By Nigel Wigmore
It was the ultimate boy’s toy – a superfast, super-expensive supercar. The 2009 Lamborghini Spyder’s throaty roar could be heard streets away and its good looks turned heads everywhere.
Indeed, my favourite comment as I cruised around Oxfordshire in the 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 Spyder was from a boy of about 14 who, passing on his chopper bike cast wise, young eyes over the car and said: “Sick!”
Apparently, in kid-speak this is the ultimate compliment for this ultimate boy’s toy. In the same way that if something is said to be bad, it is actually good, the Lamborghini Spyder being real bad.
When you drive a supercar you become a sort of superhero. Every driver of a beautiful car is deluded, rather like a man with a supermodel on his arm. The looks are for the model not the man, the car not the driver. However, humans are good on reflected glory and most of us would relish the attention a supercar brings.
My weekend with the £150,000 Lamborghini Spyder started well. The car was delivered by two men one of whom arrived in a black Porsche 911 Cabriolet. Any other weekend (and with a Lambo nowhere to be seen) I would have plumped for the Porsche.
But this Lamborghini was far sexier than the Porsche. Seeing these two cars alongside one another on the road outside my home, you could see the chasm between German efficiency and Italian flair.
While Germans make cars that are super-efficient, the Italians make them super-sexy. The Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 Spyder was no exception. While the Porsche has muted brutal power, the Lamborghini is ready to get down and have some fast fun.
While the Porsche was in smart black with pristine alloys, the Lamborghini wasn’t even in colour: it was turned out in a monotone of white with decadent black wheels.
Enough with the comparisons, the Lambo was just waiting to be driven. And drive it I did. You cannot sit behind the wheel of such a car and not want to drive it – fast, maybe not in town, where the fallback situation is posing. (By weekend’s end, I was all posed out. I went to bed a tired but happy man, like a little boy who has spent the weekend riding his first bicycle.)
A brief word about my “co-driver” Richard. I like to feel we get on. I like to feel he made the trip to visit me at the weekend for my conversation and wit. But we spent an awful lot of time in the Lamborghini and he took an awful lot of pictures. And he even made a mini-movie that ended up on Facebook.
However, he did add his own word to the bulging lexicon of superlatives used to describe practically any Lamborghini: though the one that springs to mind because of the frequency of its use was that old standby “awesome”.
Anyway, Richard and I (me driving because the gods would not allow anyone other than your mature motoring correspondent behind the wheel) took the car on a road test around Oxfordshire.
I suppose only footballers and other people with ready cash buy Lamborghinis and I hope when they do so they look after them.
This car was, after all, an awesome responsibility. Our first encounter was not good: it was with what must be the supercar owner’s ultimate nightmare – stone chippings.
The highways authority had in its wisdom decided to lay chippings on certain roads. How inconsiderate for we suddenly ran into chippings like a hailstorm from below.
I slowed down to 20mph and prayed that the paintwork would see off the sharp little beasts. To compound our agony, lesser cars cruised through the sea of stones with complete disregard for well, drivers of expensive supercars.
But then it was on to the business end of the Lambo. Going up a stretch of dual carriageway at speed, the car really came into its own. Its roaring through the gears was feline and fabulous. You got an added blip of a throaty roar from the engine as you changed down that sounded suspiciously built in, like you used to get in sports cars when double de-clutching.
Just to give you an idea of this car’s immense power: this Lamborghini had a 5-litre V10 engine, producing 552bhp. Its top speed capability just tipped 200mph and it went from 0-62mph in four seconds. A Mini Cooper S, which is a mean little mover itself has about a third of the power.
The gear changing was rapid because of the paddles either side of the steering wheel. These are derived from racing cars and take a bit of getting used to. You change up through the gears with the right paddle and down again with the left paddle. This makes for fast gear changes and was brilliant when you became used to it.
It was more in keeping with the console action of games-players, so would come easier I think for a younger generation. There was also a button to press that put the car in sport mode. Yes, it goes faster and sounds even better when you pressed this button. We drove a lot in sport mode.
In a weekend, you probably don’t worry too much about fuel consumption. Who cares? But at around eight miles to the gallon around town and 20 on a run (don’t want to know what it was in sport mode) you not only have to have some serious money to buy a Lamborghini, you have to have more than loose change to run it.
Anyway, the final part of the test was a trip to Oxford. This was a more crucial test inasmuch as my new passenger was my wife. She is not a fan of low-slung, uncomfortable, big-engined sports cars as I am. But she did like the Lambo chiefly I think because it got her to the shops quicker. And she actually liked going a bit fast in the supercar when we had a bit of a joust with a couple of colourful Toyota Supras on the way to Oxford. The car was greeted with enthusiasm too by lots of people at the park and ride where we left it and travelled the rest of the way into the city by bus. (Not much of a boot, by the way, on the Lambo for those who indulge in retail therapy. It was about the size of a small suitcase.)
There is no question if I was a superstar footballer and trousering £300,000-plus a week, I would buy myself several Lamborghini Spyders. They would join my fantasy garage that would comprise cars including a 1950s Bentley Continental, a Ferrari Dino, and an Alfa Romeo like the one Dustin Hoffman drove in The Graduate.
For the rest of the time, ordinary mortals such as myself, who would like to grow old taking a thoroughbred such as this Lambo for a spin, can but dream.