Horacio Pagani is a small, neat man with a shock of carefully groomed silver hair, owlish wire-framed glasses, and a penchant for quoting Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. He also builds one of the most singular supercars in the world.
The Pagani Zonda made its debut at the 1999 Geneva show, and impressed with its performance, quality, and surprisingly well-sorted chassis and powertrain. The Pagani Huayra — it’s pronounced “h-wire-a” — is the long-awaited successor to the Zonda. And the good news is, despite a last-minute hitch over two-stage airbags, this 230-mph road rocket will be sold in the U.S. The first cars — Pagani took 12 orders for the $1.2-million (base price) Huayra over the Pebble Beach weekend — are scheduled to arrive in 2013.
The Huayra is powered by a mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 specially built by AMG for Pagani that develops more than 700 hp and 740 lb-ft of torque. The drive is fed to the rear wheels via a transverse seven-speed, single-clutch automated manual transmission built by Xtrac.
The Huayra features an all-new chassis with a central monocoque made from titanium-infused carbon fiber, and the wheelbase has been stretched 2.8 inches over the Zonda’s. The suspension is pure race-car stuff: control arms made from a copper-rich aluminum alloy called Avional, with pushrod-actuated Ohlins shocks. The carbon brakes are by Brembo–air is ducted through the intercoolers to warm them in winter — and the tires are PZeros specially developed by Pirelli to cope not only with the Huayra’s top speed, but its ability to pull 1.5 g through corners.
The carbon bodywork was styled by Pagani himself, and features active aerodynamics–flaps at each corner of the car that can move independently and alter downforce according to inputs from sensors that measure speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, roll, and steering angle. The suspension will also automatically lower the nose to increase the car’s angle of attack as well as downforce at speed.
The Huayra’s fit and finish, and attention to detail, exceed the astonishing standards Horacio set with the Zonda. The exposed shifter linkage alone belongs in an art museum. The instrument dials are made from the same material Patek Philippe uses to make watch faces; a set of four costs nearly $9000. There are 1200 titanium bolts on the car. They cost 80 bucks. Each.
The Huayra, says Pagani, is inspired by the idea of a roadgoing jet, and he’s spent a lot of time tuning the turbocharged V-12’s intake noise so it sounds like an F-15 spooling up when you get on the gas.
Drive the Huayra hard along a mountain road and it whistles and shrieks and psssshhttts like a psychotic calliope. It sounds like no other automobile, which is appropriate, because more than Enzo’s Ferraris or Ferrucio’s Lamborghinis, the Pagani Huayra is one man’s magnificent obsession writ large — a truly unique fusion of art and technology.
Base price $1.2 million (est)
Vehicle layout Mid-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe
Engine 6.0L/700-hp (est)/740-lb-ft (est) twin-turbo DOHC 48-valve V-12
Transmission 7-speed auto-cl manual
Curb weight 3000 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 110.2 in
Length x width x height 181.2 x 80.2 x 46.0 in
0-60 mph 3.4 sec (est)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ Not yet rated
ON SALE IN U.S. 2013
October 06, 2011
By Angus MacKenzie