For 2006, the Lamborghini Gallardo gains 20 horsepower, up from 500 hp in 2005; along with lower ratio gears, it now reaches a top speed of 315 km/h and manages zero to 100 km/h in four seconds. New features include a multimedia system with CD/MP3 system, new interior colours, and a “non-smoking” version, with the lighter replaced with a twelve-volt socket. There are three new exterior colours, Verde Faunus (green), Blue Fontus (blue) and Grigio Proteus (grey); Rosso Letro (red) replaces Rosso Metis, and Nero Serapis (black) replaces Nero Osyris.

But the big news is the Spyder, expected early in 2006, which lifts the top off Lamborghini’s smallest and least-expensive model. The Spyder includes the multimedia system as standard equipment, contains a power steering fluid cooler and automatic door locking, and shares the Gallardo’s exterior colours, plus exclusive Celeste Phoebe (light blue) and Verde Picus (green).

Named for a breed of fighting bull, the Gallardo’s alloy space frame was created in Neckarsulm, Germany, in an aluminum construction centre owned by parent company Audi. The angular body is all Lamborghini; the interior and switchgear have the precision Audi is famous for, and while it’s capable of zero to 100 km/h in four seconds flat, its road manners are surprisingly civilized.

The Gallardo is powered by a 5.0-litre V10, with a permanent all-wheel-drive system that has a normal bias of 30 per cent front and 70 per cent rear. During acceleration, it transfers 80 per cent to the rear, and will distribute torque as needed if slippage is detected. The car has a top speed of 309 km/h.

The car is based around a structural aluminum space frame, with an aluminum body and thermoplastic parts, aluminum double-wishbone front and rear suspension system, eight-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, and an electronic stability program with anti-lock brakes.

Features include heated mirrors with electrical folding capability, electronically-controlled rear spoiler, leather interior, premium sound system and six-speed manual transmission that can be optioned to a robotized sequential gear system with paddle-mounted shifters.

The Spyder shares the Gallardo’s architecture and specifications, but its convertible roof includes a hood made from black fabric that raises or lowers in twenty seconds, using two buttons on the dashboard. The rear window moves automatically while the top moves, and then returns to the raised position; it can be lowered with another button, even when the roof is up. The Spyder is expected in early 2006, and while prices have not been announced, the company says it will be around 10 to 15 per cent higher than the hardtop.

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