Lamborghini has come a long way since Audi took over the once-ailing Italian supercar manufacturer. It's been in and out of bankruptcy more times than Gordon Ramsay's cooked hot dinners, finding itself vulnerable when economic crises have hit worldwide.
Audi's first job beyond improving quality of the notoriously fragile cars was to broaden the appeal of Lamborghini, to get a bigger range together. The Gallardo was the result - smaller than the company's usual fare, their equivalent of an entry-level supermini, even if it is hideously unaffordable to all but the richest of us.
The biggest achievement with the Gallardo has been the Audi-like levels of quality inside and outside. Suddenly a Lamborghini feels like a much more solid proposition, a meaty car that's well put together. You can excuse the Audi switchgear inside the cabin because you know that they won't come off in your hand.
Buyers are going to buy the Gallardo for different reasons - its looks are stunning enough to stop people in their tracks and have them pointing, which is one selling point. The driving experience is absolutely stunning, which will be another selling point. The whole thing is assured and confidence inspiring.
Different to the Ferrari, the Gallardo comes with four-wheel drive - not to help you off-road, but to ensure prodigious levels of grip. The ride is reasonable, telling you enough about what is going on outside without making you uncomfortable. It is easy once you're inside to make yourself comfortable behind the wheel too.
There is just the one engine available with the Gallardo - a wailing mid-mounted V10. Unfortunately there's no option on the sat-nav to select a route that goes through a tunnel, because you'll want to drive through one with the windows down to enjoy that glorious engine. It can drown out the Gallardo's sound system, but when an engine is as good as this you probably won't listen to the radio much anyway.
Aside from the woeful lack of practicality - two seats only, no real room for luggage and NASA levels of running costs - the only thing that we really disliked about the Gallardo was the fussy e-gear automatic transmission: best to go with the manual we think. The Gallardo isn't necessarily the best in its class, but the thing with these cars is that you don't really buy them on merit - these are heart purchases.