The flow of the lines, regardless of whether the top is up or down, clearly demonstrates that the Spyder is a fully self-contained model within the Gallardo range. Compared with the Coupe, the open top version comes across as just a little more radical; its shoulders have been raised slightly in order to make room for the soft top.
The fully-lined fabric top - available in black, blue, grey and beige - is operated via two switches located on the centre console. They set in motion a choreography that is over in just 20 seconds. One hydraulic pump, six hydraulic cylinders, one electric motor and two electric actuators work together to perform this technical ballet.
When the soft top opens, the rear windscreen disengages first, sliding downwards to avoid obstructing the remainder of the process. Four cylinders slightly raise the rear-hinged engine cover, before the hood folds gracefully into a stowage compartment located in front of the engine bay. Finally, the large engine cover made from a lightweight carbon-fibre composite closes once more and the rear windscreen returns to its original position to function as a wind deflector. A switch mounted on the dashboard will stow the rear windscreen if preferred - even when the top is closed.
Whether open or closed, the Gallardo Spyder's soft top is designed for unrestricted high speeds. In order to ensure maximum safety, Lamborghini engineers have integrated two spring-loaded rollover bars behind the seats. Controlled by a sensor, they deploy in only 250 milliseconds should a potential roll-over situation arise. The seat belt tensioners spring into action at the same time.
Weight is undesirable in a sports car and lightweight design is good for dynamics. Aluminium is much lighter that steel - which is why the bodyshell of the Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder has an aluminium structure that is more lightweight, yet stiffer. With its lighter engine, the two-seater boasts a dry weight of only 3417.2 Ibs (1,550 kg) - 44 pounds (20 kg) less than its predecessor.
The design of the Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder utilises the 'spaceframe construction method'. Cast aluminium nodes and extruded profiles form its frame, with integrated friction-locked and form-fitted aluminium panels creating the bodyshell. The bodyshell is not only extremely light, but also displays exceptional torsional stiffness and safety characteristics, thus forming the basis for the extraordinary handling characteristics of the LP 560-4. The aerodynamic underbody panel is also integrated into the overall design for structural stiffness. The Spyder incorporates specially-developed additional stiffness elements within the spaceframe to compensate for the absence of a fixed roof.
The bodyshell also incorporates the highest levels of passive safety. The Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder even fulfills European directives for pedestrian protection that are not yet mandatory. Furthermore, the geometry of the entire front end of the car has been optimized, with a special combination of materials behind the front bumper that serve to absorb impact forces.Published 21 November 2008