50th Anniversario Edition drive review

Fri, 18 Oct 2013

Rory Carroll for Autoweek
Let's have another look at that shifter. The nav and much of the switchgear will be familiar to Audi fans.

What is it?

Lamborghini told us we'd be the first U.S. "journalists" to drive the new Gallardo LP560-2 Anniversario Edition. Actually, we were offered a test run down the coast near California's Point Lobos State Reserve in our choice of an Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster or the Gallardo. We chose the Gallardo. Sure, the Aventador is the newer car, sure it's more … more. But this Gallardo is to be the last Lambo with a real-deal clutch-and-gated-shifter setup, so the choice was easy.

Besides, our Gallardo wasn't ready when we arrived, so we ended up driving both cars back to back.

The interior is almost entirely covered in black suede with red accent stitching. There's some carbon-fiber trim, a few plastic Audi bits and some nicely-weighted metal switches and, Holy Mother, the aforementioned six-speed manual shifter, sitting in a beautifully made aluminum gate -- fantastic. The interior setup was road-trip comfortable -- which, of course, you'd expect it to be.

Actually, that's not quite true. The seat was a bit too high for your 6'2” editor, and since it's one of those racy, one-piece deals, it's not really adjustable except for sliding forward and back. We'd hope that if an owner asked his Lamborghini dealer to adjust the seat so that his -- the owner's -- head didn't rub on the headliner, the dealer would take care of it. According to our research, the problem is best addressed by the aftermarket.

Rory Carroll for Autoweek
Get a good look at this shifter. It's the last time you'll see one in a Lamborghini.

What's it like to drive?

It says a lot about how good this car is that we forgot about the head-in-contact-with-headliner thing as soon as our foot left the clutch for the first time. It's not the power of the car that is so astonishing. Sure, there's a lot of power, and sure the Gallardo goes fast, but compared to most modern cars, the sensations involved in accelerating, braking and turning are more immediate.

The aforementioned shifter is a joy to operate. A racquet ball-sized sphere of aluminum threads onto a slender dowel that makes its way down through a set of aluminum gates and into the shifter mechanism -- that, kids, is how you change gears, believe it or not.

With the 552-hp V10 (the 560 is metric hp) just behind the passenger compartment and power being directed to the rear wheels, it feels just like a proper, real-deal supercar -- the ones they used to make before the Germans realized they were dangerous and decided to replace them with cars that are utterly safe. When you're cornering or hammering on the gas, it feels like most of the weight of the car is centered right where you're sitting -- which, of course, is why we love mid-engine cars. Weight transfer isn't something you have to feel for; it's as if it's your own weight that's doing the transferring. It's intuitive and confidence-inspiring like a good sports car.

Rory Carroll for Autoweek
Mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, six-speed manual.

Do I want one?

Modern Lamborghinis look so outrageous that it's easy to feel like you're letting people down when you get out of one. With all the angles, vents and wings, people expect Batman, or a futuristic robot, to come shooting out of the roof when it stops. If you're a regular guy, you can often feel their disappointment when you open the door. That said, this is the first Lamborghini I've driven where I didn't care. It drives so well that nothing on the outside of the car matters.

Maybe, at this stage in the Gallardo's lifespan, new variants of it have ceased to capture the attention of the Lamborghini faithful. It's not easy to find information on this particular spec. But it would be a shame to let this one go unappreciated. It's very, very good.

2013 Gallardo LP560-2 50th Anniversario Edition

Price: $198,900

As-tested Price: $212,435

Drivetrain: 5.2-liter, 552-hp, 395-lb-ft mid-mounted V10; RWD, six-speed manual

Curb Weight: 3,042 lb

0-62 MPH: 3.4 sec

Fuel Economy (EPA city/hwy/combined): 13/20/15 mpg

By Rory Carroll