Wait Peter, you’re saying, don’t you mean the LP560-4, not LP550-2? Why did the first number drop by 10, and the second by 2? And who is Valentino Balboni?
Well, Lambo has decided to make a lighter, rear-wheel-drive version of its AWD Gallardo. The “2″ indicates the number of wheels driven, and the 550 is the power output for this new, less expensive model. As for Valentino Balboni, it’s called Google – use it.
Though to call this LP550-2 an entry-level model would be to miss the point. I’ll tell you why and show you some spyshots below.
Having gotten into a little discussion of the merits of fine Italian sports car the other night with my friend Tarek, we continued our conversation via e-mail. I was praising the larger and oft-forgotten Ferraris, the 599 and the 612, while simultaneously admitting the superiority of the Gallardo LP560-4 over the F430 (but not the 430 Scud). Tarek, on the other hand was all about the Lambos. So I decided to educate him a bit on the 612, for starters. After I did this, I might have, just maybe, said something about my distaste for the Murcielago. Big mistake on my part. Tarek’s eloquent and loquacious response is after the jump.
During 2008, North American motorists discovered an international reality that we had been held safe from for over thirty years. Gasoline costs money. Rising fuel costs actually impacted North American motorists and we flooded the dealerships searching for vehicles that were more economical to operate.
The result of this panic was an endless supply of SUV’s for a fraction of their apparent value. No one would buy them new or used, at any price. By summer, automakers and dealers had become overstocked with large luxo-barges as consumers opted for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Hybrid sales boomed, as did sales of smaller cars and lighter trucks. We were all singing the praises of the new generation of green vehicles (not the Verde Ithaca green of the LP560 above, mind you) and we began to purchase these regardless of the premium they commanded over their less green alternatives. Then, something odd happened, fuel prices fell about 15%, then 50%. With this perhaps temporary adjustment in fuel pricing, our interest in the new Eco-Box automobiles subsided.
This raises an interesting question. Which shade of green are we really interested in; the green in our wallets or the green in our environment?
It’s December – actually the first December for CarEnvy, and that gives us a unique opportunity: we can be more detached and objective than any other site or magazine because we haven’t driven any of the contenders here. While you might think it odd that we’re giving awards to cars we haven’t driven, you probably haven’t driven them either, and following the industry is beyond an obsession for us so we do have a good idea of what’s good, what’s bad, and what we want. We here at CarEnvy don’t have the luxury of manufacturer invites to press days, but that hasn’t stopped us yet. When the day comes for us to attend such press events, we’ll give you the perspective of the youngest, most Canadian, and most honest individuals around. Until we’re in the shoes of Jeremy, James, and Richard, you’re going to have to make do with our opinions as armchair analysts. Besides, you don’t have to drive a car to want it more than anything.
CarEnvy is about just that, lusting after gorgeous sheetmetal and intoxicating engine sounds. So we’ve decided to find you the most desirable and important cars to hit the streets in 2008 – the Cars Of The Year (COTY). This is not from the perspective of which car is the best to drive or which one handles the best, because we have little first-hand experience. This is a list of winners (and contenders) from eight separate categories based on which one we want the most. Beers were consumed and hours were spent discussing which car would make us the envy of our neighbours and which would have us nursing a semi just by sitting in the drivers seat.
The criteria are simple. The winning car in each category must
- Be desirable
- Be very desirable
- Be more desirable than its competitors without regard for practicality or price (unless needed to break a tie)
- Be sold in Canada in 2008 (but not if #1 and #2 are overwhelming)
- Be cars. We aren’t called TruckEnvy or SUVEnvy.
Madames et Monsieurs, put your hands together for the inaugural CarEnvy COTY Awards.