It took Horacio Pagani and his team of detail-obsessed engineers and designers seven years, 10 design models, five heavily camouflaged prototypes, and more than 300,000 miles of testing (including in rigorous conditions at Death Valley and the Arctic Circle) to craft the all-new Huayra.
Wait, how do you pronounce that again? The key is to say it slowly, preferably with a distinct Argentine accent: WHOOO-AYY-RAH. You’d better get used to saying it, because this meticulously engineered ride will be coming our way soon.
The moniker is derived not from Italian, nor is it from Pagani’s native Spanish. Like the name of his other creation, the much-drooled-over Zonda, it references ancient South American culture. According to the Aymara people, Huayra Tata is the deity of all things pertaining to wind, who could lift water, move earth, and basically shape the world. When he wasn’t doing such things, he was calm and quiet, and provided for his subjects. The car, says Pagani, shares the god’s powerful personality.
Fables aside, the hand-assembled 700-horsepower Huayra is as complex. Every spare-no-expense detail was carefully measured to avoid negative performance consequences. Crafting a lightweight vehicle was key, but it also had to be rigid, safe, powerful, and environmentally conscious (yes, even a car like this).
Designers penned a sleek cab-forward vehicle that is aerodynamically efficient and respectful of traditional Pagani traits. The front and rear ends are dominated by the brand’s large ellipses. Character lines begin at the bi-xenon headlamps and finish at the LED brake lights. A deep cut begins aft of the front wheels to create a gaping intake ahead of the wide Pirelli rubber.
But the shape doesn’t just entice the eye. It acts as a giant wing that directs air to control body roll. Four aero flaps located on each corner work cohesively with the active suspension to maximize downforce and minimize drag over any road surface at any speed. The Huayra’s ECU and ABS controller send data such as speed, yaw rate, steering angle, lateral acceleration, and throttle input to the flaps’ unique ECU, which, in turn, changes their angles.
To better understand the complex setup, Pagani gives an example of a Huayra under hard braking: The rear flaps and front suspension rise, negating the weight transfer to the nose and improving the car’s balance and brake usage. The whole process is accomplished in milliseconds.
You’ll notice no wings on the Huayra. For a cleaner look, designers implemented more active aero flaps at the rear that are also highly effective at controlling wind. In the nose, the twin radiators are angled to aid downforce while feeding gobs of cool air to the intercoolers.
Keeping the Huayra planted also meant tapping Pagani’s longtime pals at Pirelli and Oehlins. Pirelli’s crew developed a custom P Zero tire capable travelling at speeds of up to 230 mph that can also withstanding lateral forces of more than 1.5 g. Oehlins’ highly responsive adjustable push-rod dampers were bolted to forged aluminum control arms to shed further pounds.
Every inlet and outlet on the bodywork cools critical components or relieves air pressure. Side inlets chill brakes and hubs but can also warm them in cold climates. Outlets behind the front wheels extract pocketed air and hunker the car down ever farther. Two negative pressure zones sculpted into the sealed underbody and a diffuser direct air out from the Huayra’s backend.
In the middle of all the state-of-the-art aerodynamics sits a carbon-titanium monocoque fit for two passengers. According to Pagani engineers, carbon-titanium is stronger and lighter than traditional carbon fiber. (And it likely costs a lot more dough.) The team then constructed the gull-wing doors to be as stiff as possible. Behind the driver sits a 22.5-gallon fuel tank encapsulated by featherweight reinforced composites and ballistic materials. Every component meets European and American safety regulations and was put through supercar-specific crashes (meaning done at very high speeds), Pagani says.
The fuel tank feeds a monstrous twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 set at a properly balanced 60-degree angle. In Pagani trim, the hand-built M158-series Mercedes-AMG mill outputs 737 pound-feet of torque and is tuned for immediate throttle response and minimal turbo lag.
As you can imagine, the engine sports some pretty impressive specifications. There is a dry-sump lubrication system to regulate oil flow; an oil/water heat exchanger that warms pertinent fluids; and a two-stage fuel supply system that uses one pump during normal driving, while the other actuates another during high stress runs. Hoses have been minimized to cut weight and clutter. The intercooler covers act as expansion tanks for the coolant system. (The little fins on top of the covers help to dissipate heat). The hand-welded rumbling titanium/Iconel exhaust weighs only 22 pounds. Even more impressive, the 2970-pound Huayra meets EU5 and LEV2 emissions.
Xtrac’s transverse mounted seven-speed sequential gearbox with dual-plate clutch (which weighs in at 221 pounds) handles the AMG might. If you’re wondering why there is no dual-clutch setup, Pagani says he considered one, but ditched the idea once he noticed the barely improved shift times would not be worth the added 154 pounds.
Craftspeople lined the interior with classic Pagani bits like leather latches, aviation-inspired toggle switches, and a mechanical aluminum gearshift. The aluminum dash is milled from one solid block of metal and has a multi-function display that offers performance data in Sport Mode and a trip computer in Comfort Mode. Navigation and audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, and other luxury amenities come standard as well. Customers can choose specific hides and bespoke bits, too.
Horacio Pagani remains mum concerning the Huayra’s performance capabilities and starting price, but you don’t have to have a doctorate to know that both will blow you off your feet like a breath of Andean air.