Since 2004, Sant'Agata Bolognese has built and bid a fond farewell to more than 10,000 Lamborghini Gallardo
s. It is the most successful model in brand history by a long shot. The chiseled sports car, with a menacing 5.2-liter V-10 stuffed mid-belly, always directed its 500-plus horsepower to all four wheels.
But in 2009, things changed when Lamborghini
created a rear-wheel-drive LP550-2 Valentino Balboni to celebrate the decades-long career of its most vaunted test driver. Much to the chagrin of super-rich Lambo fans looking to get their hands on one, only 250 examples were created.
This year, things have changed once again. Lamborghini
has heeded its well-heeled clientele's wishes for an unlimited edition Balboni, creating a new two-wheel-drive bull capable of fulfilling inner drifter fantasies. It is called the LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO
"The Bicolore is more demanding," explained Lamborghini
America chief operating officer Wolfgang Hoffmann at a pre-test-drive conference. "The four-wheel-drive customer is different than the two-wheel-drive customer."
Indeed, the latter must be a little mad.
Gripping its Alcantara-wrapped wheel tightly on Turn 4 at New York's Monticello Motor Club, I quickly learn that in the 542-horse LP550-2, a rendezvous with a corner demands 24 Hours of Le Mans focus. Get it wrong, and you could send the Bicolore with its 398 pound-feet of torque off into the weeds, or worse, the car could be come a crumpled mess and you immobilized on a stretcher.
Preventing calls to the local medics is always a good thing, so engineers implemented a few upgrades to help you avoid such scenarios. A revised extended nose sucks the car closer to planet Earth and shoves cool air toward the 14-inch, eight-piston brakes. Slightly softer springs and dampers deliver a more civilized ride for daily duty. They also promote stickier grip during the Bicolore's lewd-sounding "Thrust Mode" launches.