Lamborghini Gallardo says goodbye

An era - or at least an incredibly significant decade - ended this week with the last Lamborghini Gallardo rolling off the assembly line at the factory's Sant'Agata Bolognese facility. Unveiled at the 2003 Geneva Auto Show and currently marketed in over 45 countries around the world, the awesome all-wheel-drive Gallardo stands as the most successful model in the automaker's 50-year history. With production totaling 14,022 units, it has accounted for nearly half of all Lamborghinis produced since the firm was founded in 1963. The final example, (pictured here) turned out to be a Gallardo LP 570-4 Spyder Performante finished in Rosso Mars (red) that will be heading off to a private collector.   

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Styled by Italadesign Giugiaro and available in Coupe and Spyder configurations, this V10-powered Lambo has spawned no fewer that 32 variations on its exotic theme, including lightweight Superleggera models, the rear-drive LP 550-2 Valentino Balboni edition and even a pair of Gallardo Polizia Stradale models still in service with the Italian State Police. The ultimate Gallardo street variant is the limited-edition 2013 LP 570-4 Squadra Corse (also pictured) that packs 562-horsepower from a 5.2-liter engine and borrows a good deal of its technology and lightweight components  from the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo model that competes in the world's fastest single-brand racing series.

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What comes next? Although Lamborghini has yet to reveal the name of the Gallardo's successor - which is rumored to be "Cabrera" - disguised versions of this equally pivotal vehicle have been spotted testing at the Nurburgring. Lamborghini was acquired by the Audi AG division of the Volkswagen Group in 1998 and this new Lambo will be a mid-engine exercise that, like the next-gen R8, will be based on a version of the automaker's Modular Sportscar Architecture. It's expected to debut next March at the Geneva Auto Show

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