Pagani: Don't Rule Out an SUV and Manuals Will Return

Watch our interview with founder Horacio Pagani for details on these topics and more.

Alex LeanseWriterBrandon LimPhotographerRobin TrajanoPhotographer

Our headquarters was recently graced by the presence of a true living legend: Horacio Pagani. Better still, he brought along some of his finest creations, like the very first Zonda ever, a one-of-three chop-top Zonda Barchetta, and the new Huayra Roadster BC. A local owner brought his own Huayra BC for display, too. We opened the event to nearby MotorTrend On Demand video subscribers, but let our far-flung social-media followers be part of the fun by submitting questions for Horacio. With his son Christopher providing translation, we learned some interesting—and potentially controversial—details about Pagani's future cars from the mastermind behind the brand. Watch the full interview in the video and read about what the revelations mean for the Pagani brand below.

There May Be a Pagani Sedan or SUV

Bentley did it. Lamborghini did it. Rumor is even Bugatti might do it. The market for high-performance luxury SUVs continues to expand, and that hasn't gone unnoticed by Pagani. Horacio confirmed that there's no plan for one in the company's product roadmap through 2025, but beyond that, "you can never say for sure." He seemed to suggest he'd relish the design and technical tasks such a project would present, saying "All these things are beautiful challenges to deal with, in the end." Purists might bemoan potential brand dilution, but it's impossible to overlook the business case for building a vehicle outside of the two-seat hypercar form factor. Regardless, we're confident Horacio will ensure it's a worthy addition to his product lineup.

On Saving the Manuals…

"Yes." One can't ask for a more definitive answer than that, and it's what Horacio provided when asked if manual transmissions will return to his cars. While a stick shift was standard for the Zonda, the Huayra switched exclusively to a paddle-shifted gearbox, a point of contention for some Pagani customers. Horacio listened, saying, "The manual transmission will come back because our clients want it." A true three-pedal setup will apparently be available on the brand's next-generation flagship, code-named C10, of which details are scant other than that it'll be (naturally) carbon-fiber-intensive and feature…

…and the V-12s

…a V-12 engine. Mercedes-AMG is the longstanding engine supplier for Pagani, sending its finest hand-assembled 12-cylinder engines down from Affalterbach to San Cesario for installation into Zondas and Huayras. That's particularly noteworthy, as, due to emissions constraints and customer preference, not even AMG will continue with V-12-powered cars. We previously reported that the engine seen in the Roadster BC, the so-called M158 Evo, was originally destined for the C10. Crucially, it complies with international emissions standards for the time being, so would be able to carry the Pagani V-12 tradition into the future—but maybe not forever.

Electric Horizons

To that extent, Horacio verified that development of an electrified Pagani is underway. "We have a team that has been working on the project for a number of years," he said. This shouldn't come as a surprise; electric power continues to proliferate across the upper echelons of automotive performance. What's less clear is how Horacio spoke about this project within the context of the aforementioned C10. He refers to it as a "new platform" that will succeed the Huayra, so perhaps C10 will incorporate distinct V-12 or all-electric vehicles. Whatever the case, Horacio is committed to "Work[ing] seriously to make a vehicle with important technical components, and not be taking parts off a shelf" so it can "generate emotion and in some way speak our language and philosophy." Given what we know about electric-car performance, generating pure speed should be easy. Whether such a powertrain can deliver emotional response befitting the Pagani marque remains to be seen.

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