Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni

Like most Italian-bred sports cars, the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni (www.lamborghini.com) is designed to satisfy the deepest desires of serious performance enthusiasts. Yet its name represents something very special to the brand as well: Valentino Balboni, the company’s recently retired chief test-driver, wanted his namesake car to match his personal driving preferences, and so this $219,800 limited-edition Gallardo, of which only 250 examples will be built, is Lamborghini’s first rear-wheel-drive model in more than a decade. Because of its rear-biased weight distribution, the mid-engine sports car’s back end loves to break loose through every corner, and its 5.2-liter V-10 engine produces a healthy 542 hp (the 550 in its name represents a metric power measurement). Although this car features 10 hp less than the standard Gallardo, Balboni—a man who has personally driven roughly 80 percent of all Lamborghini models ever built—claims that his car comes equipped with “exactly the same engine.” Anyone who drives this car like the chief test-driver will quickly realize that this Lamborghini is less about numbers and more about the thrill of riding a bucking bull.

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