Modern supercars have pushed the envelope of performance so far that they require all sorts of technology to keep the average driver from instantly destroying themselves and the car. Hence all-wheel drive to deliver the power, self-shifting transmissions and, of course, traction and stability control. But to the hardcore driver, all of that stuff just gets in the way. Today, Lamborghini has unveiled a special-edition Gallardo that cuts through to deliver a purer experience - the Gallardo LP550-2 Valentino Balboni.
Named after Lamborghini's famed test driver, who has helped shape the brand's cars and performance standard for four decades, the LP550-2 is a RWD-only Gallardo sporting a lightly de-tuned 550hp version of the 5.2L V10 found in the recently launched Gallardo LP560-4 and LP560-4 Spyder.
The transition to RWD was not simply a question of moving the transmission to the rear axle, however - the vehicle had to be adjusted and tuned in every element of its driving dynamics. This includes springs, dampers, stabilizers and even the tires. The aerodynamics were also adjusted to take account of the change to the power flow, which explains the re-designed front end.
Furthermore, though an e-Gear transmission is available, the driver's Lambo also gets a gated manual, helping to cut weight to meet the two-wheel-driver's 66lb (30kg) weight reduction goal. To help keep the rear end planted when controlled oversteer isn't desired, a re-worked stability control system can maximize for safety or allow greater slip angles than standard when switched to CORSA mode. A 45% limited-slip rear diff also helps send power evenly across the two rear tires.
Zero to 62mph (100km/h) dashes will take just 3.9 seconds, top speed checks in at a cool 199mph (320km/h), and a with a dry weight of just 3,035lb (1,380kg), the LP550-2 is set to take its place as a top performer despite its 'lack' of AWD.
The Balboni branding also includes a special exterior and interior treatment, with a center stripe reminiscent of sports cars of the 1970s. The Special Edition is available in eight colors, from Bianco Monocerus through to Verde Ithaca, or Arancio Borealis to Nero Noctis. The Scorpius wheels retain their dark grey finish, while the brake calipers come in black, orange or yellow, depending on the exterior paint finish.
The basic color of the full leather upholstery is black. Both seats, however, feature the color strip in white. The center console is completely upholstered in Polar white leather to create a powerful accent. A badge below the left side window bears the signature of Valentino Balboni and the production number of the car.
Only about 250 units of the $219,800 LP550-2 are to be built, though, so if this is the sort of thing that sets your blood flowing, you'd better get in contact with Sant'Agata soon.