Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lamborghini Gallardo Performante hits LA

The next time a gift horse trots my way, I�ll be giving it a full dental examination.
When TG UK HQ offered up the chance to drive a new Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder in LA I was too busy bouncing gaily and clapping my hands like a seal to ask any questions. I even said I�d sleep in the car, if necessary. Obviously, I was picturing myself as a model of contentment, cruising down the Sunset Strip with what looked like a shower of confetti raining into the cabin, but would turn out to be the flung phone numbers of Lohans and Kardashians.
This feature was originally published in the January issue of Car Evolution magazine

Sadly, as infamous LA shopaholic Winona Ryder should have taught me, reality bites. Which is why I find myself, late at night, heading away from the star-speckled Sunset Boulevard and out of town along Interstate 10.
I'm strapped into what seems to be a car with broken concrete instead of suspension, a Lambo Gallardo LP570-4 Performante Spyder.

Thanks to the strategic placing of expansion joints every few feet, the sadomasochistically sprung Lambo is bouncing its way along, making me look like an AC/DC fan on meth. And, thanks to the strangely high and wide metalfoot-rest design, I keep mistaking it for the brake pedal, until I work out that the foot-rest has more give and feel to it. Sighing at this strange turn of events, I drop my head back against the seat and damn near knock myself unconscious. An Alcantara headstone would be more welcoming.
Obviously, this is no ordinary Gallardo. It's a convertible version of the company's stripped-naked track version, the Superleggera. They may not share a name, but make no mistake: the two cars are so closely related that if they were in the state of Alabama, they'd be forced to marry.

The company claims it shaved a massive 65kg off the weight of the standard Gallardo Spyder (put a girl in the passenger seat, and your advantage is cancelled) by using carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics, but I know this is a lie. The real weight savings came from eliminating all padding from the carbon-fibre-backed seats and quietly removing the springs and dampers and throwing them away. Yet it still weighs 1,485kg, compared to 1,340kg for the Superleggera.
After three hours of bunny-thumping out of LA, with no music except the sound of my teeth clattering and the occasional involuntary grunt over really big bumps - it sounded a bit like hip hop, actually - the stereo-less Lambo (it does get electric windows and aircon) hit the outskirts of Palm Springs, and I won an opportunity to marvel at the cruelty of English humour.

Apparently no one had booked me a hotel, because I'd mentioned wanting to sleep in the car. Being after midnight, nothing was open, and so I bedded down, or bedded upright, for the night.
Day dawned on a much-amused photographer and a broken, rattling switch for the driver's side window. So much for the Germanic quality Audi has brought to the boys at Sant'Agata.
Palm Springs turns out to be a giant golf course with people living on it. The roadside verges are softer and neater than putting greens, and I'm wishing I'd slept on one of them.

We head for the deserts that surround this fat, fatuous town and a stretch of mountain road I'm promised will cheer me up and make me fall in love with the photographer. Sadly, the road there is littered with tarmac covered in hardened lava streams. I'm prepared for the ride this time, a Twinkie stuffed in each cheek to avoid filling loss.
Finally, the promised stretch of nirvana arrives, and I blast off to explore what looks like the final scene from The Terminator, a single, winding lane towards far-off craggy peaks, shallow canyons running right up to the road's edge.

Best of all, the surface is new and smooth and empty. I hit the Sport button and the throttle, and feel the skeletal seat and my backbone become one, as the Performante delivers on the promise of its savage looks and serious specs. Its 5.2-litre fire-breathing V10 makes 570bhp and 398lb ft and will rip the hair right out of your head up to a top speed of 201mph. There's surprisingly little wind-buffeting with the roof down at 60mph, but at 120mph it feels like you're sitting in a Dyson.
Cog changes from the e-gear 'box provide a quick kick to your kidneys and a delicious smack to your ears. Downchanges are even sweeter. I notice I'm making small yelping noises.

