What is it?
The Pagani Huayra is the all-new supercar which replaces the legendary Pagani Zonda that blew our minds and stole our hearts back in 1999. Named after a warm south American wind, the “Why-rah” represents the culmination of seven years hard graft by the 57 employees at Pagani, the project having begun as long ago as 2005.
As Michelangelo once declared; “Beauty is in the details.” And in the Huayra’s case the details are exquisite, even if they have taken a while to make perfect.
Powered by a 6.0-litre, twin-turbo V12 that’s made bespoke for Pagani by AMG, the rear-wheel-drive Huarya is one of the world’s fastest, most advanced, and arguably most exclusive supercars. Just 20 will be made at the company’s tiny factory in Modena this year, after which production will reach the heady heights of 40 cars per year from 2013 – once the new five-times bigger factory has been built, just around the corner from the old one.
What is it like?
In the flesh the Pagani Huarya is breathtakingly beautiful from pretty much every angle, inside and out, and on the road it’s utterly exciting to drive. The highlights include its acceleration (ludicrous), traction (amazing), steering (old school wonderful), braking (immense) and its grip mid corner, all of which are in Veyron-plus category. Genuinely.
In truth, however, the Huarya is nothing like a Veyron to drive. It’s a far more intense car than the Bugatti in every dimension; noisier, edgier, more agile – much more agile – and instantly more exciting on the road.
You need to think very hard indeed about how sharp you’re feeling before pressing the button that turns the ESP and TC systems off, even though the traction is phenomenal considering there’s 730bhp and 738lb ft under your right foot, the latter available as a flat peak between 2250-4500rpm.
What makes the Pagani Huarya so venomous, apart from its monumental outputs? Because at 1350kg (dry) it weighs an entire Caterham Seven less than a Veyron, which means its power and torque to weight ratios are in a very similar league. And then, of course, you must dial in the not inconsequential fact that the Pagani is rear, not four-wheel-drive.
So like I say, you need to be right on top of your game to avoid being blown away completely by what this ferocious car can do. And if it rains, don’t even think about turning the safety systems off. Just leave it in Comfort and let the rest of the world gawp at you instead – which is something that happens pretty much anywhere you go in the Huarya.
Another aspect that elevates the driving experience above and beyond the regular supercar norm is the Huarya’s gearchange, which is surprising given that Pagani has eschewed the current trend towards double clutch gearboxes and instead opted for a single clutch, manually operated auto. The ‘box itself is made by Berkshire-based Xtrac, and there are two reasons why Pagani chose to use it.
One, it weighs 80 to 90kg less than a double clutch. Two, because it’s so much smaller than a DSG it can be mounted transversely instead of longitudinally within the engine bay, which makes the drivetrain in its entirety more compact than it would otherwise be.
Moreover the shift quality itself is pretty stunning, even if you do need to lift momentarily during upshifts to avoid the “thump” that the majority of Pagani’s customers apparently want from the cars they drive (and which is engineered in to placate such desires).
It all adds up to a machine that is, if anything, even more incredible to drive than it is to look at. And when a car looks this heart thumpingly gorgeous (even the most stunning photos fail to do it justice somehow) that’s a very big compliment indeed.
Should I buy one?
The Pagani Huarya costs 840,000 euros (£666,000) plus local taxes, so call it not much change from one million euros to tuck one up on your drive. Is it worth it? Yes. It’s arguably the most exclusive, best looking, best driving supercar there has ever been, Veyron included.
And if you’re serious, get your order in fast – because despite costing four times more than the new McLaren, Pagani’s order books are full for the next three and a half years. Some order book – I make that 80 million Euros and counting. But then the Huarya is truly some car.
Price: £666,000; 0-62mph: 3.2sec; Top speed: 230mph; Economy: na; CO2: na; Kerbweight: 1350kg (dry); Engine: V12, 5980cc, petrol twin-turbo; Installation: Mid-engined, longitudinal; Power: 720bhp; Torque: 738lb ft at 2250-4500rpm; Gearbox: 7-spd robotised automatic