Having been starved of supercar nutrition over the past 12 months, I decided to pop into my local Lamborghini and Ferrari dealers to have a nose around what they had in stock.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had my eye on a particular car, this amazing LP550-2 Tricolore.
At its heart lies the familiar 5.2 V10 engine but with drive only going to the rear wheels with a deficit of 10PS (hence the 550 monicker), alluding to the ethos Lamborghini is trying to preach about less being more. I’ve read a lot about the Balboni and how it’s the best drivers V10 Lamborghini make and I could quite believe it. As incredible as the LP560-4 is, you really do notice the 4WD system, especially on tight bends on track – you feel a slight hovering on the front and a disconnect that punishes any communication you had with the front wheels.
The Tricolore comes fully loaded with every option you’d need on a Gallardo and also comes with carbon wing mirrors and side skirts together with that very cool Italian stripe both across the whole car and also across the drivers seat.
This all being moot, of course, as I’m simply fulfilling some perverted fetish to satisfy a craving for supercars that has left me utterly malnourished over the past 12 months.
Unfortunately, the car wasn’t at London, having being shipped out to Manchester for some showroom sharing – with Ferrari taking valuable floor space whilst their own dealership is having a massive renovation, Lambo London have scant spots to keep these cars.
Instead, they had some other top line V10 cars. First thing to catch your eye in the showroom is the stunning LP570-4 Superleggera, looking fantastic in white. This car really does look best in either black or white, with the carbon exterior trim and dark wheels complementing the car beautifully. Even amongst a company of Lamborghini’s, the SL looks expensive.
Tucked away at the far corner of the showroom was yet another special edition Gallardo. The big difference between this, though, is a significant amount of engineering change. It’s the £225,000, big breath, Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Blancpain Special Edition. It’s basically a road version of the Super Trofeo race series Gallardo. Boasting even more weight saving courtesy of a carbon fibre diet, the car improves it’s power to weight without any engine changes. Personally, I thought the spoiler looked a little ridiculous for a road car and felt the changes removed the purity of the standard shape.
Finally, a Performante. “What’s this? Another limited edition?”. Well, kind of. It’s a convertible version of the Superleggera basically. Aesthetically, it just doesn’t look right. Appreciate it’s Lamborghini’s response to Ferrari’s 16M, but the spoilers, deep front skirts and horrific stickers across the car, combined with the plastic looking engine cover, make this one of the least desirable V10’s for me. No doubt it’s incredible to drive, but this isn’t something I’d be proud to see in the reflections of shop windows as I drive past. What, I’m the only person that does that?
A short walk around the back to where Ferrari have taken up temporary residence and I’m immediately taken back by the surreal presence of the 458. As the dealer went to great pains to explain, Ferrari don’t evolve their cars, they totally reinvent them – and I can totally believe that.
With a 430 Spyder parked next to a 458, the leaps and bounds achieved in the newer model really does put the ageing car into the shade. I can only describe it as a mini Enzo and even parked it was capable of giving me a little shiver.
However, with prices starting at £200k for used examples, it’s only a matter of time before the bottom falls out of these cars. Incredibly, these cars now come with 7 years free servicing and with Lamborghini now giving 4 years factory warranty to all new cars, it’s about time Porsche took note. Each dealer was also full of encouragement with track usage, citing no warranty dangers as such.
Have a test drive booked in a 458 next week. It’s an incredible car with the most fantastic, driver focused interior I’ve ever seen. I honestly believe it represents the very pinnacle of automotive engineering with so much high tech F1 know how crammed into the car, it presents a very different proposition to the slightly ‘agricultural’ feel of the Gallardo’s. The dealer was very happy to remind me that the V10 Gallardo’s were now based on 10 year chassis technology. It’s a huge fact that’s worth considering when buying these cars.
When talking Ferrari’s, it’s clear you’re buying into a club, more so in fact than Lamborghini. The Red car dealer doesn’t want to sell you a car, he wants to sell you 10 cars over 10 years. As you take delivery of your car, he’s determined to take your deposit down for the next one. This is pretty typical of an average Ferrari owner frankly, demonstrating that he’s more interested in owning the next best car, rather than a subjective decision based on individual merit. Even as Louis Walsh walked in, newspaper in hand, I was for a split moment completely ignored mid-conversation as the dealer walked over to him instead.
We eventually concluded that everybody loves a Lamborghini, but Ferrari’s are either loved or hated, despite their obvious game changing car, the 458. It’s clearly a massive step forward and is no doubt a better car dynamically than the V10.
Couldn’t help feel though that as impressive as the soundtrack on the new V8 was, it sounded quite artificial and I wondered if in doing so, some spark in its soul was lost? Just can’t beat that V10 sound really.