Pagani Huayra: Test Drive in Italy – /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS

Pagani Huayra: Test Drive in Italy – /CHRIS HARRIS ON CARS


[SCREECHING TIRES] CHRIS HARRIS: This is the brief
story of our trip to visit Pagani and drive
the Huayra. These are crazy smash-and-grab
raids, really. Shoot what you can, live for the
moment, and a part of me exists purely for this. [AIRPORT NOISES] CHRIS HARRIS: We just
landed in Bologna. And the baggage carousel isn’t
even whirring yet. And I think there’s only
one plane landed. So in fact it’s right beside
the terminal building. So I’m just wondering where our
bags are with 200 other people, having just been thrown
around like a rag doll on BA 666 from Gatwick. Pleasant way to travel,
but I’m excited because you know what? I’m coming to Italy, coming
to [INAUDIBLE] Valley in Bologna, driving
to LeMans. That’s always special. I’ve not been here for a long
time, largely because Ferrari doesn’t run anymore. But that’s another story. So why is it, whenever you book
a hired car, you always book the one with
a massive queue. And then look, there’s Sixt. There’s about four others
down there. Is there someone out there to
check the car over before? HERTZ EMPLOYEE: No. But there are some
marks on it. If you find other marks
just contact us. About those, don’t worry. CHRIS HARRIS: We didn’t get sat
nav because my credit card would have bounced. And being Italian, he told me
that he wouldn’t charge me if there were only small scratches
on the car, which means he will charge me. Rental car bingo– so we don’t
know what we’re going to get. I ticked the box for the
cheapest, cheapest car, of course, as you do. So I’m thinking Fiat Panda,
would you reckon? No? Fiat Panda? MALE SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN):
Yeah, that sounds like a good shot. Maybe we could squeeze all of
our kit and that in the 500. CHRIS HARRIS: OK. Where is Hertz? MALE SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN):
Blip the key. CHRIS HARRIS: Hertz. Hertz. 59. There she is. Panda. Some marks on it? Fucking hell. [LAUGHTER] CHRIS HARRIS: He described it
as some small marks, and it needs reshelling. [LAUGHTER] CHRIS HARRIS: What else
is wrong with it? Look at this. This is why this country’s
brilliant. I just went in there and said,
look, the hired car’s completely knackered, and
it’s got massive damage. So I wrote, big damage. And the guy just said, yeah,
don’t worry about it. From the airport, it’s a
20-minute wobble in the shacked Fiat, then dinner with
the chap who has the fastest name in the world– Luca Venturi, Pagani’s PR man. And wouldn’t you know it, as we
discussed aerodynamics and weight distribution over steak
and balsamic vinegar, test driver Davide Testi– a man with another very,
very quick name– pops by on his way home. The owner of the restaurant
immediately absconds from his duties for a photo
with the car. In fact, everyone photographs
this remarkable-looking machine, including me. And then Davide leaves
as only an Italian test driver can leave. [PUNCHES THE GAS] CHRIS HARRIS: Next morning, it’s
off to the Pagani factory and an introduction from the man
himself, Horacio Pagani, who always talks about his
creations with the zeal and passion of a father displaying
his newborn child. Better still, the tall bloke to
the right is Ola Kallenius, the boss of AMG, which builds
the Huayra’s twin-turbo V12. He was in town to experience
the car for the first time. OLA KALLENIUS: Zonda’s good. This is better. But I have to look at the fine
print of my contract. [LAUGHING] CHRIS HARRIS: But there’s only
so much talking you can do in the presence of a
car like this. First, you want to be on your
own with it, to drink in that shape and those incredible
dished rear wheels. And then, you have to just
go and drive it. [MUSIC PLAYING] [ENGINE REVVING] CHRIS HARRIS: So finally,
I’m driving the Huayra. That’s the first
point to make. It’s called the “Why-Rah,” not
the “Why-Ar-Uh” or the “Why-ee-Rah” or the “Hee-Ar-Uh.”
