Our tame racing driver helps kicks off Evans's CarFest motor show...
You are here
The Top Gear car review:Pagani Huayra
For:Insane interior, active aero, sheer performance
Against:It genuinely will frighten some people silly
What we say:
Pagani's done it again, and followed up the excellent Zonda with the tremendous Huayra
What is it?
For a start, it’s pronounced ‘H-wire-ah’, it’s the successor to the almighty Pagani Zonda and it’s named after a South American wind god called Huayra Tata. A mid-engined hypercar with a better power-to-weight ratio than a Bugatti Veyron SS, the 1,350kg Huayra uses a 6.0-litre AMG-sourced 60-degree V12 with two turbos to produce 700-ish bhp and 728lb ft of torque. Translation? Zero to 62mph in less than 3.5 seconds and ‘over’ 230mph. There’s a seven-speed sequential driving the rear wheels only, and the ‘box is interesting in that it isn’t a dual-clutch: Horacio Pagani believed that the increase in weight (70kg extra) over a normal sequential wasn’t the kind of trade-off he wanted to make.
Another interesting fact about the Huayra is the fact that it employs four aerodynamic airbrake-type flaps at the corners of the car to maximise downforce and minimise drag depending on yaw, throttle position, steering angle and braking force. It also has gullwing doors and a titanium exhaust. In fact, the Huayra is just one big conversation piece.
At first, the Huayra is intimidating. The weight-saving sequential gearbox is clunky and it doesn’t like going slowly. So, well, don’t. And that’s easily fixed: the engine is absolutely mental. The car feels, and sounds, like a literal explosion, as soon as you hit the throttle. It’s fast enough to make you squeak. For very good reason are those airbrake flaps there, believe us. It’s perhaps not ultimately as fast as a Veyron, but boy, does it feel it. In this mind-warp rush, it’s easy to forget other aspects: luckily, the dynamics are also excellent: it feels relatively small, rides brilliantly and has excellent steering feel. An astonishing, breathtaking car to drive.
On the inside
This is where the Huayra really scores, because this Pagani’s interior could be dropped into an art museum and it wouldn’t look out of place. The seats look like space-age saddles, the instrument binnacle looks almost organic and the exposed gate of the sequential ‘box is a thing of beauty. It has the drama you expect from a car at this price level, neatly occupying territory reserved for both technology and classic performance cars. It’s like Dunhill force-fed an Apple Store.
You’ll need the best part of a million quid to own one, and prices are likely to rise simply because the Huayra will be in limited supply. Horacio Pagani never intended to produce so many Zondas (not that there are that many in the world), but demand was so strong he was obliged to continue. There’s a sense that the Pagani is the choice of someone who doesn’t care what other people think and is more interested in the passion and brilliance of this particular motorcar. The phrase ‘future classic’ really doesn’t do the Huayra justice.