When thinking of history’s greatest rivalries, a few names come to mind: Michigan vs. Ohio State, Ali vs. Frazier, Palmer vs. Nicklaus. But a matchup equally as impressive and often times overlooked is Ferrari vs. Lamborghini. Once again, the two supercar companies have upped the ante in 2009 with the lightning quick and exquisitely engineered Ferrari F430 Spider and Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder. Both are high-performance athletes whose standards of precision, performance, and spontaneous action are matched only by their extraordinary figure.
The design of the Ferrari F430 Spider can be described as breathtakingly elegant. Its strong personality and muscular stance both hint at its powerful engineering and blistering performance.
The latest in Ferrari’s long line of V8-engined convertible sports cars, the F430 Spider offers a unique combination of extreme performance and open-air motoring. Equipped with an F1 automated manual transmission and with the same competition-inspired 4.3-liter flat crank power unit as the F430 coupe, the Spider tops out at a speed of 193 mph with blazing fast acceleration, covering the zero to 60 mph sprint in just 3.9 seconds. The Ferrari integrates F1-racing technology into its powertrain, suspension, chassis, and body aerodynamics to bring racing performance to the road. Significant improvements have also been made in the chassis department. A 10 percent increase in torsional rigidity and a five percent improvement in beam strength over the 360 Spider have led to improved handling and road holding.
Also entering the ring is the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder (the Gallardo LP 560-4 was introduced in 2008; this is the convertible version). This extreme machine rocks an aluminum 5.2L V-10 beast of an engine capable of packing a 552-horsepower punch. Accelerating from 0-62 mph in 4.0 seconds to a top speed of 201 mph, the LP 560-4 Spyder falls nothing short of its competition. The car’s agility has also been greatly refined with a new, optional E-Gear auto clutch manual six-speed transmission, which allows increased shift times by 40 percent (Corsa Mode), combined with an all-new chassis, suspension, and Lamborghini’s permanent all-wheel drive system. Despite increased performance, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions have been reduced by 18 percent, quite the technological feat.
The design of the Ferrari F430 Spider can be described as breathtakingly elegant. Its strong personality and muscular stance both hint at its powerful engineering and blistering performance. The Spider’s nose is characterized by two distinctive elliptical intakes that channel air into the dimensioned radiators to cool the engine. The intakes are linked at their lower edge by a spoiler that directs air towards the car’s flat underbody. The Spider’s stacked headlights are extremely compact thanks to the use of Bi-xenon technology. When the lights are on, the unique shape of the side-light, which is incorporated into the outer edge of the headlight, makes the car easily distinguishable at night. The Spider is the only mid-rear-engined convertible to have a compact, fully automatic electric top that allows the engine to be seen at all times. The roof system is designed to take up very little space and can fully open and close in 20 seconds from start to finish.
The F430 Spider’s interior is innovative and sporty. The instruments are housed in a new binnacle, which groups all of the major controls around the driver. The interior reflects the advanced technology and materials employed in the car’s construction, and features new inserts on the dash, which can be personalized in carbon or aluminum. The cockpit is noticeably larger and passenger comfort is subsequently improved thanks to a slimmer central tunnel.
The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder’s design is aggressively exotic with sharp edges. The LP 560-4 is a stealth bomber on wheels. The redesigned front end lends the supercar a firm, low stance that also contributes to its aerodynamic efficiency. The enlarged and clearly accentuated air intakes increase the airflow while the spoiler, positioned low between the air intakes, improves aerodynamic stability at high speeds. New headlights have characteristic daytime running lights integrated beneath the Bi-xenon lamps. Fifteen LEDs are arranged in a Y form, with the same pattern repeating in the rear taillights, a signature feature of contemporary Lamborghini models. The one-touch power soft-top nestles into a binnacle atop the front part of the engine and is completely covered when the rear deck lowers itself back over it. The top’s up-and-down shtick takes about 20 seconds either direction. A glass rear window can be raised or lowered independent of the top. Not only does this serve very effectively in blocking the wind, but you can drive with the top up and the rear window down, in order to enjoy a smidgen of fresh air and mute the high revving 10-cylinder noisemaker that sits just aft of your right ear.
Despite its low exterior height, the Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder welcomes passengers with a spacious interior. The sports seats are upholstered in either fine leather or Alcantara and provide firm hold and support. The wide middle console is an element that is sporty yet dynamic. It accommodates the standard Lamborghini audio and multimedia system, as well as the dual-zone climate control. Seven instrument dials boasting new graphics provide the driver with essential engine data, while a multi-functional display between the speedometer and rev-counter dishes out important information from the on-board computer.