It takes just four seconds—the amount of time a Ferrari F430 requires to reach 60 mph—to understand why Lamborghini created a special edition of the Gallardo. In the spirit of Ferruccio Lamborghini’s eternal rivalry with Ferrari, the Gallardo SE uses shorter ratios on five of its six gears to shave two-tenths of a second from the standard baby bull’s zero-to-60 time and match the F430’s performance.
Continue to prompt the throttle, and the Gallardo SE’s 10-cylinder engine will produce enough extra cavalli to reach a top speed of 196 mph—again matching the F430 stride for stride. Revised steering, a sports suspension, and sticky Pirelli P Zero tires should deliver handling superior to that of lesser Gallardos, while permanent four-wheel drive and a winter option package (heated seats, heated mirrors, and heated windshield washer jets) underscore the Gallardo SE’s everyday usefulness. Also, a new rear-view video monitoring system makes the low-slung demon easier to park without curbing those 19-inch Callisto wheels.
The Gallardo’s performance may equal Ferrari’s, but when styling the SE, Lamborghini evidently determined that bolder would be better. A unique two-tone color scheme makes it impossible to mistake the Gallardo SE for a member of the plebeian ranks. The roof, engine cover, and front and rear spoilers all will be painted black to contrast with the six available exterior colors. The two-tone motif extends to the hand-sutured leather interior.
But the true measures of exclusivity are numeric, and in addition to being among the swiftest cars and the priciest (an estimated $190,000), the Gallardo SE will be one of the scarcest. Of the 250 examples set for production, only about 100 will be delivered to the States, beginning in December 2006.