What a rush, I tell you! If you’re one to scoff at the idea of a 2-wheel drive Lamborghini, you ought to get behind the wheel of the new LP 550-2 and belt the thing down a race track. I did just that, on the Shanghai F1 circuit and the raging Bull galvanised every hair follicle I had!
Think blood rushes, because that’s what the 550 causes when you shift up and stomp on the throttle. The engine whooshes like the opening of a dam’s sluice gates and you are pinned to the seat. The pace picks up and your facial muscles automatically contort into a shakey smile. Before you know it, you’re approaching the braking marker, always too fast for the Lamborghini instructor sitting beside you, who’s already clawing at the door in panic — and all of this with the Corsa mode switched off. Brake hard and your innards are flung forward, though you’re held in place by those seat belts. Before your intestines emerge through your ribcage, you attack the corner, trying to remember what racing lines are all about.
But the LP550-2 goes beyond going fast, er, fast. It’s about the whole package — the style that goes along with the performance. Step out of the car, and what greets you is a brilliant specimen of kinetic sculpture. Every bulge, every line and every panel oozes speed and air-slashing sharpness. The design speaks to you, not with subtle hints but with an unabashed in-your-face attitude. It’s aggressive, strong and something that demands serious respect. I was gazing at a poster of a white car shot before a stark white background and it did something that no other car could ever pull off. It stood out, white on white; it almost jumped at me.
The LP550-2 is a rear wheel driven car, and the live axle offers a locking effect of up to 45 per cent limited slip. This translates into optimum transfer of torque, and coupled with the tweaked ESP setup, offers supreme driving performance. If you thought converting a four-wheel driven Gallardo into the 550-2 was simply ditching the live front axle, you couldn’t be more wrong. Everything’s been analysed and worked upon accordingly, and the springs, dampers and stabilisers have all been customised for the 550-2. Heck, Pirelli has even developed the tyres — 235/35 ZR 19 up front and 295/30 ZR 19 at the rear — specifically for the LP.
On the other hand, for people like me who’ve briefly sampled the kick of a raging Lamborghini bull, it’s like getting your first tattoo. The experience gets into your skin, inking it permanently for the world to see. It stays with you till the very end. The bull brands you for life. (The writer was on a media invite from Lamborghini to drive the LP 550-2 in Shanghai, China)