Test-Drive: Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder

The current generation of Lamborghini Gallardo, nearing the culmination of a staggeringly successful run since it was introduced in 2003, has diverged into two opposite variants: the Super Trofeo Stradale, a racecar-inspired spin-off whose $258,400 price tag makes it the priciest Gallardo on the planet, and the LP 550-2 Spyder, equipped with a $211,600 premium that lends it the distinction of being the most attainable open-air Lamborghini currently available.

A test-drive of the LP 550-2 Spyder through Malibu’s menacingly serpentine hills suggests there’s nothing cut-rate about how this Gallardo addresses the road. Since only the rear wheels, not all four, are driven by the 550 (metric) hp V-10 power plant, the resulting 80-pound weight reduction means there’s less mass to hustle around. More crucial, though, is the wild card introduced by the rear-wheel-drive setup: unlike the relative security of the standard all-wheel-drive Gallardo, this particular strain feels livelier and more willing to dance across tarmac, turning in and sliding the tail out more eagerly than its heavier counterparts.

While the swan song for the Gallardo is not official, if Lamborghini deemed the LP 550-2 a conclusion to the current Gallardo lineup, we’d find it an apt and entertaining way to make room for whatever magic the Italian manufacturer will conjure next. (www.lamborghini.com)

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