Rumor has it Automobili Lamborghini SpA is preparing one final edition on their entry level V10 Gallardo model, originally introduced back in 2003 as a 500 hp V10 model that over the last decade evolved into a 570 hp model, still with the impressive V10 engine behind the driver.
A lot of information is being kept secret at Sant'Agata about a model to succeed the Gallardo, which is without a doubt the most successful Bull ever, so replacing it will not be an easy task, especially not with expectations set high after the Aventador took over the reign from the Murciélago as the flagship in the line-up.
The V12 model already received a lot of firm orders, delivery times are nearly 24 months these days, but a new V10 model has to bring in even more orders if you compare the Murciélago and the Gallardo, the latter outselling the V12 majesty nearly 3 to 1 ... so whatever Lamborghini comes up with the replace the Gallardo will have to be great, and I'm sure it will be ... but putting something like that together takes time ... and time on the Gallardo is running out.
In 2013 we will see the Gallardo celebrate a decade of production, it still looks good in LP560-4 or LP570-4 trim, but we have to be honest ... the major competition from Maranello looks very good, and I think the Gallardo is having a hard time competing with it right now, also cars from McLaren, Porsche and other super cars in the €200,000 bracket are getting ahead of the game, so a successor for the Gallardo is due as soon as possible ... however the latest information mentions 2014 as a release date for a totally new V10 model.
This means Lamborghini has to keep selling a Gallardo model for the next year or so, still competing against newer and more evolved competitors ... so it would make sense to create one more step in the evolution of the V10 model, some kind of ultimate Gallardo to show the world the Raging Bull is still one step ahead of the competition ...
If the rumor we hear is correct it will not be yet another limited edition model with some new shades or decals ... the Gallardo Ultimo (a name I made up!) will also receive a power increase to have it back on the top of the performance scale in its market segment.
So will Lamborghini make a final effort and change the Gallardo cosmetically too, or just pull some more power from the V10 engine? I honestly don't know, but it would be nice if a little styling was added to the car together with say 10 or 20 hp more ... we already have the LP570-4 Superleggera and the limited edition Super Trofeo Stradale, also with 570 hp, so I guess we are looking at 580 or 590 hp for this ultimate Gallardo model.
I don't think they will go as far as creating a Gallardo LP600-4 Ultimo, that would be too much as most of the information we've already found on the successor talk about a 600 hp V10 model with no manual gearbox option, so I think it would be a mistake marketing wise to put 600 hp in the outgoing model ... a new model will always have to offer more power compared to its older sibling.
However another rumor we picked up mentions an additional version of the Super Trofeo Stradale, this time with rear wheel drive only ... sounds great if you know what you are doing in the driver's seat, but having 570 hp on those wide wheels at the back only might scare some 'less experienced' drivers, so I don't think this will be the case.
One last model in the already extensive Gallardo range to bridge the gap until a real successor can take over ... it might just be what the doctor ordered ... and I think we might even be seeing it in Paris in a month. Think about it: the Aventador Roadster still doesn't have any production space at the moment, due to the earthquake in Italy delivery of the regular Aventador has been delayed, the MY2013 models are probably only getting shipped toward December 2012, so adding a Roadster would make things even worse.
However putting a modified Gallardo model onto the production line would not delay the Aventador line in any way ... so from a production point of view it might be a perfect solution, from a customer point of view ... well I think many people have money burning in their pockets to get an open top Aventador (especially after seeing the new spy shots) while others are waiting for a new V10 model for some time now ... we'll have to wait and see which route Lamborghini will take, but judging from the fact no test mules or spy shots have been published on a V10 successor I think it will be 2014 at least before we see any kind of concept or production model to become the new 'small' Lamborghini.