It’s Huayra. One day I’ll learn to
say it properly. Mr. Pagani probably doesn’t like
the way I say it, but I’m trying, OK, Horacio,
I’m trying. What do I think about
this car? Rather predictably,
it’s not like anything else I’ve driven. I’m now on quite a bumpy, quite
open A road in Italy. I’ve got quite supple
suspension. I’ve got a gearbox that’s
running in automatic mode. And actually, even though I’ve
got seven gears, because of the torque on offer, I need
about three gears. This is a car that
is easy to drive. That’s the first point. It’s easy to drive. Why is it easy to drive? Well, there’s so much torque– 1,000 Newton-meters. Get that? That’s 737 foot-pounds of torque
in a car that weights 1,350 kilograms dry. That’s outrageous. And it means that you just
squeeze the throttle. The boost builds at around 2,000
rpm, and you don’t have to think about it. Pedal weights are quite heavy,
obviously only two pedals. But for me, one of the reasons
why this car is easy to drive is the steering. It’s very, very accurate, and
it’s very precise, and it’s got a good amount of feel. And that means that you
can place the car. And these massive hypercars,
you’ve got to be confident that you’re not just going to
take the sides off to be able to drive it properly
on the road. So that’s what I’ve got. I’ve got a car that is perfectly
relaxing to drive. It rides well enough. The cabin is big and airy. And whereas an Aventador is kind
of up and at you and you feel like you’re stuck in
between, wedged in between great big amounts of face sheer
and center console, this is big and open. My knee can move in front
of the center console. And of course, the quality of
the cabin and the jewelry that’s going on here
is just staggering. You know that. I’m going to have a look at that
now because we need to celebrate the details
on this car. Carbon, polished metal, and
leather meet in one great, writhing lump of loveliness. The clock faces are illegible. But the central readout is
electronic and clear. The wheel is nearly perfect
in shape and size. The pedals feel good. But the stumpy gear lever
is almost too cool not to use itself. The signature quad exhausts are
in pure titanium, and the system weighs just
12 kilograms. Suspension is identical to the
Zonda R, which lapped the ring in six minutes and 47 seconds. The car has around 730
horsepower from a six-liter, twin-turbo V12 by AMG. It’s a bespoke engine
for Pagani. And it has its own internal
code– for geeks like me, M158– like that. It’s a massively impressive
power plant. And of course, that’s the
brilliance of Pagani. Rather than going out and trying
to do his own engine, he’s using something that he
knows works from a company that has kind of unprecedented
skill at making massive horsepower. So the AMG power plant is
crucial to this package. Perhaps the key issue around
the Huayra is the noise, or rather lack of it, or
rather presence of turbocharged noise. Being turbocharged, this car
just cannot sound like those amazing Zondas we had before,
particularly that last R version, which just sounded like
all sorts of bad things going wrong in the right way. So we have turbo noise
this time. Here, I’ll give you some. Get a load of this. [ENGINE NOISE] CHRIS HARRIS: Interestingly,
Pagani has worked hard to try and tune that noise. It’s the first turbocharged car
that I’ve driven that has got deliberately tuned
turbocharged noise. And there’s wastegate
rattles and fizzles. And there’s lots going on. Does it sound as
good as Zonda? No. It’s a different noise and one
that I think over time could become quite special. So to turn the Huayra into
something that is actually not that friendly and is a full-on
supercar, hypercar experience, there’s a button here
that says ESC. You get it in sport mode, and
you hold it down for 5 seconds, and you hear
a little BINK. And you look at the dashboard,
and it says ESC Off. And you get a little squiggle
sign on there. And now you’re on your own. So, second gear coming
up this rather narrow mountain pass of a road. Front end is great. But the performance is nuts. Oh, yes, Ha! Ha! Front is really good. So we’ve got no understeer
really, but coming out– it’s spooling up everywhere. It’s just nuts. Steering’s a bit slow for
these sorts of roads. As you can see, I have
to work quite hard. It’s an animal, guys. It’s an absolute animal. Woohoohoohoo! Woohoohoohoo! What a machine. I mean, the fact that it’s
two-wheel drive as well. So yeah, the billionaire can
drive it in automatic mode. But I’ll tell you what, if
you want to be a hooligan woohoohoohoo! What a machine. I can’t say too much. I’m just going to concentrate
on driving it. God, it’s fast. Does it feel like
730 horsepower? It feels like more to me. When the boost comes,
it’s furious. And you just hang on. You really do. It’s fast. It’s fast. And there’s flaps going off and
there’s all sorts of drama and theater. This is just pure hypercar. And anyone that thinks that
Pagani’s gone soft needs to come and sit in this now. Because this is power to weight
ratio through two driven wheels with– wait for it– no traction control. It’s a tonic. I need to back away
for a minute, because that’s so full-on. You want to match that, you’ve
got to buy yourself a needle with some brown stuff in
it because that is just remarkable. Is that legal? I’m sure it is, but
Jesus Christ. 730 horsepower, two wheels,
no traction control. Horacio, I salute you. I needed time to cool my oil
temperature after that. And here’s the nitty-gritty. Yes, the steering is great. But so is the damping with the
manually adjustable Ohlins shocks set to pretty soft. The ceramic breaks have decent
feel and earn their keep. Pedal lift is pretty
high though. The seven-speed extract
gearbox is a peach– fast and enjoyable in manual
mode, yet weighs just 96 kilograms and is mounted
transversely. The powertrain package is neater
than the Zonda, so the weight distribution is
a perfect 50/50. And as for the active
aerodynamics, I didn’t go fast enough to test them. But who cares when they
look so damn cool? When I first saw the Huayra, I
wasn’t entirely convinced. Because I didn’t think the
styling was quite as cute as the Zonda, and I was worried
about this twin turbocharging aspect. Now that I’ve driven the car, I
have to say I got it wrong. Do you know what? In the flesh, when you park it
next to a Zonda, it just looks more modern. It just looks more appealing. It just looks cleverer. And I’ve never seen a car that’s
had so much detail lavished on it. It’s extraordinary, truly
extraordinary. But they haven’t forgotten about
the driving experience. Because this is a
very clever car. And I hadn’t quite expected
the breadth of talent. You can leave all the
buttons in place. And you can leave
it in automatic. And it’s entirely usable. OK, It’s not a Nissan Micra,
but as long as you’ve got a modicum of talent, you won’t
have a problem mooching around in this car, as I explained. But if you turn the systems off,
I can’t think of another car like this– 730 BHP. And even bigger torque figure,
two-wheel drive, and you’re on your own. It’s an animal, as
you can see. I was sweating away, genuinely
enjoying myself. What is this car? I suppose it is the definitive
hypercar. Because it’s that
style statement. It’s that aesthetic statement,
mixed in with an unforgettable driving experience. Yeah, love it. [ENGINE ROARING]