Balboni drives his Lamborghini through the melting snow of the Alps:


Lamborghini Balboni

Lamborghini Balboni

For me, everything about my Lamborghini Gallardo was perfect; the shape, the noise, the devil-may-care attitude, all combine to make nearly 13,000 miles of driving absolutely wonderful.

But I had never gotten around to driving the rear wheel drive Gallardo Balboni, until friend Phillip Airey let me loose in his.

So did Lamborghini get it wrong with the original 4WD Gallardo?  Yes,…and no.

The feeling of driving Philip’s machine is that ecstasy of driving something constructed for no other reason than making you feel immortal.  Six years old, Lambo’s E-gear is more than fast enough, and the Balboni barks through the gears, daring your right foot to press a little harder.



Every up or down shift brings wonderful, intoxicating sounds and it should be illegal to drive this car with the windows up, hearing loss be damned.

Lamborghini Balboni

Lamborghini Balboni

But in my mind I’m considering how understanding the cops will be as I explain how important it was to try and break the tail loose. “Well officer, this is the 2WD, blah, blah, blah…”

Off the line a 4WD Gallardo does 0-60 in 3.2 seconds and the 2WD Balboni version can only manage 0-60 in the high 3’s (this explains why a Bugatti Chiron needs 4WD to hit that speed in 2.5 sec).

But when arguably the world’s most famous test driver decides to hang his name on a particular model he ditches the 4WD and chooses to power the rears because he throws cars around for a living, and it’s probably a better all around performer as a sports car.

On the track, I’m betting those with serious skills are going to love the lighter feeling front that begs a bit of tail wag, but in real life, regular guys like me, bound by lane markers and traffic lights, aren’t even going to notice.

Balboni's autograph

Balboni’s autograph

So why buy a Lamborghini Balboni?  First, they are rare; while Lambo built 14,022 variants of Gallardos, only 250 are the rear wheel drive Balbonis.

Second, if a guy who has test driven sports cars all his life considers the 2WD to be the better performing sports car, who’s going to argue with him?

Third, the stripe is awesome.

Philip Airey and his Lambo

Thanks again to Philip Airey for being generous, as always, with his toys.


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About the Author: Dave Miller

Dave Miller With Lotus GT
Dave Miller drives the fastest, coolest, sexiest cars on the planet. He travels the world uncovering the hidden gems in luxury transportation, meeting the owners, and connecting with extraordinary car enthusiasts. Dave is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and writes for various publications. In addition to, you can follow Dave's adventures via Drive With Dave Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and tune into the Drive with Dave Podcast via iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud.

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