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The Latest Volkswagen

By Mark Creese

This week Iíve been asked to review a Volkswagen of my choosing and after much deliberation Iíve decided on the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560/4. No I havenít gone mad, you see Lamborghini is owned by Audi who are owned by Volkswagen so in essence all Lambos are the Italian lovechild from a German partnership. It was also an opportunity I couldnít pass up following me cashing my cheque to a track day which allowed me to get behind the wheel of one.

The reason Iíve always liked Lamborghini is what they stand for: raw power and noise, crazy styling and their ability to make you feel eight years old all over again. As a child I grew up with the largest hardback book of cars youíve ever seen. I remember there were only 100 cars in the book, but for some reason every page was the size of a house. To be honest even at a mere eight years old, the majority of the cars looked dated even when newly released. Ferrari was going through a slump, the Delorean was made of tinfoil and no disrespect to the French, but the Venturi was hardly a supercar thoroughbred.

However there were two pages of the book of real interest and they lovingly featured the Lamborghinis Countach and Diablo. The former looked like a Transformer halfway between being robot and vehicle, with its half open vents, angular styling and larger rear wheels making the front bumper burrow through the tarmac. The Diablo as with the Countach had doors that opened to the heavens rather than in the conventional manner and was the first Lambo to achieve 200mph. Both wouldnít have looked out of place with rocket launchers and wings on them and from that moment on, Lamborghini were the dream car maker for me.

Itís safe to assume then that my day driving the Gallardo was a slightly exciting one. Looking back at the Countach and Diablo they were unwieldy machines that didnít top any reliability surveys and this played on my mind a tad, not so much the reliability, but the fact Iíd end up in a hedge backwards at 150mph thanks to poor handling. The amazing thing however is this: since Volkswagen have taken over the company and used their engineering resources (Audi included) the Gallardo is not only the most beautiful car theyíve made, but itís so easy to drive quickly even an oaf like me can do it.

Ok letís prove that fact with some statistics. My current car has a 1.6 litre engine, an asthmatic 111bhp and a 0-60mph time of 11 seconds. I am used to driving this and am aware it is painfully slow, but to compare that to a 5.2 litre, 552bhp 0-60mph in 3.7 seconds Gallardo is simply scary. Not willing to show my fear to the instructor however, I did the usual laps in slower cars to practice the racing line and then I was ready to go.

The version I drove had the additional benefit of having a flappy paddle gearbox so all I had to do was pull up on the paddle on the right hand side of the steering wheel to change up a gear and do the same on the left to change back down. As youíd expect from a car that does 0-60mph ďfaster than you can say this sentence out loudĒ the gears required changing frequently. If youíre hoping Iím building up to a big crescendo, complete with big crash youíll be disappointed Iím afraid. The gear changes were as smooth as silk, the roar from the V10 was heavenly and the steering was perfectly balanced. Iíve driven many Lamborghinis on the PlayStation and although it sounds idiotic to say so, the real experience, although far more exciting and involving was no scarier than lying on the sofa, pressing go on the controller.

There should be no other car on an eight year oldsí wall than the Gallardo, it is stunning to behold Ė angles suit a car far more than curves Iíve decided. The front bumper is my personal favourite feature with two huge air intakes ready to eat anything they encounter. The doors may now open conventionally but the spirit of Lamborghini coarses through every vein of the Gallardo. The cost of this magnificent creature is a mere £143, 350. Ok so maybe the car isnít perfect after all, but for the six people who will buy one in the next decade, itíll be money well spent.

I wish Volkswagen would buy my car.

About the Author:

Mark Creese is a writer and car enthusiast. Here he discusses his test drive of a Lamborghini Gallardo. Alan Day Volkswagen

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