2014 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder

The Spyder is convertible version of the Gallardo LP560-4, Lamborghini's entry-level offering and best-selling vehicle ever. Don't let its "base model" status fool you, though - the Gallardo is still a full-blown supercar with a sonorous V10, precise handling and double-take-inducing looks.

Lamborghini gave the Spyder a facelift for the most recent model year, updating the front end with a more aggressive look that incorporates trapezoidal and triangular air intakes. The geometric theme is continued at the rear, which also features restyled taillights. Nineteen-inch " Apollo polished" alloy wheels round out the exterior revisions.

The beating heart of the Spyder continues to be a 5.2-liter 10-cylinder that pumps out a fiery 552 horsepower at 8,000 rpm and 398 ft-lbs of torque at 6,500 rpm. That's enough power to hit 62 mph in a scant four seconds, and the sprint to twice that speed -- 124 mph -- takes just 13.1 seconds. Aiding in the Gallardo's acceleration is an all-wheel-drive system that provides optimal traction and also helps make handling more neutral.

A gated six-speed manual transmission is available for purists, while those looking for the convenience of clutchless shifting in their sports car can opt for a six-speed E-gear transmission (that's Lamborghini-speak for a six-speed single-clutch automated manual).

The E-gear transmission was recently completely redesigned, resulting in a reduction in gear change times by 40 percent. The driver can also now choose between five different driving and changing programs. The most performance-oriented "CORSA" setting not only affects shift speed -- it also directs the engine for maximum acceleration. The 'Thrust Mode' ensures maximum acceleration from neutral while the angle of the throttle valve and the clutch are optimized.

Fuel economy - hardly a priority in this class - is rated at 13/20 with the E-gear and 12/20 with the manual gearbox.

Wondering about the confusing alphanumeric portion of the Spyder's name? "LP" denotes the longitudinal position of the engine, "560" reflects its European horsepower rating, and the "4" designation indicates all-wheel-drive.

The Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder fulfills the not yet obligatory European pedestrian safety regulations, without compromising the look of the car.

Naturally, Lamborghini paid just as much attention to the safety of its occupants as it did to pedestrians. The Spyder features twin spring-loaded rollover bars that deploy within 250 milliseconds in a rollover situation -- simultaneously activating the seatbelt tensioners for optimal occupant safety.

An optional carbon-ceramic-disc braking system makes use of eight-piston Brembo calipers up front, and four-piston calipers at he rear. Rotor size is 14.4 inches at the front and 14 inches at the rear.

Bi-Xenon headlights provide plenty of illumination at night, while LED daytime running lights give the car a more aggressive and high-tech look.

Key Competitors
The wind in your hair, a powerful engine serenading you with an exotic rumble, envious looks from passerby...besides the Gallardo Spyder, the only vehicles capable of delivering this experience are the Ferrari 458 Spider, the Aston Martin DBS Volante and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster.