To non-petrolheads, a Pagani Huayra might sound like an obscure vegetable in the latest fad diet. It is, in fact, an ultra-exclusive Italian supercar that makes Lamborghinis and Ferraris look decidedly mainstream by comparison.
When too many of your neighbours are driving Aventadors, Pagani Automobili is who you go to in order to stay ahead in the one-upmanship game. The niche carmaker was founded in 1992 by Horacio Pagani, formerly of Lamborghini, and its first car was the Zonda, launched in 1999.
Only 100 Pagani Huayra Roadsters will ever be built, and two SA owners are among the fortunate few around the world to have bagged one.
Daytona, the local Pagani importer, took the wraps off one of these carbon fibre beauties at the opening of its new super dealership in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, last week.
Pagani occupies a small corner of the new 8,000mdealership, which is also home to the McLaren, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce brands after Daytona moved from its long-serving Sandton facility.
If you could still order a Huayra, this is where you’d choose your colour and trim and personalise the car to your heart’s content.
Like the Zonda it succeeds, the Huayra is powered by a fire-breathing Mercedes-AMG V12 6ltwin-turbo engine, this one producing tarmac-wrinkling outputs of 561kW and 1,000Nm of torque. This gives it the ability to blitz the 0-100km/h sprint in a claimed 2.9 seconds and reach a hair-ruffling 337km/h top speed — making it aptly named after the Incan god of wind, Huayra-tata.
Having the chassis and body constructed almost entirely out of carbon fibre has kept this supercar’s weight down to a fairly lightweight 1,280kg. This roadster’s notable for being the only open-roofed car that weighs less than its closed-roof counterpart, with the Huayra coupe being 70kg heavier.
To keep the weight down there’s no electrically operated roof in the multimillion-rand supercar (Daytona won’t reveal the exact price). Owners get to choose between a hard top or a soft roof that manually clips on when the weather turns bad.
The rear-wheel-drive car incorporates active aerodynamics and is capable of changing the height of the front from the ground and independently operating flaps placed at the rear and front of the car. The rear flaps also act as an airbrake under hard braking.
The cabin of this ultra-exclusive two-seater is decked out in leather and machined aluminium, and the automotive jewellery includes an electronic key in the shape of the car.