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.
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