January 10, 2005 By Kevin C. Limjoco

Lamborghini Gallardo / Porsche 911 GT2

From dump trucks to sportscars, who knew that a local garbage collector could own two of the most vicious vehicle in the country. What these two supercars have in common besides ability is the same owner. I would usually say, ‘what a lucky son-of-squid!’ But not this time, this time the situation is very different, indeed. These cars weren’t purchased from striking oil, old money, or the lottery, these cars were earned the good old fashion way: hard work and determination. No, I’m not going to give you a lecture, but I will impart the feeling that it was refreshing to see a true success story. I wasn’t kidding about the waste management, these mechanical beauties, Lamborghini Gallardo and Porsche 911 GT2, were paid for by the man that picks up your garbage! Makes you think, doesn’t it!?

And you thought the Philippines wouldn’t be a haven for exotic supercars! You would be surprised to know that we actually have a very large number of exotics hidden in garages all over the archipelago. Actually, you probably know that already, you may be one of those shy owners. I wish I could say it’s only because our roads are inappropriate for these cars that they aren’t driven as often, with all the irregularities and death defying pedestrians. Unfortunately, it’s because there is a social responsibility to not show off this cars to the less fortunate. Moreover, a lot of these exotics are owned by men who buy them more for the bragging rights than the thrill of driving them. And worse, there are some that still have no legal reason for having this cars at all. Thankfully there are guys like the Samaritan, as I like to call him, who do drive the cars as intended, and we at EVO  say bless the man! I call him the Samaritan because he does a job that I would never want to do but am glad that somebody does it, so if he wants more money, heck, pay the man. Are you going to take your trash to the dump?!

When asked which his preference is, the Samaritan would quickly say the Porsche 911 GT2, he reckons it’s the very best car he has ever owned and driven. He actually owned a silver 2002 GT2 previously but a friend begged him to sell it, lucky that. Since his new Moby has the revised trim and power pack. The owner feels the Porsche can blend in the crowd more easily, especially if no one knows the difference, except the knowledge that  it is still a

Porsche nonetheless. Nice to be able to make that choice, huh dear readers?! I beg to differ; I would choose the Lamborghini Gallardo! His argument is that the Gallardo, though incredibly beautiful, is simply too hot for people’s eyes and to low to be driven in the city, which is a considerable limiting factor. But these cars weren’t made to be driven in the city, they’re meant to carve country roads and join fun club track days. Pity that even if one have the means, and earned it well, that there other governing forces involved that prevents one from enjoying oneself. Still, if I had to choose, it would be the Gallardo.

I’m thinking, if these cars really don’t see too many miles in a year, the Gallardo could easily sit in the middle of the living room and be enjoyed like a Rembrandt. You will be seeing more of these cars and a whole lot more now that EVO Philippines is here. Since only a small percentage of enthusiasts can really afford to own such cars, allow me to reinforce that we enthusiasts must still be allowed to dream and persevere. It is inexpensive to dream and experience the thrill and joy of driving through the pages of EVO, and if you can’t afford it now, with hard work and a clear conscience, you will find yourself driving your dream car that need not to be exotic, but still a dream fulfilled. So look at these cars with awe, as we have, and be glad that they are in the Philippines for they are tangible examples that dreams do indeed come true, even for men in waste management! Now, even Tony Soprano has neither of the two! This is just the beginning!

 

 

Porsche 911 GT2

Why is the Porsche 911 GT2 such a big deal? It embodies everything great in a 911, and so much more. It has purity in form and function. It’s a warrior whose reputation is not only legendary but real. It handily offers its arsenal as the lady in the lake offers King Arthur the Excalibur. You know full well before sitting in the ultra supportive 4-point seat belt Recaro seats that you have all the weaponry at your disposal to decimate every car on the road and track without fear of failure; success is imminent you just have to turn the ignition. In a way the new GT2 is too capable. It would rather drive without you messing things up; unlike the 993 GT2 which was incredibly brutal and required that the driver was an accomplished pilot with thousands of high speed track hours to confidently control its techno-unassisted 430 bhp! The old 993 GT2 kept you on your toes like a fighter pilot with enemies looming in the clouds. One misjudgement on a country road and you will instantly yourself deep in a rice paddy wondering where you went wrong. I enjoy that challenge. The old GT 2 required more than money as a prerequisite to ownership, which make the model range all the more coveted as it is meant for real drivers and not posers.

