Now most of us will never be able to afford a true exotic sports car so for most of us our experience will be confined to water cooler, barbershop, coffee shop or after basketball cool down talk of what is the tightest, best looking, most powerful, or most exotic super car on the planet.
For anyone but true motorheards this conversation will be confined to Ferraris, Aston Martins, and Lamborghinis. But if you want to be the cat to put everyone else up on game???... if you want the conversation to end with YOUR exclamation point then you need to get acquainted with the 2013 Pagani Huaryra.
Yah! I am you can't even pronounce it right. So you don't look like a dyslexic 6th grade special needs child with a stuttering problem it's prounounced "why-rah".
The Huaryra is derived from the name Huayra-tata, a South American wind god and the car is the follow-up to the Zonda, the debut model from the self-taught supercar auteur Horacio Pagani. "Yes", I said "Self-Taught" like Leonardo da Vinci.
The car features an all-new chassis with central monocoque made from titanium-infused carbon fiber. Now... The suspension is "Pure-Race-Car" and we're not talking about a suspension lowering kit you picked up at the local swap meet. We are talking real race car performance... Double Wishbones milled from billets of a copper-rich aluminum alloy called Avional, with pushrod-actuated Ohlins shocks.
The carbon bodywork was styled by Pagani himself, and features active aerodynamics -- flaps at each corner of the car that can move independently and alter downforce according to inputs from sensors that measure speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, roll, and steering angle. The suspension will also automatically lower the nose to increase the car's angle of attack and increase downforce at speed. "DAMN!!! Did you get all that?"
Here's the simple math: The Huayra weighs less than 3000 pounds (dry) and has 720 horsepower. Oh, and it also has more than 737 lb-ft of torque, courtesy of a new 60-degree, 6.0-liter twin-turbo V-12 developed expressly for the car by the engine wizards at AMG, replacing the 7.3-liter naturally aspirated AMG V-12 in the Zonda. The mid-mounted engine drives the rear wheels through a seven-speed, single clutch automated manual transmission built by Xtrac, the British company that makes trannys for F1 cars and Le Mans prototypes.
There was some wrangling over the new engine's configuration. Horacio Pagani didn't like the idea of turbos, and didn't like the naturally aspirated V-8 AMG first proposed as a replacement for the Zonda's 7.3. He wanted a V-12, but AMG engineers were insistent that to meet emissions and fuel consumption standards through the next decade, the engine had to have forced induction. AMG clearly knew what it was talking about. At cruising speeds, the Huayra is one of the most fuel-efficient supercars in the business, says Pagani, brandishing figures fresh from the test lab showing it has achieved 21 mpg (U.S.) on the Euro highway cycle.
Nailing the gas in the Huayra even puts that Big Block Hemi powered Dodge Charger with the bolt on Turbo Charger that your boy brags about around the way . The Huayra's new V-12, codenamed M158 in AMG-speak, will pull cleanly and smoothly from as little as 1000 rpm, but once the tach needle swings past the 2500 mark and the turbos get into their comfort zone, the thrust is epic and utterly relentless all the way to 6000 rpm.
More impressive, is its agility on the winding two-lanes. This is a big car -- 181.2 inches long and 80.2 inches wide, rolling on a 110.2-inch wheelbase -- but its low mass -- it weighs about 200 pounds less than a Ferrari 458 Italia, and a whopping 1300 pounds less than a Bugatti Veyron -- means it darts and weaves through the twisties like Jerry Rice on a crossing route. Factor in that weapons-grade torque and a complete absence of turbo-lag, and the Huayra will destroy a canyon road using only second and third gear.
Pagani currently holds 14 orders for the Huayra from U.S. customers (out of a total of 95 worldwide), its million dollar-plus price tag notwithstanding. Two-stage airbags, is expected to be completed by the end of this year, and the first U.S. spec Huayra is expected to be delivered by mid-2013. Amazingly enough, the car is actually crash resistant too. The carbon/titanium central tub is so strong it has been used in seven crash tests so far, says Pagani proudly. They simply removed the buckled front and rear subframes after each test, and bolted on new ones. Let's see a Ferrari do that?
The Huayra is not a glorified kit car -- fast, but half-baked. It's complete in every aspect of a modern super car. It rides and steers like a real car developed by a real big company with thousands of engineers and a basement full of Supermicro supercomputers at its disposal. Pagani may be tiny -- just 53 people work at the factory at San Cesario sul Panaro, just outside Modena -- but the Huayra is a real car. It has air conditioning and sat-nav and beat... all that you'd expect. It's a car in which you could comfortably drive from New York to Miami, and feel fresh enough for a chilled Ciroc with Diddy before dinner.
But that's not what makes the Pagani Huayra so awe inspiring. What makes it so awe inspiring is that it's the singular product of one man's singular passion. You aspiring artist can relate to this... or any of us with an inspiration to do something great. Here's a few words from Horacio himself that can put the pursuit of artistic perfection in perspective for all of us. "We are a design and research company based on the Renaissance theory of art and science working together," says Argentine-born Horacio Pagani. "That's not our idea -- it's 500 years old. We take our inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci.": part designer, part engineer, mostly self-taught, totally obsessed.
How else could you explain the fact that every one of the Huayra's 1400 titanium bolts has the Pagani logo etched on it (the pre-production bolt set used on the first five cars cost $112,000 -- per car); that Pagani spent nearly $900,000 developing a unique fuel system designed to eliminate the threat of fires in a crash; that the Huayra has a bespoke battery that's 26 pounds lighter than the one used in the Zonda (the old one cost $125, the new one is more than $1800). There are 1001 other examples: The Huayra's detailing and workmanship is simply incredible. It makes a Ferrari look like Mike Tyson in his prime fighting Larry Holmes when he wasn't, and a Veyron like your grandma's Volkswagen.
A Pagani is more than just a car. It is poetry in motion, painstakingly created and beautifully rendered. Some Zonda models are now worth considerably more than what their owners paid for them, which perhaps proves the point that great art always goes up in value. But driving the Huayra is a lot more fun than looking at a painting on the wall.