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Ferrari California vs. Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder

Ferrari California

Ferrari California

- £152,116

There is something magical about seeing a Ferrari in the flesh on the roads of Britain. On a motorway that's made up of black and silver saloons, streets that are made up of garish Vauxhall Corsa's and country roads that are filled with bikers, when a Ferrari rolls by you can't help but stare, and that's because they are just so damn cool.

You know that no matter what model of Ferrari you just saw it'll be the fastest thing you'll see all day and the person driving it is the richest person you'll see all day. Everything is big numbers with a Ferrari and that's their appeal. The Ferrari California, the baby Ferrari, is a little different though.

Sure it has four nice big fat exhausts at the rear, a very low profile and a long snooping bonnet to accommodate the large 4.3-litre V8 engine, but reviews across the internet say that this isn't a real supercar. In fact, people say it's too soft.

On paper that's hard to believe. The latest Ferrari California for 2013 packs a whole 490 horsepower and 372 lb /ft of torque which is more than 98% of the cars you'll see next week. The seven speed dual-clutch gearbox feeds power to the rear wheels and with the 2013 model being 66 lbs lighter than the 2012 model, it's a nimbler machine also.

Since being introduced by Ferrari in 2008, the design of the California has remained consistent. It's the smallest Ferrari money can buy and it's also in my opinion one of the best looking. LED headlights, a front bonnet scoop and large intake grill make for an aggressive front end whilst the side profile looks like a proper GT car; low, balanced and powerful. The rear is the subject to much opinion, yet with its four exhausts mounted by two at either side, it's very different to any other supercar on the roads today. I think that's a good thing.

On the road, the V8 fires in to life and the 2013 California hits 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds before topping out at 193 mph. It's a very fast car the Ferrari California but because its engine is not mounted in the middle, it's not a track car. This is a GT car. For that reason, buyers should sit back and relax whilst the automatic gearbox and big V8 engine work together to catapult you to the next city in your travels. By contrast, its closest priced competitor the Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder is a hard machine that'll give you a very sore bum. If you value comfort and style, the California is a great car.

Lamborghini Gallardo

Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder

- £153,360

I have buttocks of steel, so please forgive me whilst I take this Lamborghini for a spin and leave the Ferrari California begging to be driven.

The Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder is a car for those who care nothing for comfort, their bank balance or anything else. It'll show a clean pair of heels to the Ferrari California and draw more heads around town too.

On the Lamborghini website, it refers to the LP550-2 as the purest form of maximum open-air driving fun. I can vouch for that.

With 550 horsepower developed @ 8,000 RPM and 397 lb /ft of torque available @ 6,500 RPM, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 is a car that wants to revved and driven by the scruff of its neck. It'll go from 0 - 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and go on to a top speed of 199 mph. Out on the track, the huge engine sucks in air and powers forward with a surge the Ferrari California simply cannot match. Out on the road, the sound the Lamborghini makes is astonishing. It was Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear that said go above 2,500 RPM in a Gallardo and you'll get a bark from the engine. Trust me when I say that's 100% true.

Then there's the transmission. It's a rear wheel drive monster with a 6-speed manual gearbox, not a boring semi automatic like in the Ferrari California. For those of you who can handle a lot of power and like the feeling of changing gear themselves, the LP550-2 Spyder is for you.

Stop for a moment, lower the roof and the Gallardo transforms from a racing car in to a GT car. You can enjoy cruising at 60 mph and should the moment take you, plant your foot and reach 100mph in a time of around 3 seconds.

To buy a Lamborghini Gallardo you have to be very rich. Fuel will be your biggest cost, after the £150k payment of course. The LP550-2 returns a combined consumption of just 16mpg. And that's by changing gear early.

To enjoy the Gallardo for what it is then you have to not care for money or the planet.

Good job I fit that criteria.

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