by Jesse Stirling

The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder

The first thing you need to know about driving a super sports car like the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder is that people look at you. Everyone looks at you. It’s awesome. Women passing by in limos lean out of windows and scream with delight; young boys at the gas station take photos by your ride; valets park your car in the primo space directly out front, free of charge and no ticket required. Sitting behind the wheel of a Lamborghini you become a person of immediate importance. It’s tough to be invisible in a car that roars like a thousand angry men simultaneously unsheathing their swords: an army surging with the intensity of nuclear fission. Infinite power is at your disposal. The drive is rich and lush, like having a growling rocket between your legs and a hurricane at your back.

The bold acoustics of the motor are a prelude to the brilliant aesthetics of the exterior. Like laying your eyes on the Grand Canyon or Taj Mahal for the first time, you get a pit in your stomach the moment this exquisite automobile zips into view. It’s an emotional experience. The iconic wedge shape does not broadcast traditional “muscle car,” but rather something transcendent, sophisticated, aggressive and elegantly angular. The interior is sparse and utilitarian – no wasted weight or space. The trunk is small (duh, it’s a super sports car). All the options are there: carbon fiber steering, upgraded sound system, technology package, Alcantara interior (faux suede- actually cotton- which is expensive and luxurious). The sound system is tight and iPhone compatible, but for the first several hours you might want to forgo music and simply enjoy the symphony of the motor revving and wailing, top down, seats heated, your heart racing with pure passionate adrenaline, a rocket at your back and a piece of mobile art surrounding you. Prepare for the Running of the Bull.

Insert the key, step on the brake, turn the ignition, strap yourself in and prepare for blast-off. Like any sports car the ride is low, yet the Lamborghini is surprisingly easy to drive, without difficulty or intimidation. The paddle shifters are as intuitive as the tricked out command center, replete with a back-up camera and navigation system. The transmission automatically shifts back to neutral when idling for extended periods of time to avoid burning out the clutch. The steering wheel and seats mold to your body brilliantly. On the road, the rear-wheel drive version of the model makes for an exciting and challenging drive (a little looser than the four-wheel drive version). Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. explains: “With the Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder, we are expanding the Lamborghini lineup with a purist model that adds yet another dimension of driving fun. This will appeal in particular to a very special group of customers that enjoy a spirited driving style and also like to experience the sheer pleasure of open air driving. This special model with rear-wheel drive is a logical expansion of our lineup of Spyder models with all-wheel drive.”

The Lamborghini logo features the bull – a fighting bull – representing strength, determination and steadfast power. The company was founded in 1963 by Ferruccio Lamborghini who was a strong-willed Taurus that owned an Italian tractor factory, amassed his fortune, and set his sights on building the best super sports car ever. The company website picks up the story: “Many people thought he was mad. Constructing that kind of car was viewed as unexplainable extravagance, a hazardous leap in the dark, and something that would squander his fortune without ever turning a profit.” Today, Lamborghini sales are booming worldwide with the U.S. being the #1 market followed by China, Russia, and UAE. With the Ad Personam program, designs can be tailored to suit every customer-requested color and texture, after pending approval by the company. For example, a Versace-customized interior model recently sold for $1.5 million. A hot trend is a matte black paint job which costs an extra $14,000. The Lamborghini brand now extends beyond the driving experience, offering everything from Lambo hoodies to Lambo cufflinks can be bought at

In sum, the Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder sounds like a jet and is nearly as fast as one. The exterior of the vehicle looks like some kind of space shuttle, and you might feel like an astronaut ready to blast off. Fortunately, no special license is required to command “the world’s fastest raging bull.” The driving experience is not just for the racetrack. This is a user-friendly and street-friendly consumer car. People hear you coming from far away, and they are ready to be impressed by the time you whip by. With head-turning looks and legendary status, owning this car changes how people associate with you. That’s extreme, uncompromising, Italian.

BHL Rating:

Powerful and commanding.

Just the sound of the engine makes you drool.

A tad spartan on the inside, bit of a bumpy ride.

Dart through traffic like a phantom, cut curves like a ninja, slice like a razor blade.

TECH: 10
Booming sound system, iPhone compatible, back up camera, user-friendly, intuitive.

Sleek, striking, legendary.

You will be noticed!

Technical specs:

Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder
Color: Blue Caelum
Horsepower: 550
Engine: 5.2 liter V10
Top Speed: 198.5 mph
0-62 mph: 4.2 seconds
Dry weight: 3,351 lbs
Vehicle length: 171.06 in
Vehicle width: 74.8 in
Fuel economy: 16 mpg e-gear com.,
14 mpg manual com.
US 2012 MSRP: $209,500