2012 Pagani Huayra Proves There’s Life After the Zonda [w/ Video]
As young as Italian supercar manufacturer Pagani is, it has had a profound impact on the megabuck, megaperformance car landscape. With a normally aspirated AMG-tuned Mercedes-Benz V12 of some form or another mounted amidships, the company’s first production car line – the Zonda – evolved from the more-style-than-sizzle C12 to the full-tilt-track-burner-boogie R over the course of the last decade.
But the curtain has finally come down on the Zonda, and considering what a four-wheeled rockstar it was, the pressure was on Horatio Pagani and his team to make the Zonda’s successor at least as special. They would have to make sure it bore a familial resemblance to the Zonda in terms of design and engineering, while still being a clear step forward in response to marketplace competition and regulatory hurdles. Based on what we know about the car you see here, we say, “Mission accomplished.”
Called the Huayra (the Quechua word for “wind” and the name of a Ford-powered Argentine sports racing car from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s; don’t feel bad, we can’t pronounce it either), Pagani’s new model still gets its motive force from a mid-mounted Mercedes-Benz/AMG V12; this time around, though, it’s a 6.0L twin-turbo unit similar to the one found in the S65 AMG, CL65 AMG and SL65 AMG models. In Huayra trim, it makes in excess of 700hp and 740 lb.-ft of torque. That prodigious power reaches the rear wheels through a new 7-speed double clutch sequential gearbox. Factor in a claimed sub-3,000 lb. curb weight thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber and it’s easy to imaging the journey up to the car’s 230-ish mph top speed should be a quick one.
However, depending on your feelings regarding the styling, it might not be quick enough to outrun its own ugliness. The happy mutant catfish face created by the low, full-width grille and four tiny projector headlights similar to the ones found on every Zonda variant certainly doesn’t lend itself to ambivalence; either you think it looks badass or it looks like something that came out of your ass. Moving around to the side, the profile appears to be a hodgepodge of Zonda and 458 Italia, with a gullwing door on each side for cockpit access. Out back, the centrally-located quad exhaust cluster makes a return, along with a trio of LED taillamps and blinkers per side. Overall, it’s a shape that will take some getting used to.
Inside, though, Zonda owners should feel right at home. The cabin design offers a similar mix of luxury and sportiness through the use of fine leathers, precision-machined billet aluminum, and carbon fiber. And the exposed springs and linkage for the shift lever? Pure engineering porn.
Still not excited? What if we told you that, unlike the Zonda, the Huayra will be street legal in the United States (pending further testing and final approval, of course)? Okay, wipe that silly grin off your face. Then again, you’ll probably be grinning while looking at the slideshow and reading the (Google translated) press release below, so keep smiling, sunshine.