Lamborghini Gallardo Buyer’s Guide
By Tony Franklin on October 11, 2018
The Lamborghini Gallardo was first released in 2004 and has been the first best-selling model by the Italian manufacturer, with 14,022 that came off the line. It is a sports car that was built for speed and attention, not for comfort and convenience. Like the fighting bull it was named after, it was made to be a showboat, not a long-lasting investment. Here are a few car details you should know about before purchasing a Lamborghini Gallardo.
It gets people’s attention.
If you are a politician, and you are running for office, this is the car you want to drive in the parade. Everyone will forget your competition, but they will remember you for year’s to come. It’s a bright, beautiful car that gives the impression that you mean business and can run with anyone, at any speed, for any price. You will be noticed.
If you do not want attention, this can be a problem. Beyond any personal reasons for keeping a low profile, this car kinda screams “Steal me!”. You won’t park it on the street. You may have to find a secure parking garage and walk six blocks just to get to the party you are attending. Like the fighting bull, this car serves a specific purpose, and once that purpose is accomplished, this car can be a bit of a burden just to keep around.
The manufacturer invested in the exterior more than the interior of the car.
Again, the outside looks beautiful and draws an immense amount of attention (and even envy). The inside, however, is all plastic. There is a bit of disappointment you will experience when you realize that even the switches, which appear to be metal, inside the car, are fake. They are plastic that is made to look fancy. They are pennies pinched to cut costs, which probably helped make the Gallardo the first best-seller initially. Nevertheless, fake metal switches are a bit of a disappointment.
The plastic interior, beyond your own aesthetic sense, does a couple of things to this car. It makes it less expensive. It also makes it weigh a little less. An ounce or two spared here and there adds up through the whole interior of the car. Less weight means more speed, which is a good thing. But it also means less stability.
Your back will pay for the ride.
Many Gallardo owners have complained of back aches after driving their cars for more than an hour. The power and speed of this car, matched with the inexpensive interior, leads to stress on your back. If you intend on driving this a lot, you will need to find a way to deal with the physical strain.
It ages quickly and noisily.
The Gallardo will begin to squeak and rattle before long. It has a sense of raw power to it, and that sense goes all the way inside the car. It is indeed raw, like a powerhouse with a saddle strapped on, rather than an elegant machine made like a Swiss watch. It is a car people will want to watch fly by, not huddle over the open hood, drooling over the mechanical workings.
The brakes are one noisy part in particular. One solution to the Gallardo’s squeaking brakes has been to replace the Lamborghini brake pads (which are quite expensive) with Audi RS6 pads for the front and Dodge Viper pads in the back. It is half the cost with none of the noise.
The E-Gear models have problems.
The early models had some significant problems with their E-Gear transmissions. The clutch, operated by paddles, has a tendency to get worn out quite quickly with poor engagement. Also, the mechanisms for shifting have been known to break easily, which leaves you with nearly $20,000 in repairs. In 2008, Lamborghini changed the software in the transmission, and the E-Gear models were significantly improved. If you are looking at an early model (pre-2008) check to see that it has had the clutch replaced, or put that cost in your budget. Or, look for a 6-speed manual version instead, which will give you more control over the clutch, and the car in general.
Second Generation (2008-2014) Improvements
The second generation of Gallardos had improved engines and higher horsepower. They also had improved transmissions, but the E-Gear was still not as good as the 6-speed manual. If you find a manual transmission Gallardo, expect to pay a premium on it. Also, the front and back bumpers were redesigned to prevent cracking that often occurred in the first generation models.
Things to look out for when car shopping for a used Gallardo
1. Always get the car inspected before you purchase it and be sure to get a clutch reading from a specialist.
2. Inspect the car over carefully for any leaks. Check below the skid plates for oil puddling.
3. Watch out for cracked bumpers in 1st Generation Gallardos.
4. Check the brake pads and rotors for excess wear and tear.
5. Inspect the service record. Many of these cars sit for months at a time, but that does not mean they do not develop problems.
6. When you test drive the car, realize that some squeaks and rattles are bound to occur, but there should be nothing excessive.