Pagani has unleashed a maelstrom of photos and info on its new supercar, the Huayra. (And here we thought “Touareg” was hard to pronounce.) The name is taken from Huayra Tata—the god of wind among the Aymara people of South America—and here is the car in an electrifying nutshell: 690 hp, 738 lb-ft of torque, enough exotic materials to build five Ferraris, and looks that are, well, remarkably restrained for Pagani.
For those unfamiliar with the brand, Pagani is the brainchild of former Lambo and race-car designer Horacio Pagani. The company’s sole product to this point has been the Zonda supercar, which debuted more than a decade ago and was spun off into multiple variants, each seemingly more hard-core than the last. Given that only a handful were produced each year, every Zonda model was a limited edition, and among the most recent iterations were the Zonda Tricolore—a tribute to Italy’s version of the Blue Angels—and the Zonda R—a track-only, carbon-fiber monster propelled by 739 hp and 524 lb-ft of torque.
What every Zonda had in common: a Mercedes-sourced V-12 and absolute unavailability in the United States. That car’s replacement, this Huayra, will continue to use a Merc powerplant, but it also will be the first Pagani to be sold on our shores, and was engineered specifically with American safety regulations in mind. No word yet on pricing—figure on something around the cost of a small skyscraper—or when U.S. sales will commence.
An AMG Heart Beats Within
About that engine. Cradled by a chrome-moly subframe and surrounded by reams of carbon fiber, the mid-engined Huayra’s motivator is a 60-degree AMG-sourced twin-turbo 6.0-liter V-12, and its output bears repeating: 690 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. (The engine was developed specifically for this car and isn’t cut-and-pasted from any AMG model. Don’t expect a similar deal with any other manufacturers, however, as AMG head Ola Källenius recently told us this arrangement with Pagani is singular in nature.) Two side-mounted radiators feed the intercoolers, which are positioned above the cylinder heads and utilize covers that function as overflow tanks for engine coolant. Lubrication is accomplished via a dry-sump system.
The V-12 exhales through a titanium exhaust system claimed to weigh less than 22 pounds; we can’t wait to hear it, as Pagani says the setup has been tuned for a rumble at idle and to be reminiscent of aircraft at speed. The transmission is a single-clutch sequential seven-speed unit supplied by Xtrac. Pagani says it explored a dual-clutch box, but determined that quicker shift speeds would be canceled out by the fact that it would weigh some 150 pounds more. As to overall weight, the Huayra is claimed to weigh 2976 pounds dry, with 56 percent of that on the rear axle. We figure the car will weigh 3200 pounds ready to run, or about the same as a Corvette Z06, and we also estimate 0-to-60-mph, 0-to-100-mph, and quarter-mile times of 3.0, 6.2, and 10.8 seconds.
Looks Like a Pagani—Albeit a Slightly Underwhelming One
The Huayra is immediately recognizable as a Pagani thanks to elements like the Zonda R–esque headlamps (here fitted with additional LED running lights) and the now-signature center-exit quad exhaust, which is comprised of two sets of stacked pipes at the midline of the rear fascia. The carbon-fiber monocoque was specifically designed for weight savings; all air ducts and vents were molded directly into the structure, for example, which means fewer separate parts were needed. The Huayra was conceived with the aerodynamic principles of a wing in mind, but don't worry—it's an upside-down wing, which helps the car better stick to the ground rather than take flight, Mercedes-Benz CLR GT1—style. The front ride height adjusts dynamically, and there are active control flaps at each corner of the car that adjust based on speed, yaw rate, lateral g’s, steering angle, and throttle position. The idea, Pagani says, is to keep the car neutral and minimize body roll in all conditions.
We can’t get over the fact, however, that the Huayra looks a little, well, boring. It’s sleeker than the outgoing Zonda, with a less upright windshield and a more flowing profile, but it has a bit of generic supercar about it. The wheels are spectacular, however, and you can bet that the car will gain more exciting addenda such as splitters, wings, and ducts—movable flaps replace a rear spoiler on this debut model—as the small Italian company begins to churn out Huayra variants. Check out the Zonda’s evolution from the 1999 original to the wilder models of the recent past for a template.
But where the exterior conveys a sense of restraint, the method of entry hints at the extravagance within. Lift the Huayra’s dramatic gullwing doors, and you’re greeted by a symphony of leather, carbon fiber, polished metal, and stitching that’s every bit as striking as the exterior isn’t. All primary controls have been moved to the steering wheel, as seems to be the current fashion among the supercar set. Two jet-engine-shaped vents sit atop a center stack crafted from a single hunk of aluminum and lined with a row of toggle switches. The door panels are things of beauty, with their leather pulls, aluminum accents, and exposed carbon. A touch screen controls the audio and navigation systems, among other functions. The automatic transmission’s gear lever was designed, the company says, as a “monument to the art of the manual gearshift” and as evidence of “progress that does not deny the past”; this is perhaps the dumbest thing we’ve read all week. Still, even in pictures, the interior is pretty breathtaking.