After months of spy photos, teasing and speculation, small, Italian supercar-maker Pagani introduced its newest car last week. The all-new Huayra (God of the wind) will take over the reigns from the Zonda, Pagani's previous flagship. The is upgraded from bumper to bumper with more power, curvier looks and some unique performance upgrades.
The Huayra has taken a beating from auto journalists and bloggers and from the public at large for its looks. But, personally, if I had the choice between a Zonda and a Huayra. I'd take the Huayra. Every time. I might not be able to pronounce it at the dealer (I've seen no less than three versions of the already difficult pronunciation), but I'd point to it with my finger and drive it out of there.
And that decision would be based largely on looks, not just performance. The Zonda always looked to me like an awkwardly-adapted race car that was slightly modified for the road. Its look was unrefined, boorish and not nearly as sexy as its spec sheet. And there were parts--say the flat rear fascia--that just made me think Pagani ran out of time.
The Huayra, in contrast, looks more refined and more sculpted. It's curvier from the front, back and sides and is an all-around more attractive supercar. In my opinion at least. No it's not perfect--the front fascia is overly prominent and awkward--but it's a big step forward. And the gullwing doors put the exclamation point on that step.
Anyway, you could make your own judgment on looks, but if you like it more than everyone else, you're not alone. Onto the hard facts...
The Huayra features a Mercedes AMG engine that Mercedes' performance division built specifically to Pagani's specifications. That engine is a bi-turbo 6.0-liter V12 unit that puts out 700 horses. Or if you crave a few more ponies, you can get the Huayra Sport with 730 hp. In terms of twist, the Huayra puts out 737 lb-ft--or 811 lb-ft in Sport tune. The engine is mated to a seven-speed paddle-shift transmission designed by XTRAC.
The Huayra's hulking V12 engine is only part of the story. Pagani breaks the 3,000-lb. barrier with a 2,976-lb. curb weight thanks to a variety of lightweight pieces like the carbon-titanium tub and composite components. The car helps to channel its impress power efficiently with the help of automatically adjusting air flaps. Four flaps adjust to the current speed and conditions to maximize grip, handling and acceleration.
All that technology equates to an expected 230-mph top speed and a 3.3-second sprint to 62 mph. Both numbers are improvements over the Zonda.
In short, the car's an Italian masterpiece. And like other Pagani masterpieces, it won't come cheap. Though the price isn't finalized yet, reports are putting it around $1.3 million. And the American dollar figure is relevant, because unlike the Zonda, the Huayra will be sold in the U.S.
We hope to fill in some of the details (solid performance numbers, pricing, availability) when the car debuts at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show next month. Until then, we can only stare and admire.