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First look: Lamborghini goes rear drive with Spyder

Two paws fewer: The rear-drive Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550 soft-top gets a hefty price cut over its all-wheel-drive sibling.

Lamborghini snips $63k from Gallardo Spyder by going rear-wheel drive

21 Nov 2011

LAMBORGHINI’S first rear-drive soft-top supercar is expected to land in Australia in late March, cutting the starting price of fresh-air motoring in a 300km/h-plus Lamborghini by more than $63,000.

The mid-engined Gallardo LP 550-2 Spyder dispenses with the all-wheel-drive system of the only other Lamborghini convertible on the Australian market, the Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder, instead channeling all 405kW of V10 power through the rear tyres – a move that slices weight, improves responsiveness and appeals to purists.

Lamborghini Australia managing director Andrew Smith told GoAuto today that the new model would go on sale in Australia at the end of the second quarter for $451,800 (plus on road costs) – $63,200 less than the all-wheel-drive Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder that retails for $515,000.

Mr Smith said local sales volumes had yet to be determined, but customer inquiry was already starting in Sydney and Melbourne.

“People have just found out about the car, but we certainly have people interested,” he said.

The new model undercuts Ferrari’s $459,650 California hard-top convertible by $7850, but is $9600 dearer than Porsche’s $442,200 flagship 911 Turbo S Cabriolet.

51 center imageDetails of the new Lamborghini drop-top were released in Italy late last week, ahead of a 2012 roll-out around the world.

Originally launched in 2005 exclusively as an all-wheel-drive model, the Gallardo gained its first rear-wheel-drive variant in 2009 as a limited-edition super-coupe named in honour of former test driver for the house of the raging bull, Valentino Balboni.

The company then came out with a cheaper standard production coupe, the $399,000 LP550-2, which became the new entry-level Lambo in Australia in 2010.

Now the company has lifted the lid from that car to create the rear-drive Spyder, which is powered by the same slightly detuned 405kW version of the RWD coupe’s 5.2-litre V10, down 7kW on the 412kW V10 of all-wheel-drive models.

As with all Gallardos, the engine is mounted longitudinally behind the passenger cabin, in this case driving the rear wheels via a choice of rear-mounted six-speed manual gearbox or E-gear automated gearbox with steering wheel shift paddles.

Removing the front axle drivetrain chops about 30kg from the Spyder’s overall weight, to 1520kg, but the 2WD Spyder is 0.2 seconds slower from zero to 100km/h than the AWD version, covering the sprint in 4.2 seconds compared with the all-paw Spyder’s 4.0 seconds.

It is also 0.3 seconds slower than the rear-drive Gallardo coupe, which hits the 100km/h mark in 3.9 seconds, thanks mainly to its featherweight 1380kg construction – some 140kg less than the Spyder.

Top speed of the 2WD Spyder is 319km/h – 5km/h slower than the slightly more powerful AWD version.

Lamborghini says it has done extensive modifications to the Spyder to optimise the rear-drive set-up, with changes to both the suspension and aerodynamics.

Automobili Lamborghini president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann said the new Spyder would attract purist drivers with its extra dimension of driving fun.

“This will appeal in particular to a very special group of customers that enjoy a spirited driving style and also like to experience the sheer pleasure of open-air driving,” he said.

So far this year, Lamborghini Australia has sold five Gallardo Spyders, compared with eight to the same time last year.

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