With the reputation of its predecessor lingering like a bully that just won’t quit, the new 996 GT2 has tremendous pressure coming from all sides, ironically the sides all originate from Stuttgart. Whereas the Lamborghini Gallardo must overcome its main nemesis Ferrari, Porsche is in a league all on its own, it competes with itself. The 993 GT2 had to prevail against the 959 and the 911 Turbo S during its time. You can drive an old vintage ‘60s 911 and still enjoy the experience of the unique characteristics and performance of a Porsche. A Porsche is meant to last practically forever, and you sense that, if not know it by reputation. Rarely do you see Italian supercars, exception being the Pagani Zonda S I drove in Modena which had over 110 thousand kilometres on the odometer, with high mileage and still being driven hard with resolve. The more you drive a Porsche the less maintenance is required, it needs to be driven. I have a buddy who owns a 1983 911 SC with less than 10,000 miles in San Francisco, and almost every year it has to go in the shop for heavy work because it is rarely driven. Pre-1192 Italian sports cars have the resounding reputation, on the other hand, of just being a royal pain in the ass with mysterious problems occurring sporadically, whether the cars are driven or not.

Similar to the venerable 959, the 993 GT2 and the new 996 GT2 are built in very limited numbers, further making these cars extremely special. Specially, the 959 actually had more than the claimed 200 production units; more than 30 additional units were built to fulfil the request of very important customers. The 993 GT2 actually had a more exclusive production run, only a relative handful were built for homologation purposes, just 2002 in all, 50 having been road cars of which a mere 7 were right-hand drive—and 2 of them, by the way, are in the Philippines. However, the 993 GT2 story was not quite over, as in April 1998, Porsche introduced an Evolution version that was available by very special request. A further 25 GT2’s were built up to this new Evo spec to homologate an enlarged 3.8-liter, 485bhp engine for the GT2 Evolution race cars. The road-going GT2 Evolutions still used a 3.6-liter motor, but output was again increased, this time to 450bhp at 6000rpm.

Curious how so much has changed with technology, yet still so much has remained relatively the same. After 17 years the 959, for example, is still a force to be reckoned with! The new revised 996 GT2, surely the last of its model range, bridges the gap between the new 911 Turbo S, which now has been re-turned at 444 bhp and 457 lb-ft of torque, and the devastating 604bhp Carrera GT supercar, The revisions include a retuned engine, revisions to the chassis and suspension, and a Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake system (PCCB) with ABS 5.7. Other modifications include new 18-inch GT2 wheels, two new colors, and several new personalization options such as carbon fiber exterior trim, heated front seats, a 6-disc CD changer and Porsche Communication Management technology. The increase in performance has been achived by detailed improvements to the electronic engine management maps, yeilding an increase of 15 lb-ft in maximum torque to 472 lb-ft between 3,500 rpm and 4,500 rpm. The boldly styled, aerodynamically advanced rear wing is available in unpainted carbon fiber upon request. It weighs 6.2 lbs less and is standard on the Club sport version. The door mirror housing and air outputs slats in the front apron panel feature a carbon look as part of the equipment upgrade.

Described as one of the best luxury sport cars ever, the 2005 Porsche 911 GT2 achieves a top speed of 198-mph, and is capable of touching 0 to 100 mph in 8.5 seconds. Standing off from the conventional standards, the 2-door, 2-passenger 911 GT2 features innovative ideas and technology that have distinctly softened the edge from the 993 GT2, which did not come with any stability control nor ceramic brakes. The new GT2 inherited every ounce of acceleration and speed from the old GT2, taking even the most extremely narrow of bends with poise and precision. The GT2 now has dynamic performance without compromising on safety and comfort, which unfortunately makes it reachable to those seeking the status of having the ultimate 911 without the old school risk. But buyers beware, the GT2 is still a purely rear wheel drive monster that cannot supplant physics, regardless of the exceptional quality and technology. It may be vastly easier to drive over a 933 GT2, but 483 bhp is still no laughing matter, it demands respect. The magnificent brakes and tenacious rubber will not stop you from over shooting a tight hairpin into a deep ravine if you have a heavy foot and light ability. Control is the key to speed, and the GT2 has it in spades,however you would still require the skills to master it. I strongly recommended advance sport driving courses before you contemplate buying a supercar, regardless if it’s an all wheel drive wonder like the Gallardo or the awe-inspiring 911 GT2. Only when your abilities are at their best can you truly enjoy these cars to their full potential, anything less is a true disappointment

