Wheelsmag drives the Lambo Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder

Retract the roof on any convertible and you immediately open a forum for robust opinions, usually sharply contrasting. Clearly one person's ticket to gently tousled hair and the heady notes of spring air is, for another, a one-way pass to sunburn, diesel fumigation, the shimmy of scuttle shake and cries of "wanker alert!"

So where do you sit with regard to Lamborghini's new LP560-4 Spyder?

While you decide, it's preening itself in the sunshine not giving a toss. Somehow, through its exclusivity, wedgy visual impact and ceiling-scraping price tag, it manages to mostly defy conventional open-topped assessment.

The fact is, no-one needs a $455,000 Lamborghini coupe, so it stands to reason that a convertible version, now crossing the half-million-dollar threshold ($502K plus options) should be an extravagant irrelevance to rival, um, a private jet for car-company executives. Okay, bad analogy.

Yet Stephan Winkelmann, dashing, debonair Lamborghini CEO, (who swears he doesn't own a private jet, by the way) confidently predicts that the ratio of convertibles to coupes will be 60/40 in the first year, exceeding that of the previous-generation Gallardo variants.

So clearly plenty of Lambo customers - those who've ducked the credit crisis, at least - see powerful appeal in the convertible option. And having experienced the car on the sinuous, sensational roads in the Canary Islands at the international launch, it's not hard to see why. Actually, make that hear why. The new 5.2-litre direct-injection V10 is an engine with a seemingly endless vocal repertoire, and removal of the roof slots you straight into the mosh pit for a searing, sometimes savage aural assault. 

There's little evidence that the roof removal results in a loss of rigidity. The steering, as in the coupe, is meaty, deliciously direct, and full of feel. Grip levels, especially on the optional P Zero Corsa tyres, are huge. It takes a committed attack to find a nudge of understeer on the way in, and a determined right foot to neutralise it, via the rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, on the way out.

Cabin turbulence is calmed via the small glass rear screen, allowing conversation up to around 140km/h. Beyond that it starts to get a little gusty, although we did we see 240km/h without loss of caps, sunglasses or hair follicles. Top speed is a claimed 324km/h, but personally, I'd suggest raising the roof (in a mere 20 seconds) at oh, 320 or so.

Does anyone really care, though? Surely it's as superfluous to a potential Gallardo Spyder buyer as the 0-100km/h time (okay, a claimed 4.0 seconds since you asked.) For those with the means, ownership is a statement of arrival; a wave of the wealth flag. And what better way to improve that flag's visibility than through the open roof of a car as extroverted, intoxicating and accomplished as this?

No Bull, just the facts
Engine: 5.2-litre V10, 40v, dohc
Power: 412kW @ 8000rpm
Torque: 540kW @ 6500rpm
Weight: 1550kg (dry, claimed)
0-100km/h 4.0sec (claimed)
Top speed: 324km/h
Price: $502,000

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