Lamborghini, a renowned maker of sports cars from Italy, launched a lighter, faster and more environment-friendly version of its hugely successful Gallardo. The presentation took place at the Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday.
Gallardo LP560-4, as sleek as a bullet, weighs 20 kilograms (44 pounds) less than the previous Gallardo. Its revamped engine shaved three-tenths of a second off the time it takes to go from zero to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph), now 3.7 seconds.
The new Gallardo also reduced carbon emissions by 18 percent from its predecessor.
While sports cars are not known for being particularly green, Lamborghini - based in its traditional hometown of Sant'Agata Bolognese near Bologna but owned by the Volkswagen group - has set a long-term target to cut the carbon emissions of its cars by 40 percent.
But CEO Stephan Winkelmann said Lamborghini would seek to improve its emissions standards without sacrificing its core value: speed.
"Being a supersports car is all about accelerating and top speed. If you want to go fast you consume, and if you consume, you have emissions," Winkelmann said. "You will never come to the average emissions of average car."
Even with the cut, the car still emits 325 grams per kilometer, compared with an average car of 150 to 200 grams per kilometer. But Winkelmann said that is offset by the fact the average Lamborghini is driven just 5,000 kilometers a year, the AP reports.
The improvements were achieved by working on improving the friction of the mechanized gears, improving the power to weight ratio and engine design - drawing on technology from the Volkswagen AG, which acquired Lamborghini in 1998.
Lamborghini is not setting a target for the 40 percent cut, but Winkelmann said they have been working on the issue for some time.
"Let's say if you want to cut emissions, you don't do it by snapping a finger. It is not a process that started a year ago when the discussion started," he said.
Lamborghini has sold 7,100 Gallardos since its launch in 2003. The new model will be priced at US$198,000 in the United States and Ђ 146,000 in Europe when delivery starts in June. It outsells the more expense and powerful Murcielago by about three-to-one.
Last year, Lamborghini sold 2,400 cars worldwide, up 100 from 2006, and Winkelmann forecasts a jump of another 100 in 2008. He noted that Lamborghini sold about 250 cars a year for the first 40 years of its 45-year history.
Lamborghini's latest model, the Reventón, is one of the fastest and most expensive of the Italian supercars. The company was founded in 1963 by businessman Ferruccio Lamborghini, who owned a successful tractor factory, Lamborghini Trattori S.p.A..
Lamborghini's outrageous supercar models have brought Lamborghini much fame. The Miura, the Countach, the Diablo, and the Murciélago, continue to be some of the most desired super cars of all time. The current (2007) range consists of the Murciélago LP640, the Murciélago LP640 Roadster and the smaller, less expensive Gallardo, Gallardo Spyder and Gallardo Superleggera. All are extremely fast, mid-engined 2-seaters with Lamborghini's standard all-wheel drive systems. Their styling is largely the work of Belgian designer Luc Donckerwolke. Future models may include a rear-wheel-drive version of the Gallardo and possibly an SUV in the spirit of the LM002. The next generation of Lamborghini models will be penned by Walter de'Silva, who designed the 2006 Miura concept car and who replaced Luc Donckerwolke as head of Centro Stile Lamborghini, Lamborghini's in-house design department.