First drive: our debut in the Pagani Huayra
18 months since he first saw it, Tom Ford finally gets a go in the mental 730bhp Huayra
Posted: 08 Jun 2012
But we knew all that. I’m here to drive it. It starts gruff and throbby, but not exactly spine-tingling. Turbos rob sound, and even though this is an AMG-tuned 6.0-litre V12, it sounds muted in comparison to the twelve-cylinder hoof of the Zonda. Click first from the exposed sequential gearlever (it has paddles – I totally forgot to use them, such is the beauty of this one element alone), and pull away.
And find that the single-clutch seven speed ‘box is a bit jerky. Whoops. It’s not good at pottering, bluntly. The engine is hugely torquey and it doesn’t suit the single-clutch trying to be smooth. There are reasons: Pagani cites weight, a 100kg saving over a DSG ‘box rated to cope with the Huayra’s 700+lb ft of torque, and also positioning. The gearbox of the Huayra is tucked up behind the engine in a very odd place. Instead of lying lengthways and hanging out behind the rear axle (you’ll often see the casing of a gearbox between the rear wheels of a mid-engined car), it lies transversely across the beam, making a ‘T’-shape with the back of the engine. Now while this might sound like a small thing, it brings the Huayra’s centre of mass nearer the physical centre of the car, making it inherently easier to control. Technically, it centralises the Huayra’s moment of polar inertia, the place around which the car will rotate when enthusiasm gets the better of talent. Which is where we came in.
For the full pictures and story, you need the next issue of Top Gear magazine – out 20 June 2012