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Jay Leno Drives The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni: Video 19
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, Kurt, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni, video on 12 19th, 2012

If you think that all Lamborghini Gallardos rely on all-wheel drive to transfer their impressive power to the ground, think again. To honor it’s storied test driver, Valentino Balboni, Lamborghini built a 550-horsepower version of the Gallardo that sends its thrust exclusively to the rear wheels.

Why? To produce a Gallardo that is lighter, with a more direct steering feel (and a propensity to generate long and lurid power-on oversteer). In other words, the Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni is a direct link to earlier Lamborghini models, like the Miura and the Countach.

One man who knows a thing or two about Lamborghinis past and present is Jay Leno, who owns both a Countach and a pair of Miuras. It’s fitting, then, that Lamborghini marketing manager Cedric Davy stopped by the Big Dog Garage with the keys to a Balboni edition Gallardo.

The car packs a 5.2-liter V10 engine, rated at 550 metric horsepower (or 542 of our own ponies) and bolted to either a six-speed manual or Lamborghini’s e-gear robotic automatic transmission. The rear-drive layout saves nearly seventy pounds, and despite having the lowest power rating of any Gallardo model, the Balboni will still run from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.9 seconds.

Only 250 Balboni edition Gallardos were built, and it’s not clear how many remain available. Now that the Gallardo is in its final year, we can only hope that its replacement offers up a rear-drive throwback model as well.

2011 LA Auto Show: 2012 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder Debuts 17
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in auto show, Automotive, Lamborghini, Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni, Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder, Lamborghini LP 550-2, News on 11 17th, 2011

Lamborghini has taken the wraps off of what is essentially a Spyder (Convertible) version of the Valentino Balboni LP550-2 at this year’s LA Auto Show. The exclusive rear-wheel-drive setup and power-folding top make it one-of-a-kind.

The new Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder is powered by a 5.2-liter V10 engine pumping 542 horsepower (550 PS – metric bhp) and 398 pound-feet of torque. Power is directed to the rear wheels through a 6-speed e-gear transmission. With this setup, the LP550-2 Spyder will max out at 198 mph and run 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds.

Interestingly enough, the last rear-wheel-drive convertible Lamborghini, the Diablo SV Roadster, was back in 1998. Look for the Lamborghini LP550-2 Spyder to hit showroom floors just before Summer of 2012.

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2012 Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Spyder Press Release

Automobili Lamborghini is expanding the most successful model line ever built under the sign of the bull with a very special car – the new Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder combines the open spyder body style with purist rear Wheel Drive. This version brings together that stunning level of open-air driving fun that can come only from a super sports car with a folding roof and an unbelievably agile and spontaneous handling.

“With the Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder, we are expanding the Lamborghini lineup with a purist model that adds yet another dimension of driving fun. This will appeal in particular to a very special group of customers that enjoy a spirited driving style and also like to experience the sheer pleasure of open-air driving,” says Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini. “This special model with rear-wheel drive is a logical expansion of our lineup of spyder models with all-wheel drive.”

The most important technical characteristics of the Lamborghini LP 550-2 Spyder are already recognizable from the model designation – LP stands for Longitudinale/Posteriore, for the mid-engine built longitudinally in front of the rear axle. 550 refers to the power output in hp, and the 2 stands for the drive to the rear wheels. At Lamborghini, the word spyder means the ultimate synthesis of a fascinating, powerfully expressive super sports car design, the ultimate open-air thrill and sheer pleasure for all the senses.

A driving experience of the highest precision

The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder with rear-wheel drive is the perfect fit for the kind of sports car driver that enjoys a particularly hands-on and spirited style of driving. The setup is laid out to ensure that the rear end remains reliable and stable at all times, while the front axle steers with the highest level of precision and limits movement to an absolute minimum.

Thanks to the supremely powerful V10 engine, controlled oversteer is not a problem, although always and only to the extent prescribed by the driver. Its easy-to-control road manners and the ESP assistant system developed for these vehicles make the Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder an outstandingly safe sports car to drive.

Further developed chassis, drive system and engine

In order to shape this unique character of driving fun and safety, the engineers in Sant’Agata Bolognese carried out extensive modifications to the Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder, developing it specifically for these new characteristics. Not only was drive concentrated on the rear axle, the vehicle was also completely retuned in all its dynamic details. This Includes a specific dampers setting. The aerodynamics were also adapted to account for the change in the distribution of forces.

The vehicle show out its goods with a rear axle with the 45-percent locking differential, and the adoption of the e-gear transmission. All completed with a fine adaptation of the ESP stability control system. While the standard program puts a priority on stability, the CORSA program allows larger drift angles and delivers a highly intensive appreciation of the full dynamics of the LP 550-2. All the excellent characteristics of the Gallardo chassis are fully retained – its pleasing bodyroll comfort, as well as its excellent directional stability at high speed.

Outstanding performance is guaranteed

The heart of the Gallardo – the 5.2-liter ten-cylinder – was also retuned and its characteristics optimized for rear-wheel drive, delivering that perfect and breathtaking synthesis of high-revving pleasure, pulling power, exuberant temperament and powerful melody in all keys. In the LP 550-2 Spyder, the compact and lightweight power unit delivers 405 kW (550 hp). Thanks to systematic Lamborghini lightweight design and an extremely low dry weight of just 1,520 kilograms, phenomenal performance is guaranteed – the LP 550-2 catapults itself from zero to 100 km/h in just 4,2 seconds. And its top speed of 319km/h guarantees it a place among the ultimate super sports cars. The soft-top of the Gallardo Spyder is designed for unlimited top-speed enjoyment both open and closed.

Careful individualization of the lineup

With the Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder, Lamborghini is expanding its most successful model line of all time (to-date a total of nearly 11.800 have been built in Sant’Agata Bolognese) with a stunning variant that continues the successful individualization of its lineup. This includes the LP 560-4 Spyder, as well as the ultra-high-performance Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante, which boasts an even further weight reduction through carbon-fiber lightweight engineering. The latest version among the coupe variants is the Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo Stradale – the road-going version of the race car featured in the world’s fastest single-brand racing series.

Source: Lamborghini