This Lambo accelerates like the horizon has done it some fierce injustice. From zero to 62mph takes a swingeing 3.9 seconds. But it's the way it accelerates from that point on that causes all the unrefined sugars in my stomach to broil. Suddenly the brakes make sense, as just a dab washes off wedges of speed. Corners seem to be throwing themselves at the windscreen, but the Spyder requires just the smallest inputs through its Alcantara and carbon-fibre wheel to dive into them. It makes the spectacular seem slightly effortless, yet it's still reassuringly scary.

A moment of tramlining on a mid-road ridge of cracked tarmac at a significant speed reminds me that the car would still be happier on a race track, but on this kind of sweeping, cresting, cracking road, the Performante performs a miracle; it makes me love it. I still haven't fallen for the photographer, though. He insists on repeated runs and asks that I beep the horn to let him know when I'm coming. I reply that won't be necessary. At full whack, the Lambo makes noises that have the same effect on your bowels as the bass in a dance club. But it's fantastic lower down as well, grumbling up from somewhere beneath your feet early in the rev range, and then exploding out the exhausts once you hit 4,000rpm.
The scenery is harshly stunning, and it's so hot even palm trees seem to have internally combusted. Sadly, the horizon is always slightly smog-smeared, like you're viewing it all through a TV screen marked with greasy fingerprints.

The photographer is alarmingly excited about our next stop, Slab City. Touted as the Last Free Place in America, it's a collection of concrete slabs left behind after a World War II military base was packed up. The land was given to the education department, which wasn't game to build schools on seriously contaminated land. It's now occupied by the kind of trailer-parking survivalists who aren't bothered by such niceties, and a man described by some as America's greatest folk artist, 79-year-old Leonard Knight, who has been building an installation called Salvation Mountain here since 1983.

Knight had spent the 15 years before making a hot-air balloon 200ft tall, which, unbelievably, wouldn't fly. It had his favoured phrase, God Is Love, painted on it, and he was trying to get it to defy gravity near Slab City when his car broke down and he hit on a new idea. The resulting structure looks like what might have happened if Salvador Dal� had really lost it. His mountain is constructed of an estimated 165,000 wheelbarrows of adobe, painted with 220,000 gallons of paint. I don't want to speculate about how strong the thinners were.

With the Lambo mugging for the camera amid the madness, I ponder its own unique, angular art. It's a fierce thing from every angle, despite its bonnet stripes looking like a Gothic tramp-stamp tattoo. The chin is pure Stormtrooper and from within the cabin it's a collection of fabulous sight lines - a huge carbon wing behind you, gaping air vents in each wing mirror and carbon fibre from door to door.
It looks like a supercar should, but the truth is it's nicer to look at it than it is to drive on 95 per cent of roads. If you're the sort of person who wants to take a convertible on a race track, Lamborghini has created the perfect car for you, and it's just �186,000. But if you ever want to drive your supercar on public roads, or without installing expansion joints in your spine, buy the normal Gallardo Spyder. It's fabulous.

We end the day parked on the shores of what could be an Italian lake, with looming huge mountains making shadow puppets on the water. It's called the Salton Sea and it looks superb, but, due to a small sulphur-poisoning problem, it smells like the devil's outhouse.
We're happily leaving the rotting fish and peaky pelicans behind, when I see something big, fat, blue and fast filling my mirrors. Typical, you wait all year for a convertible supercar, and two come along at once...

Sponsored By : CHAUDHRI ELECTRODE ENGINEERING. AL-MUQIT STEELS. Q.A.M INTERNATIONAL. Manufacturing : welding electrodes, steel wirerope, wirerope, pvc cables, all sort of metal and hard ware tools.
Also trading in generators. load banks and all sort of metal.
Dealing in Real Estate (Turkey.Pakistan.Malaysia.Dubai)
For Contact: Cell # +9(0531)9204077
Location :Istanbul /Lahore                


No comments:

Post a Comment