Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Balboni in UAE
Barely three months after the world debut of the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni in pictures, the real deal has already reached the shores of the UAE, as the limited-edition model was launched in Dubai, in the presence of the aging Lamborghini test driver after whom the car was named for his 40 years of service.
While the standard 2009 Gallardo LP 560-4 comes with a 560 hp 5.2-litre V10 and all-wheel-drive, the Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni will have a slightly-detuned 550 hp 5.2-litre V10 and rear-wheel-drive, while being limited to 250 units.
The LP 550-2 was developed with inputs from Valentino Balboni himself, who says he did not know at the time that the car was to be named after him. The springs, dampers, stabilisers, tyres and even the aerodynamics were all adjusted to take account of the change in drivetrain.
The rear axle differential, with a 45% limited slip, was also redeveloped, as was the calibration of the optional e-gear automanual transmission. A manual gearbox is standard. One significant change was the adjustments made to the ESP system. While the standard program is focused on high stability, the “CORSA” stability program permits greater drift angles.
The 550 hp weighs 1380 kg now, lighter than the Gallardo LP 560-4. The LP 550-2 can do the 0-100 kph run in 3.9 seconds, with a top speed of 320 kph, both of which seem intentionally slower than the standard model.
The Valentino Balboni model has 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. The special edition is available in eight colours. 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 interior comes in black-and-white leather upholstery. A badge below the left side window bears the signature of Valentino Balboni and the production number of the car.
The GCC-spec Gallardo LP 550-2 limited edition is priced at Dhs 820,000, which is surprisingly close to the price of the standard model. Of the 250 to be built, about 10% is earmarked for the Middle East, for obvious reasons.
Photos by Faisal Khatib