Following in the tracks of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 coupe is the newly christened LP560-4 Spyder, which debuts at the L.A. auto show. Like its hardtop brother, the Spyder receives power-boosting engine modifications, styling alterations, and chassis tweaks that earn it the LP560-4 badge.

Dropped into the Spyder is the same updated V-10 from the LP560 coupe. The major changes to the engine are an increase in displacement from 5.0 liters to 5.2, the addition of direct fuel injection, and a higher compression ratio of 12.5:1. The result is 552 horsepower at 8000 rpm (the 560 in the car’s name refers to PS, a European unit of power measurement) and 398 lb-ft of torque at 6500 rpm. Lamborghini predicts 0–62 mph times of 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 201 mph.

As before, two transmissions are offered. Buyers can select either a six-speed manual or the optional e-gear six-speed automated manual gearbox that has been retuned for quicker shifts. Despite the extra power and displacement, fuel economy improves from the 2008 numbers of 10 mpg city and 16 highway to 13 mpg city and 20 highway for models with e-gear. Larger brakes measuring 14.4 inches in front and 14.0 inches in back are standard; carbon-ceramic brake rotors are optional and add 15-inch front rotors. Based on our experiences with them on the Gallardo Superleggera, we wouldn’t recommend the upgrade.

At first glance, the LP560-4 Spyder doesn’t appear too different from last year’s model, but a closer inspection of the front end reveals new headlights with LED daytime running lights and a new bumper reminiscent of the more expensive Murciélago. Around back are a restyled bumper, four chrome tailpipes, and redesigned taillights with LEDs. The styling update is far from radical, but Lamborghini claims that the tweaks have improved aerodynamics by providing greater downforce at speed.

On sale in early 2009, the LP560-4 Spyder has the power and potentially the performance to get revenge against the Ferrari F430 Spider, which beat out the previous-generation Gallardo Spyder in a comparison test. Pricing has not yet been announced, but we anticipate that the LP560-4 Spyder will cost between $220,000 and $240,000.

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