November 2006

Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

Dramatic shape arguably looks better in Spyder form

November 2006

picture of car from the frontpicture of car from the rearpicture of car interiorpicture of car in detail

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5 stars


  • Gorgeous looks with hood down
  • Engine is a masterpiece
  • Benign chassis inspires confidence
  • Surprisingly easy to drive


  • Running costs will inevitably be high
  • Rear vision is poor
  • Cabin feels ordinary compared to rest of the car
  • Lack of storage space

One of the most famous names in motoring has added to its range of high performance cars with the revised version of the Gallardo Spyder. Removing the roof of the coupe brings an extra dose of style as well as the increased sensation of roof down motoring to make it an even more desirable machine.

Like any real supercar, the Gallardo has a dramatic exterior. The distinctive wedge shape is created by the low nose, rising waistline and chunky rear end with a steeply-raked tail. The Spyder version is even more dramatic, as the fabric roof creates the open-top look. The Gallardo is also colour sensitive, as brighter hues highlight the shape while darker colours hide its curves.

The centrepiece of the Gallardo Spyder is its engine. The same 10-cylinder unit that powers the Gallardo coupe has incredible performance and an amazing sound too, and it dominates the experience behind the wheel. Harnessing all that power is the same four-wheel-drive system, ensuring the power can be transmitted to the road safely in most conditions.

The Gallardo benefits from the VW Group ownership of Lamborghini most notable in terms of details, particularly in the cabin. Although some of the switchgear and displays may be familiar to Audi owners, this does mean a high level of quality and clarity, where once idiosyncratic layouts caused owners distress.

The changes between the coupe and Spyder versions of the Gallardo are subtle, and the Lamborghini designers have ensured that the inclusion of a soft top disrupts the stylish looks as little as possible. The roof mechanism is electrically operated and requires a minimum of effort from the driver.

Our verdict on the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder

Despite the price tag the Gallardo Spyder has many rivals, yet its distinctive personality and abilities make it a hard car to beat. As a driving experience it is thrilling, yet it is a relatively easy car to drive. If cost is not an issue, then it should be near the top of any prospective shopping list.


The running costs for the Gallardo will be very high. Insurance will be in the top group, fuel economy is poor and emissions are high. Servicing is also likely to be expensive.

Space and practicality

As far as passengers are concerned, the Gallardo is on a par with its two-seater rivals, with decent head and legroom. There are a few storage areas for oddments, although the boot is not particularly large and its proximity to the engine does mean it may suffer from heat soak.

Controls and display

The layout of the Gallardo is very good, with clearly labelled controls that operate smoothly and in a satisfying manner. The instruments are clear and attractive, while the buttons and switches feel well designed and robust.


Given its wild side, the Gallardo offers reasonable comfort levels. The seats are supportive, the ride is acceptable and noise levels are quite low when the engine is being used with restraint.

Car security

A desirable car such as this requires a high level of security, and the Gallardo includes remote central locking with an engine immobiliser and alarm. A remote tracking system is also available for extra peace of mind.

Car safety

A high level of passive safety includes front and side airbags, while on the active safety front the inclusion of four-wheel-drive, ABS and ESP coupled to the high specification of the suspension, brakes and engine make it a very capable and safe car in the right hands.

Driver appeal

The Gallardo is a surprisingly friendly car to drive, despite the huge horsepower and wild exterior. The clutch, steering and gearbox are relatively lightweight but accurate, which inspires confidence. Once on the move, the 5.0-litre V10 delivers manic performance even with a gentle squeeze of the accelerator, and at full power it is incredibly quick. The four-wheel-drive system inspires confidence, and the strong brakes and accurate steering make the Gallardo a rewarding car to drive.

Family car appeal

With only two seats and a small boot, the Gallardo would not make a good family car.

First car appeal

The Gallardo is not an appropriate first car, as its performance and expense will exceed the capability of an inexperienced driver.

Quality and image

Thanks to input from the VW Group, the Gallardo is a high quality car, with a very good standard of finish inside and out. Buyers can be confident that the reliability woes of older Lamborghini products have been eradicated. The Lamborghini's image is also highly attractive, being synonymous with high performance and style. The only possible demerit is that some regard Lamborghinis as being better suited to 'show-offs' than drivers, but the Gallardo's performance rebukes that.


Despite the wedge shape, gaining access to the Gallardo is simple. The door handle pops easily, and the long doors have a wide opening. Occupants do need to drop down into the seats, but otherwise it is simple and easy.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

An Audi-sourced radio/CD unit is fitted as standard, which delivers a high level of sound quality and a simple interface with large screen display. Although the system might struggle at higher speeds with the roof down, the engine is far more exciting to listen to.

Colours and trim

High quality leather and alcantara feature throughout the cabin of the Gallardo, while the remaining plastic trim is also of a high quality. A range of colours is available, and although much of the trim is dark, the cabin still feels inviting.


This is one area where the Gallardo struggles. Even with the roof down rear visibility is poor, and with the roof up it is even worse. The view forward is good but the nose drops steeply away making it difficult to judge the car's extremities. However, the clutch is surprisingly light as is the steering at parking speeds.

Spare wheel

Tyre inflation system fitted as standard

Range information

One engine option: 5.0-litre V10 petrol (520bhp), mated to a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automated manual dubbed E-Gear. No trim levels, two models are Coupe and Spyder. High standard specification with large choice of options.

Alternative cars

Ferrari F430 Spider Sublime driving experience, looks a matter of taste

Porsche 911 Cabriolet Best everyday supercar, still a joy to drive

Corvette C6 Convertible Bargain supercar, quality lags behind rivals

Chrysler SRT-10 Giant engine and giant performance, some quality issues

Over 1,300 car reviews online

Search for the make and model you fancy