The Gallardo was designed as a competitor to the Ferrari 360, and now competes with its replacement, the Ferrari F430. The Gallardo has a rear-biased all-wheel drive system which differentiates it from its rear-wheel drive competitors. Lamborghini's parent company Audi is renowned for its quattro 4WD system, however Lamborghini uses a system of its own.
Unlike the Countach, Diablo, and Murciélago models, the Gallardo does not have scissor doors.
The Gallardo was designed by Luc Donckerwolke, who won the 2003 red dot design award for the design of both the 2004 Gallardo and 2002 Murciélago.
The Gallardo offers two choices of transmissions, a conventional (H-Box) six-speed manual transmission, and an advanced six-speed electro-hydraulically controlled 'semi-automatic single-clutch sequential manual', which Lamborghini abbreviates to "E-gear". The "E-gear" allows the driver to make shifts much faster than a manual transmission would. The driver shifts up and down via paddles behind the steering wheel, and does not and cannot manually actuate the clutch.