Nothing is scarier than being stuck at a stoplight in a $225,000 2012 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder. I drive a six-speed manual because I like the feel of driving the car instead of it driving me. So switching to Gallardo’s shift paddles wasn’t an issue. Switch to sports mode for a little bit louder engine, or corsa mode for a hot rod sound that lets people know you have a car under you. Touch the gas and punch the levers and you’re at 60 mph in four seconds. Drivers around you gawk or want to race.
Lamborghini offered me a half-hour test drive in the new Spyder as part of the grand opening of Lamborghini Las Vegas, the new 2,600-square-foot showroom in Henderson. The showroom also features the Aventador LP 700-4, the brand’s new V12 flagship vehicle, which boasts 700 hp and a top speed of 217 mph.
I was happy with my bull. The 95 North had a massive speed trap, so I cruised along the 215 in busy traffic. I let the engine open up on the on ramps while I let traffic slide ahead to give me room to hit the gas. I only got the car up to 90 mph.
Then came the long stoplight. The car dropped into neutral, and I couldn’t remember how to get the car back in gear. I hit every button in the car in every combination I could think of to get the car going. I sat through a green light. I kept punching levers and buttons. A car pulled up behind me and I still couldn’t figure out how to get it in gear. The light turned green again. I was having flashbacks to learning how to drive a stick the first time so many years ago. I waved them around.
Perhaps more embarrassing than sitting in such an expensive car punching every button in the car to figure out how to get out of neutral was Valentino Balboni getting out of the car behind me to help. “I’m Valentino. I’m with Lamborghini.” A swift flick of the lever, a foot on the brake and I was back in business.
Balboni, for non-Lamborghini aficionados, is the former chief test driver for the auto maker and probably drove 80 percent of the Lambos on the road and he was in town for the grand opening. A dapper man, a knight who came to the rescue and never made me feel like a silly girl who thought she knew more about cars than she did.
The car purred back to life and I was safely back to the dealership with nary a nick to my driving record.
Drive this car. Add it to your bucket list. And make sure you get all the directions for driving it before venturing out on your own.
Lamborghini Las Vegas, 7740 Eastgate Road, Henderson; 702-982-4600