Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Impression: Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 Balboni

Valentino Balboni spent 40 years as Lamborghini's chief test driver.From 1968 to 2008, Balboni has test driven 80% of all Lamborghinis ever built. To pay tribute to its legendary test driver, Lamborghini released a special edition of Gallardo in 2009, called the Lamborghini Gallarod LP550-2 Balboni. 250 Gallardo Balbonis were built.

I recently saw the Gallardo Balboni at the 2012 Houston Lamborghini Festival, and Valentino Balboni made a special appearance. The Gallardo Balboni looks just like a regular Gallardo on the outside, but with a stripe down the center of the car. Other features included a optional re-calibrated e-gear, redeveloped 45% slip differential, full leather black interior with white color stripes, polar white center console, a badge below the left side window that bears Balboni's signature and production number. Aslo, a majority of Gallardo's are four-wheel drive. The Gallardo Balboni is rear-wheel drive, as requested by Valentino Balboni.

The Gallardo Balboni is powered by a 5.2L V10 engine, paired with a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed paddle-shifting e-gear transmission, that produces 542 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. The Gallardo Balboni goes from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 199 mph.Prices for the Gallardo Balboni start at $219,800, which is a bit much since a standard Gallardo 550-2 costs $181,900. The Gallardo Balboni is nearly $38,000 more than the standard Gallardo 550-2, but it is very rare with only 250 Gallardo Balbonis being built and the center stripe adds character to the car.

The Gallardo Balboni was Top Gear's 2009 Dream Car of the Year. It was also featured in Series 14, Episode 3, when James May was flying a caravan in a blimp while Richard Hammond was driving to the caravan site in a Gallardo Balboni. Tanner Foust drove the Gallardo Balboni during the pilot episode of Top Gear USA when the guys were doing a standing mile in three special edition Lamboghinis. The Gallardo Balboni also made a stop by Jay Leno's Garage. The Gallardo Balboni was also featured in Auto Esporte, Richard Hammond's Top Gear Uncovered, and Top Gear Korea. The Gallardo Balboni is playable in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, Need For Speed: The Run, and Need For Speed: World.

Final Thoughts: The Gallardo LP550-2 Balboni is a nice tribute for the legendary Lamborghini chief test driver. $219,800 for a special edition supercar is not bad either. The Gallardo Balboni is very quick and fast and is a driver's car. Valentino Balboni requested that the car be rear-wheel drive instead of the standard four-wheel drive. Tanner Foust did donuts in the Gallardo Balboni. The lost of horsepower did not hurt the performance of the Gallardo Balboni since the car lost 30 kg of weight due to using a RWD system instead of a AWD system. The Gallardo Balboni is rare, quick, fast, and is a good car for any Lamborghini, Italian, or supercar collection.

CarJunkie
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