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Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni – Click above for high-res image gallery

Following in the footsteps of its parent's at Audi, Lamborghini has made all-wheel drive something of a battle cry. What was introduced as an option on the Diablo VT has now proliferated across every model Lamborghini has made since its introduction. Well... until the Balboni edition came along.

To honor the career of the company's long-serving test driver Valentino Balboni, Lamborghini rolled out a purist's version of the Gallardo that did away with the all-wheel drive system in favor of rear-drive only, dropped 10 horsepower and was available with a classic gated manual in the place of the e-gear sequential gearbox.

The Balboni edition – carrying the LP 550-2 designation to mark its metric horsepower output and traction configuration – was set to be the only rear-drive Gallardo available, until Lamborghini announced the Bicolore edition just the other day. Although sold overseas with all-wheel drive, the American version was announced as the first rear-drive LP 550-2 to follow the Balboni.

According to reports coming in from Italy, Lamborghini is now preparing to offer the LP 550-2 as a sort of "entry-level" Gallardo, undercutting the price of other versions while offering the more direct drivetrain set-up. Apparently Lamborghini already sold a number of these LP 550-2s to Asian customers who missed out on the Balboni's limited production run, and will now offer the bare-bones Gallardo as a regular member of the family.

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Photos copyright ©2009 Drew Phillips / Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: OmniAuto.it - translated]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      How many pennies do i need to save up?
        • 4 Years Ago
        not as many as the awd model
      • 4 Years Ago
      I say thank you, good sirs. Call me old fashioned if you will but this is a situation where 3 is not a crowd. Pedals that is.
        • 4 Years Ago
        RWD and manual... thank you! I understand the appeal of paddle shifters and whatnot, but a manual tranny should always be an option. It may not be faster in this day and age, but it will never, ever, lose the fun factor.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Following in the footsteps of its parent's at Audi..."

      • 4 Years Ago
      Make a RWD manual 570 Superleggera. LP-570-2 Superleggera PLEASE
      • 4 Years Ago
      So all of the people that payed a premium for the Balboni edition now have a "entry level" Gallardo? The new 550-2 must really devalue the Balboni edition.
        • 4 Years Ago
        they did the exact thing with the Gallardo SE , first they made a limited edition run , then they upgraded the base Gallardo to be exactly like the SE.
      • 4 Years Ago
      they say "entry level," I say "the only good modern lamborghini"
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm confused by this article...the LP550-2 has been available for at least 6 months now (in non-Balboni configuration). Roy Cats had one for sale on his website a few months ago on the ground in the US.


      • 4 Years Ago
      That's funny, the "entry level" Gallardo is the only one that I really want.
      6 speed manual and rear wheel drive, a proper sports car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        In this case entry level is an oxymoron. Who wouldn't want this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Completely agree. It made me happy to see the Bicolore in RWD, but seeing this makes me think that maybe sometime in the future I could afford one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Usually you have to spend more to get a proper manual and simpler drivetrain.

      I love that this is the entry level model. The only one to get in my opinion.
      • 4 Years Ago
      My mind is at ease knowing RWD is still getting lambo love.
      • 4 Years Ago
      -> I can't see anything wrong with it, infact that is a good idea. The world needs a 'proper' Lambo, insanity...just pure insanity; a gated 6-speed AND RWD!!! That would be perfect since the 'entry-level' Ferrari (458 Italia) doesn't feature a stick-shift.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great news! Where's my chequebook?

      So what do we think will make the best used supercar bargain in 10years time for a man who wants an honest rwd manual transmission car? This, an AM vantage, or the rare F430 with a stick?
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