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Official images and details of new supercar

Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 pictures and details have been released.

The car's official name is the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni - named in honour of the company's renowned test driver.

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The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni marks a major departure for Lamborghini, as it abandons four-wheel-drive in favour of rear-wheel-drive.

Rear-wheel drive has meant several revisions over the four-wheel drive version of the car. Lamborghini says "the vehicle had to be adjusted and tuned in every element of its driving dynamics."

This includes different springs, dampers, stabilisers and tyres. The aerodynamics were also adjusted to take account of the change to the power flow.

The rear axle differential, with a 45 per cent limited slip, was also redeveloped, as was the calibration of the e-gear transmission. The ESP was also tuned to two settings: standard and Corsa, which allows greater drift angles.

An official Lamborghini statement said: "Rear wheel drive has a special appeal to those sports car drivers who enjoy a particular driving style. Thanks to the eminently powerful V10 driveline, controlled oversteer is no problem – naturally always to the extent defined by the driver - because refined road manners and perfectly tuned assistance systems mean that the Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni is an exceptionally safe sports car to drive."

Balboni was hired in 1967 by company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini, starting work as a test driver on the Lamborghini Miura and staying with the company to the current Gallardo and Murcielago models.

Since 1973, he has sat at the wheel of every prototype built by the brand, and most production cars pass through his hands for final inspections before being delivered to their customers.

After over 40 years with Lamborghini, Balboni is now officially retired, but continues to work as an ambassador for the brand.

Naming convention means the Lamborghini Gallardo LP550-2 will be powered by a 550hp (542bhp) 5.2-litre V10, with the engine having been retuned to cope with rear-wheel-drive.

Unconfirmed details include a 0-62mph time of 3.9secs and that the car is 30kg lighter than its four-wheel-drive equivalent, at 1380kg. Top speed is 199mph.

Just 250 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Valentino Balbonis will be sold. All cars will have 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, a design which takes inspiration from the classic 1970s sports cars.

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Eight body colours are available, while the wheels are grey as on the standard car, and brake calipers come in black, orange or yellow, depending on the exterior paint finish.

The inside of the car mirrors this look, with the black leather seats faeturing a white strip. The centre console is also upholstered in white leather. Valentino Balboni's signature and the production number of the car are also marked below the left side window.

Other standard features include a transparent engine cover, a rear view camera, a sat-nav system with Bluetooth and a front axle lifting system that makes it easier to drive over obstacles.Options include e-gear transmission and carbon ceramic brakes.

Prices start from £137,900 - about ten per cent less than the four-wheel drive car.

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