• Jun 30, 2009
Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni - Click above for a high-res image gallery

Few names resonate more with the Lamborghini faithful than Valentino Balboni, Lambo's long-term test driver who's honed every model to roll off the line since 1973. In an ultimate tribute to Balboni, the Italian supercar manufacturer has created this: the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni.

As its name would imply, the Gallardo ditches the standard model's all-wheel drive system and sends power to the rear wheels, and according to the automaker, the 550-2 "was conceived in line with [Balboni's] own thinking, and it meets many customers' requests for a model with a unique character, which offers a very special kind of active driving fun."

The 5.2-liter V10 has been tweaked to put out 550 hp and coupled with a the Gallardo's reduced curb weight (3,042 pounds), the LP 550-2 can sprint to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and top out at 199 mph.

As we saw yesterday, the exterior receives a new set of Scorpious wheels (hiding a revised suspension) and a white and gold stripe running the length of the Lambo, with the theme carrying over inside in the form of a white leather center console and seats. Eight exterior shades are available, along with black, orange or yellow brake calipers, depending on the chosen hue, and in addition to the standard transparent engine cover, rear-view camera, navigation system and Bluetooth integration, buyers can option up for the e-gear transmission and carbon ceramic brakes.

This purest of Gallardos will be limited to 250 units, each bearing a serial number and Balboni's signature on the left side window, with US pricing starting at $219,800. Make the jump for the official release.




PRESS RELEASE

Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni – Driving fun with absolute precision

He has long been revered as one of the many legends surrounding the world's most uncompromising sports car brand – Valentino Balboni, a remarkable test driver with his own personal cult status. Automobili Lamborghini now presents a model in his honour and bearing his name – the Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni.

The latest version of the Gallardo, Lamborghini's most successful model of all time - overall, more than 9,000 units of the model range have already been produced - boasts not only its own distinctive design and exclusive equipment, but its technology is unique too, as indicated by the model badge: the 550 stands for the power output in hp and the 2 is for rear wheel drive.

For several decades, Valentino Balboni has had a distinct influence on the character of the super sports car bearing the sign of the bull. With his fine-tuning and testing work, he has helped to shape many automotive legends, from the Lamborghini Miura of the 60s through to the current Gallardo and Murciélago models. Balboni was hired in 1967 by company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini himself. From early on, it was evident that the young Balboni had a special feel for cars, that most sensitive of all instincts that connects to the 'life blood' of an automobile and defines the soul of a test driver.

"A Lamborghini must always combine the precision of a race car with the reliability of a good friend," says Balboni. Since 1973, he has sat at the wheel of every prototype built by the brand, and even most production cars have passed through his hands before being delivered to their customers. This has turned Balboni into one of the most important representatives of the brand, with an outstanding reputation and status among the brand's fans and customers worldwide.

Limited to 250 units

After over 40 years with Lamborghini, Balboni is now officially retired. Yet, Valentino Balboni continues to travel to many countries around the world as an ambassador of the brand.
The special exclusivity of the Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni is guaranteed – it is limited to 250 units.

Light-footed yet extremely safe

With this latest version of the Gallardo, Lamborghini is honouring its long-standing test driver in a very special way. The LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni was conceived in line with his own thinking, and it meets many customers' requests for a model with a unique character, which offers a very special kind of active driving fun. The Balboni model is the only current Lamborghini that delivers its power to the road via its rear wheels alone.

Rear wheel drive has a special appeal to those sports car drivers who enjoy a particular driving style. Thanks to the eminently powerful V10 driveline, controlled oversteer is no problem – naturally always to the extent defined by the driver - because refined road manners and perfectly tuned assistance systems mean that the Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni is an exceptionally safe sports car to drive.

Driving fun with unique character

In order to shape this unique character that combines driving fun and safety, the engineers at Sant'Agata Bolognese have incorporated extensive modifications into the LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni. It was not simply a question of moving the transmission to the rear axle, the vehicle had to be adjusted and tuned in every element of its driving dynamics. This includes springs, dampers, stabilisers and even the tyres. The aerodynamics were also adjusted to take account of the change to the power flow.

The rear axle differential, with a 45 percent limited slip, was also redeveloped, as was the calibration of the e-gear transmission. One significant point was the adjustments made to the ESP system. While the standard program is focused on high stability, the CORSA program permits greater drift angles, thus enabling drivers to enjoy the dynamics of the LP 550-2 to their full extent.

Outstanding performance is guaranteed

Adjustments have also been made to the very heart of the Gallardo, the 5.2 litre ten-cylinder: the perfect synthesis of hi-revving pleasure, pulling power, a constantly exuberant temperament and a powerful symphony played in all keys. In the Valentino Balboni, the compact and lightweight power unit generates 405 kW (550 hp). At a dry weight of only 1,380 kilograms, this guarantees outstanding performance: the LP 550-2 is catapulted from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62mph) in a breathtaking 3.9 seconds, while the top speed of 320 km/h (199 mph) guarantees its place among the ultimate in super sports cars.

