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Tony O'Kane | Jul 1, 2009

LAMBORGHINI HAS REVEALED that the striped, orange Gallardo we first saw a couple of days ago is indeed the eagerly awaited LP550-2, and, aside from being the first RWD Lamborghini in almost ten years, it's also named after the most famous test driver on the planet.

Valentino Balboni has been Lamborghini's principal test driver since 1973, and has gathered his own unique fan base since.

He's now got a car that bears his name, and the LP550-2 should be a worthy namesake for the man many consider to have exerted the most influence over Lamborghini's modern performance cars.

2010_gallardo_lp550-2_03

As its name suggests, the LP550-2 cranks out a mighty 550 horsepower (405kW) from a slightly detuned version of the LP560-4's 5.2 litre V10, and puts it all through the rear wheels only.

It's the first rear-wheel-drive Lamborghini since the Diablo of the 1990s, and for a lot of Lambo enthusiasts signals a return to purity for the supercar manufacturer.

Ditching the front axles, differential and transfer case has netted significant weight savings for the RWD Gallardo, which weighs in at a relatively light 1380kg.

The result is a blistering 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds, while top speed is a heady 320km/h.

2010_gallardo_lp550-2_01

Being its first RWD car in many years, Lamborghini hasn't ignored buyers who enjoy indulging in the fine art of oversteer.

A limited-slip differential with 45 percent locking capability has been fitted to the LP550-2's transaxle, and the electronic stability control has been reprogrammed to allow greater drift angles when in high-performance Corsa mode.

A six-speed manual is the standard transmission, however, like the LP560-4, the LP550-2 is also available with Lamborghini's e-gear robotised paddle-shift manual gearbox.

Carbon ceramic brakes are also an optional extra, and one that Balboni himself would likely approve of.

2010_gallardo_lp550-2_interior

The interior is trimmed in a tasteful black and white leather scheme, and special edition badging informs passengers and rubberneckers of the car's pedigree.

Only 250 will be built, and the LP550 will retail for €162,000 in Europe, £137,900 in the UK and $219,800 in the USA. Better snap one up quick.

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