I recently had a chance to drive a Pagani Huayra, which is a ridiculous, crazy, wild-looking supercar that only gets even more ridiculous and crazy as you start pawing around, checking out the details. It’s incredible, special, insane, and … I spent the day with it.
I borrowed the Huayra from a viewer whose Instagram (@jchwa) you should follow, because he has a Huayra. Do you need any other reason? He invited me to his house in Southern California, he let me borrow the car and then I took it out on the road. It was, in all, a very exciting Sunday.
So here’s my basic overview. The Huayra is a beautiful car — we all know that — but it’s also absolutely amazing in the attention to detail that goes into every single aspect of the vehicle. Here are some examples. The key is contained within an aluminum depiction of a Huayra. To start the car, you pull the key in half and stick the key into a center ignition tumbler; when the car is on, the rear of the car is facing forward, in the center control stack, going in the same direction as your Huayra is.
Here’s another incredible item. Printed on the back of the Huayra, as it is on most cars, is a badge reading the vehicle’s name — "Huayra." However, the Huayra’s badge is made from aluminum, and it’s machined out of a solid block of aluminum. They give you the remainder of the solid block of aluminum in a wooden box, which is then signed by Horacio Pagani, the company’s founder. It’s incredible.
But I’ve covered all of the amazing details in the video above, and now it’s time to cover the rest of the car in a bit more detail. So here’s the situation: Pagani made just 100 units of the Huayra coupe, which is the one I drove, before adding a Huayra Roadster and a more powerful Huayra BC. The Huayra is powered by a twin-turbo Mercedes-AMG V12, the same engine in the SL65 AMG — though it’s tuned for even more power in the Pagani, where it puts out 730 horses and 738 lb-ft of torque. The car can hit 230 miles per hour, and it does 0-to-60 in something like 2.8 seconds. It’s amazing.
And, really, it’s amazing on the road. You climb into the interior and you’re surrounded by a cabin that basically resembles nothing you’ve ever seen, with aluminum all around you, and airplane-style switches, and gorgeous leather upholstery, and a hole in the middle of the seat that nobody seems to be able to figure out (hint: it’s explained in the video). The gear lever might just be my favorite part; even though it’s a sequential manual transmission, meaning it has no clutch pedal, Pagani has perfectly replicated the feel of a gated shifter, and it just feels wonderful to move up and down. The feedback is perfect, the sound is perfect, the look is perfect.
Oddly, though, the gear lever connects to my least favorite part about the car — the transmission. As amazing as the Huayra is, it’s let down by its sequential manual transmission, which rudely interrupts the car’s amazing power delivery with lurchy, slow shifts. Pagani says they went with the simpler sequential manual when the Huayra came out back in 2012 to save weight over a dual-clutch transmission, but it was probably the wrong decision; the market has since gone almost entirely to dual-clutches, and the Huayra’s shifting feels crude by comparison.
But that’s the sole downside. The upside is the power delivery, which is truly incredible. The Huayra sounds and feels like no car I’ve ever driven before; it feels like an angry serpent or dragon has been unleashed behind you, and now it’s sending you forward with rocket force. I drive a lot of exotic cars, but I’m honestly having trouble describing the power delivery on this one. It’s just absolutely, incredibly, wildly angry. It seems like the car could accelerate forever.
And, indeed, it does accelerate forever, because the power delivery just keeps coming and coming and coming. Whatever angry force is behind you is pushing you along at what feels like an increasing rate, even though you’re going at higher speeds, until you finally want to take a break. It feels like it will never take a break.
Handling, too, is excellent. Although I didn’t push the car through too many curves, I was able to experience the fantastic steering weight and direct feel, and it felt like the kind of vehicle that makes you feel like a superstar, even though you’re not. It’s well-balanced, steering is quick and the car is completely flat in cornering.
In short, it’s basically everything. It’s insanely fast; it’s beautiful in every respect; it handles well; it drives well; it feels great. But is it worth $3 million? Although the original MSRP of the Huayra was somewhere north of $1 million, these have now come up in value to the point where they’re selling for a lot more than that, like many low-volume exotic cars. And while that’s obviously an enormous amount of money, you’re paying for one of the most special, exclusive, amazing cars in the world. If you have the money, you’d do it. You know you would.