Powerful elegance in its distinctive design

The Valentino Balboni is not only unique in terms of its technology: its design and equipment reinforce its exclusivity. Its classic sporting character is emphasised by a colour strip in white and gold running from the front panel over the roof and parts of the engine cover all the way to the rear spoiler, with inspiration from the classic sports cars from the '70s. This colour treatment underscores the powerful elegance of the Gallardo and emphasises the unique Lamborghini design DNA. The Special Edition is available in eight colours, from Bianco Monocerus through to Verde Ithaca, or Arancio Borealis to Nero Noctis. The Scorpius wheels retain their dark grey finish, while the brake callipers come in black, orange or yellow, depending on the exterior paint finish.

Classic sporting look for the interior, too

The characteristic colour combination is repeated in the interior. The basic colour of the full leather upholstery is black. Both seats, however, feature the colour strip in white. The centre 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.

The exclusivity of the Valentino Balboni is augmented further by its extensive equipment. Alongside several new leather features in the interior, there is also the transparent engine cover, the rear view camera, the navigation system with Bluetooth and the lifting system for the front axle that makes it easier to drive over obstacles. In addition to the extensive standard equipment, a list of further options is available including e-gear transmission and carbon ceramic brakes.

Suggested retail price – without taxes
Europe:
162.000 €

UK:
137.900 £

USA:
219.800 $


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      but, why detune the engine (550 hp vs 560 hp). and, isn't the regular awd model faster???
      • 5 Years Ago
      I thought Audi had neutered the raging bull forever... but thankfully Audi made it's own "Lambo" for happy people, so men with balls can enjoy the fun of an overpowered mid-engine RWD Italian supercar with some serious muscle :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Serge....you couldn't have said it any better!!!
      Carlos
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do want!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Best. Job. Ever.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its great to see a great car in Valentino's name... but I'd prefer to see Lamborghini honor Bob Wallace name first.
      • 5 Years Ago
      love it, but... WHAT were they thinking with that stripe?? Gold on one side? Solid white would have been just fine.
      • 5 Years Ago
      FINALLY, the return of RWD Lambos.

      This is what I'm talking about, Lambo.
      • 5 Years Ago
      http://www.streetdrift.net/2009/07/video-lamborghini-gallardo-lp550-2.html

      Check out this video released by Lambo's ad agency today, featuring the LP550-2 Balboni edition... Video is in HD quality and got some nice drifts...
      • 5 Years Ago

      Back in 2003 and 2004, I had the privilege to ride in a Murcielago at the annual La Bella Macchinne D'Italia at Pocono Raceway with Valentino. Saturdays were always the Concourse show and Sunday was track day. For $20, anyone can enter Pocono Speedway to watch the owners flog their cars (several F40s were driving around the track as was a 250 TR, and in 2004 the SSC Ultimate Aero prototype was testing, WOW). And when you go to the track day, anyone can pay Lamborghini America a donation, go go for a ride in a Murcielago with Valentino as the driver (this must be done VERY EARLY as they fill up extremely fast. I got there around 7 am and was 2nd in line). I did this in 2003 (I payed $50), and got 3 laps and it was the most incredible experience I ever had in a car!!! He was so kind, and very friendly, & asked if it was my 1st ride in a Lamborghini (it was). The acceleration from Pit Lane was unreal!!! He got the car up to 160 mph in the back stretch, and when he hit the turn to go into the road course he did several powerslides around the corners (the car was an E-Gear Murc and the sound it made when he downshifted was INSANE). When he hit the last turn to head onto the front straight, he reached 175 mph!!! IT WAS UNREAL!! When it was over, and I was getting out of the car, the fellow who runs the event asked how I liked the ride? 5 words.... HOLY S*** THAT WAS INSANE!!! The best $50 I EVER spent!!!!

      I went back in 2004, and paid $100 this time and got 5 laps!!! On our 1st lap, 3 Ferrari 360 Challenge Race cars were in our way, and wouldn't move to the right for Valentino to pass (Valentino was saying something in italian and wasn't happy with their driving) and he was literally inches from their rear bumper, while we were cornering in the road course section of Pocono, but he was so calm and in control the entire time. Once we reached the last turn in the infield road course to hit the front straight, he dropped down a cog and hammered it. Again, he reached 175!!! I remember it vividly as I recorded in on my camcorder I was holding. After it was over, he signed my Autoart Murcielago (in my favorite color, Verde Ithaca). It was AMAZING!!! I tell ANYONE if your around the last week in June, and anywhere near Pocono, pay the money to get into the track day and do this!! Its worth EVERY penny!!!

      As for his new car? He 150% deserves it!!! I LOVE the stripe and the interior. And I am praying I win the lotto, so I can get my LP550-2 Valentino Balboni Edition in my favorite color....Verde Ithaca FTW (Thank you Lamborghini for making this car in that color!!!).
        • 5 Years Ago
        that comment was more entertaining than most articles on AB.
        nice work.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ 06VistaBlueGT:

        So I take it got a balboni from the whole experience.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i saw this man at the lamborghini factory back in 2006... saw him take a gallardo 0-60 because we asked him to.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Any hope for a Murcielago LP670-2 Ferrucio ? But hell, this could easily be the best Gallardo ever made.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm still waiting for the Gallardo LP600 Superleggera, although this one seems to be a great thing to drive.
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