The Pagani brand already has so much to offer, but Horacio Pagani, the Leonardo DaVinci-inspired tinkerer known for colluding with the forces of nature to build automobiles that marry art and science, has finally unveiled the Italian car we’ve all been waiting for, Ferrari and Lamborghini be damned. Meet the Huayra Roadster, the result of what Pagani proclaims “is the most complicated project we have ever undertaken.” Most impressive is the fact that the open-top two-seater is one of the world’s first roadsters that’s lighter than its coupe counterpart.
Pagani’s pursuit of weight loss is of the anorexic variety, with the new Roadster having a dry weight of 1,280 kilograms (2,816 pounds), or about 176 pounds less than a Huayra coupe weighs under the same conditions. Bypassing the need for heavy reinforcements needed on other cars that lose roofs is a new state of the art composite material that makes up the chassis. Using a blend of Carbo-Titanium and Carbo-Triax, the boutique Italian supercar company developed a new material that happens to be more advanced than what Formula One uses. As a result, a 52% increase in stiffness was achieved without adding a single pound.
Aft of the roof opening sits AMG’s crown jewel, a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 engine that makes a staunch 764 horsepower and 737 lb-ft of torque. Power is dispensed to the rear tires after passing through the same seven-speed automatic transmission seen on the Huayra BC. Pagani mounts the transmission longitudinally to reduce polar inertia of the entire vehicle, or in plain English, to bring the car’s longitudinal center of mass closer to a central pivot point for safer cornering ability by helping induce understeer. This fun-sapping symptom can be scrubbed via the throttle with help from the electronic differential.
When combined with the suspension made of an aluminum alloy known as HiForg (reducing weight of the suspension by 25% over the Huayra Coupe) and track-honed Pirelli PZero Corsa tires built by the company specifically for the Huayra Roadster, the topless machine can reach cornering forces of 1.8 G. To prevent the carbon fiber composite beauty from ramming its €2,280,000 ($2,410,188) self into a concrete barrier, Pagani equipped the Huayra Roadster with Brembo carbon ceramic brakes with six pistons up front and four in the rear. This hardware helps the Huayra post impressive numbers while ensuring that amateur and professional drivers keep things within the lines.
True to the meaning of the word Huayra (God of Wind), the Roadster plays nice with the surrounding air in order to harness scalpel-like precision using four signature flaps that are individually controlled by the car’s computer. These interact with the active suspension and the five-mode ESP system for ultimate driving bliss. Pilots can choose between Wet, Comfort, Sport, Race, and ESC Off depending on road conditions or the boldness of their right foot. When the weather does get soggy to the point that the open-top driving brings more pain than pleasure, Pagani supplies a fabric and carbon cover that can be manually installed and stored inside the Huayra Roadster when not in use.
The cloth cover is intended as a backup roof. It can be replaced by the carbon fiber-framed and UV-dispelling glass roof that helps the Roadster adopt the look of the coupe, albeit with wider wheel arches, a wider and more aggressive mouth up front, and subtle design amendments that Pagani himself lost hours of sleep over. Those hoping for gullwing doors will be disappointed, but Pagani cites the fact that even the gullwing Mercedes 300 SL lost its signature feature on the roadster variant. While some may see this as a cop out to help reduce design and production efforts, this is simply untrue given that the Huayra Roadster took six years to create with the entire plan being scrapped and restarted from scratch at one point.
For all that effort, it’s a bit of a shame that only 100 people were worthy of the car. If you’re reading this and haven’t already sent a $2.4 million check to Pagani then you’re out of luck because all 100 units are spoken for. Try to cope by buying a ticket to the Geneva Motor Show where the car will be on display, taunting other supercars and teasing the billionaires who couldn't get a hold of one.