Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lamborghini Test Drive

Mohan and I were lucky enough to go along with Viv to a special open house that the Lamborghini dealership in Chicago was having. She got the invite from a friend who has many fast cars.

Sitting in a Lamborghini, that too a Gallardo Spyder for the first time (in the showroom).

The dealership looks very swanky and it's got two floors of exotic cars; all new Lamborghinis on the main floor and then an assortment of used exotics on the second floor. After sitting in a few cars and taking some pictures, which we thought was the main point of this open house, a salesman came up and started chatting us up. Trying to sound like a potential customer, I asked him about maintenance costs and things like ground clearance for Chicago's roads, etc. And then he asked if we had ever driven a Lamborghini. I figured this is where the truth would come out and he would now know that we were just mere plebeians. But he was a real nice guy, young too at 23 and just asked to make a copy of our driver's licenses and then we could be off on a test drive. Viv and I couldn't believe our luck. Here I was after dreaming about Lamborghinis and other exotic cars since my adolescent years, finally getting the chance to drive a real supercar, that too a convertible! I seriously thought it was too good to be true. I figured the general manager would pipe in saying something like we weren't really potential customers, etc. But I figured since they have a demo car, what harm could it be. Plus, I'm sure the demographics of potential customers has changed in the recent years. For all he knew, we could be new aspiring musicians with a big fat record deal or something. Anyways, I was beyond thrilled at this point.

I asked if he could get a manual car for the test drive, but the only car available was fitted with their E-gear, an automatic manual gearbox, with paddle shifters. The salesman was trying to impress right away and banged the gears up for a quick 0-60 time in a 30 mph zone. That signaled to me that this test drive was going to be fun. We got on the highway and he quickly got it to past a 100 mph. Wanting to show the car's handling ability, we exited and got on a narrow, twisty forest preserve road where the speed limit was 25 mph. Not having any regard for the speed limit, he was going about triple the limit and drove pretty good. There were no driveways on that road, so no worries.

Then it was my turn. Oh my god. It was only 32 F, but the sun was shining brightly and I asked if we could put the top down with the windows up, to let more of the engine's growl come through. Being cool, he said this would be his first convertible ride of the season. He explained how to get the car in neutral (pull back both levers), how to upshift (right lever) and down shift (left lever). Blipping the throttle ever so slightly was felt right in my heart. It was similar to standing next to those huge speakers at a club where you can feel the bass pump throughout your body. That throaty 500 horsepower V-10 just a few inches behind me. Oh, I was in heaven. I quickly got it up to third and was immediately very comfortable with the car. It's very easy to drive fast (not referring to straight line), cause the 4WD and handling was very precise. I slammed on the brakes once from 80 mph and it didn't even quiver or shake, it just simply reduced speed with no fuss. I exclaimed aloud to myself a few times that this was just pure sex!

The demo car was fitted with ceramic brakes, I think a $10,000 option or something, but mainly meant for the track. Not really practical for street driving, since they need a high temperature to operate efficiently, like on a track. So the brakes were a bit grabby and the E-gear was also quite notchy. It was quite tough to be smooth during shifts, but I appreciated the speed of the shifts; definitely much quicker than a manual gearbox.

On the highway, trying to change lanes to the right involved quite a few extended stretches of the neck to ensure the lane was clear. Having a co-pilot definitely helped in that regard. The steering is quite heavy, needed for the stability of so much power, which makes quick lane changes not so easy. Also, the turning radius is really huge, probably because the big wheels would be scrapping the wheel wells.

The salesman said he was quite impressed with my driving. He said I was driving the car the way it's meant to be driven. And he pointed out how I was keeping the revs up, in the fun zone, through the turns. I told him I rode sportbikes and had been to the track a few times and he said I was driving the car like a bike, keeping the revs up. Hehe.

I definitely see why see these cars are worth so much money. Of course, it's an indulgence, but hey, you live only once!

My favorite Lamborghini, the Diablo. She was sitting outside, collecting dust :(

Classic Supercar looks

Imagine this thing going 200 mph!

A new color for the Gallardo.

A bunch of used exotic cars awaiting new owners.

A few Gallardos, a Porsche 997, an Astone Martin Vantage.

Look at those sexy behinds!

If you're wondering what the Diablo badge looks like.

Viv in the Gallardo Spyder in the showroom.

Sitting in a Ferrari F355 Spyder. I've always loved this car's looks.

Mohan with a blood red Diablo.

A Diablo in all her glory. Scissor doors will always be cool.

With my next ride...
We figured out the best way to enter and exit a car with scissor doors; there's a proper technique.

Viv coming back from her test drive of a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.

Coming back from my test drive of this sexy Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. Amazing machine. He said he had a used one for only $129,000... Not bad, let me check my finances :)

It was awesome to see why people have always raved on so much about supercars and why they're so great. To experience it first hand was a big moment. I'm happy.

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