 

Lamborghini Gallardo

 As incredible as the Porsche 911 GT2 is, it looks plebian and boring when it’s parked next to the signature yellow Lamborghini Gallardo. And when you do sit on the yellow double-stiched black leather bucket seats, in what resembles a jetfighter cockpit and start the now German-tutored Italian mid-engine V10, the GT2 is completely forgotten. The sound grabs you, not reserve like the GT2 at all, deeper, rasry, and peculiar. A v10 actually sounds very different from an 8 and 12 banger engine. Strange, yes, but still oh so wonderful. All of a sudden the unthinkable occurs, the Ferrari 360 Modena has also been forgatten. But after a few minutes behind the wheel things begin to bother me. First, I don’t own it; second, switchgear, audio system and dials are too similar to Audi’s, well actually I could get used to it since I do like Audi and that mean things will actually work; and finally does the clutch really to be a workout?

The finer details will either capture you or throw you if taken individually; however, taken as a whole, the GALLARDO is the very best overall car that Lamborghini has ever produced. Yes, you read right, I’m tossing the whole lot in the bin—the Silhouette, Jalpa, Countach, Diablo, Miura P400, and even the Countach Evoluzione (Evolution) which was constructed in 1987 as a rolling test-bed for new ideas on future cars under the direction of Horacio Pagani, who made the carbon fiber supercar produce 490bhp and a top out at 330km/h. Why such an aggressive stance? Because beauty should still be functional. A Porsche isn’t particularly beautiful but it does perform asphalt miracles in an appealing and functional design.

Lamborghinis have been reputed for many things speed and design are the highlights, but durability and drivability have gone the way of the Dodo. We all remember the hot chicks in the first and the second Cannonball Run movies in the early ’80s driving the gorgeous Countach, which was a head of its time; however, most people never saw beyond the skin and the girls. Maybe these same guys never got past the Alpine stereo posters with the Countach in the background. The cars were very uncomfortable, difficult to modulate, had as many blind spots as an M1 abrams Tank, and were exceptionally difficult to maintain properly.

Blip the throttle and bask in the Gallardo’s cacophonous pleasures You’ll hear a trumpeting sound from it twin Phalanx gun exhaust pipes, while the intake roar yields a different, woody harmonic. Listen to the gentle mechanical whir from the V10 and the faint, polished whine from the gearbox and all wheel drive system. It’s been many years since the last Diablo left the Lamborghini factory, suggesting to many that the Bull had lost its snort and horns until it launched two completely new cars in just as many years.

 

The Gallardo began life on a clear and clean sheet of paper and equally uncluttered computer screens, its mission being to capture exotic-car buyers away from Ferrari, the 360 in particular. The Gallardo was also the shoe-in to fill the void the Murciélago made with its astronomical US$280,000.00 price tag, and to quadruple the company’s worldwide sales as a Volkswagen-owned marque under the patronage of Audi. The Gallardo was designed as a joint project between Italdesign Giugiaro and Lamborghini’s own Luc Donckerwolcke. Audi has been instrumental in more than just financing. They applied their knowledge and expertise in aluminum space-frame chassis construction, all-wheel-drive system, quality mass production, and engine technology. The Gallardo’s powerplant is new from the crankshaft up. Output from all-aluminum, 40V dohc 5.0-liter V-10 is an even 500 bhp @ 7800 rpm. It employs an 18-degree offset crankshaft for even firing, with no balance shaft required. Other tricks include continuously variable timing for intake and exhaust valves, drive-by-wire engine management, dry-sump oiling, and a variable- length induction system. Torque is an impressive 376 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm. Our test unit had the conventional 6-speed gated manual, a sequential gearbox is offered but I’m glad that this unit didn’t have it. The powertrain is mounted low in the chassis, keeping the center of gravity as close to the ground as possible. Actually everything is so close to the ground that I’m starting to agree with the Samaritan that the Gallardo may not be the car it’s cut out to be for the Philippines.

