Pagani Huayra Review (Autocar UK)

Petron, that local oil company that loves exotic cars so much they give away scale models, just recently teased the “hypercar Pagani.” Now we don’t know if they intend to bring one into the country, because, so far, there isn’t one here yet, or they just want to give away scale models.

Whatever the motive of Petron, since they mentioned the Pagani, we decided to pick up some reviews from our London counterparts and share them with you, our beloved readers, just so you know what a Pagani is.

Here is the first of three reviews of Pagani models.

The Pagani Huayra is the supercar that 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 Mercedes-AMG, the rear-wheel-drive Huayra is one of the world’s fastest, most advanced, and arguably most exclusive supercars. Just 20 were made at the company’s tiny factory in Modena in 2012, after which production reached 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.

Pagani can’t be accused of resting on their well deserved laurels, and have the Huayra BC in the pipeline which consists of a carbonfibre and titanium monocoque, but also they have fettled with the 6.0-litre V12 as well, with the BC punching out 739bhp – a cool 19bhp more than the standard car. Pagani also insists that the BC shares only its roof panel with the Huayra with which it shares its name.

In the flesh the Pagani Huayra 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 Bugatti Veyron-plus category. Genuinely.

In truth, however, the Huayra 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 720bhp and 737lb ft under your right foot, the latter available as a flat peak between 2250-4500rpm.

What makes the Pagani Huayra 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.

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 Huayra.

Another aspect that elevates the driving experience above and beyond the regular supercar norm is the Huayra’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.

As for the inside the Huayra is similar to the Zonda it suceeds in that it is full of swathes of fine leather and expensive metals, with the interior dominated by the handsome and clean aluminium dashboard. On the equipment front Pagani has kept it simple with a multi-functional steering wheel, paddle gear shifters, a simple set of conventional air conditioning controls, and a infotainment system which dominates the main console complete with Bluetooth and sat nav. The BC is a different beast and a more performance derived machine, hence Pagani’s insistence ‘less is more’, so they have saved weight where they can, given a black interior, a suede steering wheel, and an electronic parking brake.

The Pagani Huayra costs more than three-quarters of a million pounds once taxes are factored in. 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 McLarenPagani’s order books are full for the next three and a half years. Some order book. But then the Huayra is truly some car.

The author is a certified motorhead and has been a journalist for the past 30 years. He will be a journalist all his life. He thinks he is famous and his mother agrees. His father has another opinion on that matter.
Email him at irapanganiban@wheelsph.com