Symbol of unification

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 August, 2011, 12:00am


Lamborghini has been busy in China. The Italian marque sold 206 cars across the nation last year, a 'growth of 150 per cent over 2009', and 138 units were booked in the first half of this year. Sales are expected to grow with the delivery of 'over 200 ordered' Aventador LP700-4, and last month's opening of its 15th sales outlet in China, Lamborghini Macau, with partner Kam Bo Motors.

Meanwhile, Lamborghini Hong Kong has introduced the Lamborghini Gallardo LP 550-2 Tricolore, which was presented alongside the exclusive and, some might say, elusive Aventador at the Shanghai Auto Show in April.

Hong Kong's wealthy are used to the Gallardo, which the marque says is its highest volume model with 'nearly 11,000 vehicles built'. Yet the HK$3.63 million Tricolore is special, as Lamborghini's limited-edition celebration of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, on March 17.

A hand-painted red, white and green of Italy's tricolour flag runs from the front bonnet, over the roof and the frame of the transparent engine cover to the rear spoiler, on black or white paintwork. There are carbon fibre sills and outside mirror casings, glossy black 'Callisto'' wheels and bumpers in two-tone black and white.

The interior is luxurious in black leather, with a tricolour strip on the driver's seat, stitched lettering and the usual limited-edition plaque.

There are Alcantara touches in the cockpit, tunnel and door trim, and carbon fibre on the steering wheel and the operating console for the e-gear automated manual gearbox.

The 1,380kg supercar has a 5.2-litre, V10 engine that generates 550 horsepower via an e-gear automated manual transmission, and can hit 100km/h in 3.9 seconds, the marque says, citing its top speed of 320km/h.

'The Gallardo LP 550-2 Tricolore is an exceptionally safe sports car to drive,' Lamborghini says, 'thanks to its excellent road manners and perfectly calibrated assistance systems', with rear-wheel drive, 'optimised' stability electronics and 'adjusted' aerodynamics. Options include the navigation system and carbon-ceramic brake system.

Critics might say the Tricolore is just another Gallardo with a fancy paint job, but its rarity enables Italian brand lovers to stand out among the local Lamborghini set and friends at the golf club will know you have arrived.

It is possible to enjoy such performance cars in Hong Kong, as long as you can control their power and anticipate the movements of dense local traffic and our ubiquitous speed-camera-toting police.