Why, you may well ask, is the new Pagani Huayra’s V12 engine turbocharged, given that the Zonda it replaces had a whopping 7.3-litre V12 that was as atmospheric in its breathing as a Brian Eno concert, played in the moonlit halls of Valhalla and beamed back to us mere mortals via an ethereal ISDN link? And why doesn’t it produce even more power than it does (720bhp), considering it’s a 6.0-litre Mercedes V12 to which not one but two Hitachi turbochargers have been attached?
“Because when we went to Mercedes in 2005,” explains Horacio Pagani, “they said the engine would need to be turbocharged if it was to last for the car’s full 10-year life cycle.”
“Initially they suggested a V8 turbo, but I knew our customers wouldn’t want that, so we ended up with a twin-turbo V12. And I’m very happy indeed with the result. The power is excellent,” he says, grinning. “But the torque is incredible. And the best thing is the way it sounds. You wait, you’ll see. And you will not believe it when you hear it.”
The noise the Huayra makes is, as you can quite clearly hear in the first drive video, completely and utterly insane – yet you can’t really hear it from the outside. You can’t really hear from the inside, either, unless you drop a window and give it some pain. But when it comes – when the wind blows, so to speak (the car is named after a South American ancient god of wind who, as legend has it, was well aware of his own sexual prowess) – the range and sheer volume of noise that erupts from behind your left ear is enough to make your heart stop momentarily. It did mine, at least.
There’s not much engine noise as such; instead, there’s just a wild series of whooshes and fizzes from the turbos and their wastegates, all of which have been deliberately engineered in by AMG to keep the driver entertained while keeping the noise meanies happy. Which is what you have to do nowadays if you want to sell a car in the United States, as well as throughout the rest of the world.
Don’t worry, though, because despite being good to go across the pond (unlike the Zonda), the Huayra is still madder than a box of llamas. It wouldn’t be a Pagani if it wasn’t.