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
Ok, so it’s good for dynamics, but rubbish at slow-speed stuff. Which does raise a few eyebrows at first. Happily, the dynamics are impressive, which helps. You can see out of the car, it feels relatively small, rides brilliantly and has excellent steering feel. It also manages to absorb bumps with a liquid softness that inspires confidence and manages a lack of roll without a spine-cracking ride. Which is nice. It also refuses to try and bite your arm off, even with the ESP switched off, though this is still a 730bhp car that weighs 1350kg. Be warned people, third gear wheelspin is eminently possible.
But that’s all a bit by-the-by as soon as you hit the throttle. Because the engine is absolutely, one-hundred percent mental. Boost is hard and insistent, and the car sounds like a literal explosion. It’s not pretty, or operatic, but it is something you can’t help wanting to experience again and again. And again. Dumpvalves choosh, exhausts hum, things whine. It’s like an exploding jet engine. With a gearbox.
It’s also fast enough to make you squeak, though it does get a little light at silly speeds, and when it decides to oversteer – which it does eventually – the boost makes it much harder to guage accurately than the Zonda. Not that I ever managed to guage that very accurately either, it has to be said. The flaps operate above 50mph, and act as airbrakes and stabilisers, though on the roads I was on it was hard to figure out if they were doing anything too specific. Later on the motorway, I’m sure they helped stability in hard braking from high speed, but I’d need to hit a track to figure out the finer points – the Huayra is too fast for extended full-bore runs on a public road. Anyone who tells you different should think about the size of the accident you’d likely have, and how much of Italy you’d scrape off the map.
For the full pictures and story, you need the next issue of Top Gear magazine – out 20 June 2012