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Lamborghini’s Tactical Street Fighter

Did you ever dream of flying a jet fighter? I did, but since I didn’t join the Air Force or Navy and become a top gun pilot, my occasional flying exploits have been ground-based. Fortunately, I get a few opportunities each year to do some low flying in equipment that can rival an F/A-18 for entertainment value. And Lamborghini’s LP 560-4 is that kind of sports car.
It’s easy to imagine wings on this sleek machine, and if it were so equipped, the 560-horsepower V10 would easily propel it to takeoff speed on an average runway. I managed to resist its over-200 mph potential, since I just don’t find an orange jumpsuit fashionable and prison food probably isn’t as good since Martha Stewart was released. But when I had to merge into traffic, it was truly effortless and the excitement level made short trips great fun.
Just last year, I was quite impressed with Lamborghini’s Gallardo model, the 560’s predecessor that has been a top hit for the brand since its introduction in 2003. This newest raging bull has maintained the classic style and fighter proportions, shed a little weight, added more horsepower, and improved fuel economy. Those are attributes that any reasonable enthusiast would call progress.
Lamborghini managed the performance efficiency hat trick with a new direct injection fuel system and by raising the compression to a breathtaking 12.5-1 ratio. Some might wonder why the company doesn’t try for more fuel efficiency and less blinding performance with today’s environmental sensibilities, but then it would be just another Italian fashion statement without supercar substance. Besides, the few people who own these cars rarely press them into daily commute service.
Today’s Lamborghini is quite sophisticated, with color navigation and effortless paddle shifting as normal attributes. But when you insert yourself into the cockpit and press the start button, it’s like lighting a fuse that terminates into another big bang. The high-strung V10 explodes into life with a vicious bark, especially at initial startup. And if there were guys with flags around, you might expect to be launched off a carrier deck by a catapult.
Once underway, the permanent all-wheel-drive system keeps the LP 560-4 glued to the pavement. Every car has limits, but most drivers will run out of nerve flying through a corner before this Lamborghini runs out of its tenacious grip.
Lamborghinis are not for everyone. The late Malcolm Forbes loved his Lamborghini, even in Manhattan, but suggested it wasn’t a car for the meek or timid. And without the breathtaking options that are typically added, it’s obvious that this is not the car for the frugal or middle manager. But for the bold with lots of disposable income, the LP 560-4 is a nice complement to any automotive collection.    BRIAN DOUGLAS


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