 

After more time behind the wheel, another discovery was revealed to me: the Gallardo is a very heavy car thet needs every horse in that v10 engine. The Gallardo’s torque peak is a high 4500rpm, which means a lot of foot and arm work to get a 0-100 km/h time of 4.3 seconds. The Gallardo is plenty quick but the GT2 is easier to get to speed with more torque produced down low in the tach range. You don’t feel the kick in the chest like the GT2 under hard acceleration. Instead, you get an ultra-smooth, wide and flat torque curve without any hesitation or drama. The Gallardo is beginning to feel more like an Audi as time passes. Very similar to a Ferrari manual is the metal shift gate which looks a lot better that it works. The Porsche GT2  shifts with more authority and ease. The gear lever is a bit long, but ultimately still satisfying when worked quickly under hard driving. The Gallardo’s road demeanor is better that a 360 but not as good as the GT2. It is very planted and surefooted. It understeers more than I would want, clearly a product of the AWD system. The Porsche steers better—wait a minute, if the Porsche keeps beating the Gallardo in so many categories, then why am I still enamored by it over the GT2? It’s got beauty to go along with heart. It has its flaws still, but you accept them gladly as they are minute compared to the other uncompromising supercars of the past and many still present.

The Gallardo is the car that the 360 Modena secretly would wanted to have been. The Ferrari is gorgeous, no doubt, but it’s peaky and it greatly lacks the comfort and all-wheel, all weather long distance cruising capability of the Gallardo. The normal distribution of the AWD system is approximately 30 % front and 70 % rear. In the event of slippage to the axle that has more grip. Rear traction is enhanced by a friction-type limited-slip differential, and a front tire verging on slip is automatically snubbed by a momentary brake application. The suspension on the Gallardo uses new Koni FSD (frequency selective damping) dampers. These are purely mechanical adaptive units, stiffening up at low frequency and relaxing at high frequency via a system of internal valves. The brakes, like the GT2, are from Brembo and are not ceramic but boast eight-piston front calipers on 14.4-inch disc and four-piston rear calipers on 13.2-inchers.

There are some interior qualms that I wish could have been addressed, especially since Audi is renowned for their fabulous interior finish; a couple of trim pieces seem too cheap, the plastic door handles, the easily scratched center console, and the flimsy eyeball vent are out of place in a car like this. A spider variant is expected by late 2005, and a plexiglass engine cover, which that glorious V-10 so richly deserves, should be on its way, too. The  big surprise was the lovely climate controlled a/c which worked very well, better than the GT2. There is more trunk space in the GT2, but you can get fitted luggage for the tiny front trunk of the Gallardo. This is a durable and lovable long-term sports car; when driven on weekends and lustful days on the track, you would need another supercar, and just like the Patek Philippe advertisements, this is one Italian car that can be passed down from generation to generation, perpetuating the investment, as the Gallardo is an instant classic that can be serviced at your regular Audi dealership.

The Wrap

The Samaritan was right all along. As much as I love the Gallardo, I have to concede to the Porsche GT2. I love the Gallardo so much that would rather drive it in either the US or Europe in the wide open spaces and four seasons. Since these cars wouldn’t be daily drivers, though they have the ability to do so really, The Porsche is the more practical supercar for the tropics. It can be driven hard on even our worst roads and still come back for more. It’s considerably cheaper, more maneuverable, and yes, less of an eye strain to Joe Public. The clincher is that the Porsche has a proper facility in the country to service the GT2 completely. I still won’t be able to carry a golf bag with a passenger but heck, I’ll force them to hold it if need be! The GT2 wins this battle.

 

 

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