Lamborghini Gets Greener And Leaner

The new Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 is shown during the press day at the 78th Geneva International Motor Show, Tuesday, March 4, 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Motor Show will open its doors to the public from March 6 to 16, presenting over 1,000 brands with more than 130 World and European firsts. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini)
AP Photo/Martial Trezzini
Lamborghini introduced a lighter, faster and greener version of its successful Gallardo at the Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday, as demand for cars with a smaller carbon tire print seeps even into the supersports class.

The sleek Gallardo LP560-4 - low-slung and sleek as a bullet - weighs 44 pounds less than the previous model, and the revamped engine gives up only three-tenths of a second from zero to 62 mph, now 3.7 seconds.

Its carbon emissions have been cut 18 percent and miles per gallon have been increased from 14 last year, to 17.

Lamborghini, based in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, near Bologna, has set a long-term target to cut the carbon emissions of its cars by 40 percent.

CEO Stephan Winkelmann said Lamborghini must balance the drive for reduced emissions 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."

The new Gallardo still emits 325 grams of CO2 for every kilometer, or just over half a mile, compared with an average of 150 to 200 grams in the same distance for a more typical car. But Winkelmann said that is offset by the fact the average Lamborghini is driven just over 3,100 miles a year.

With a top speed of around 200 mph, it can cover a lot of those miles in a hurry.

The reductions were achieved by lessening friction between mechanized gears, improving the power to weight ratio and engine design - drawing on technology from the Volkswagen AG, which acquired Lamborghini in 1998.

Lamborghini hasn't set a timeline to cut emissions by 40 percent, but Winkelmann said the automaker has been working on the issue for some time.

Lamborghini has sold 7,100 Gallardos since its launch in 2003. The new model will be priced near $200,000 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.

Sales in China tripled in 2007 to 30 vehicles, and Winkelmann expected that to double in 2008. But the market in emerging countries, which have become key for the growth of more traditional car makers, has been stymied for sportscar makers because of lousy roads.

"Our cars are very low to the ground," Winkelmann said.