Horacio Pagani builds an experience far greater than the sum of its parts
2,685 pounds. 800 hp (tba). These aren’t figures to be sniffed at. At this upper echelon of the hypercar game, however, we’ve seen so many crazy numbers and figures and heard so many promises — too often, promises made and never truly met — that it’s easy to become a little dismissive. Jaded, even.
But when a man by the name of Horacio Pagani comes out with something new, well, that’s when everyone should take notice. Pagani is an Argentine seemingly put here on earth to create the best sports cars possible. The works of the company bearing his name fuse the art of design with high technology; their engineering and attention to detail are superlative.
The Huayra BC is that man’s new baby. It will be officially unveiled at the Geneva motor show next month, but we were fortunate enough to see and sample the car ahead of its unveil.
Sicily isn’t just a beautiful backdrop for a test drive — it’s also the birthplace of the Huayra BC’s namesake, collector Benny Caiola.
Pagani put us behind the wheel of the BC in Sicily in part because of the warm climate Italy’s southernmost island enjoys during the winter months. But there’s a deeper significance to the locale: Sicily was also where the late Benny Caiola, a famous NY property developer, notorious Ferrari collector and Horacio Pagani’s first customer, was born. This limited-edition car — as in, a mere 20 will be built, and they’re all reportedly sold — is dedicated to Caiola, which is why it sports his initials as part of the name. (The Huayara part? It’s a nod to a wind god of the pre-Columbian Andes.)
Caiola, who died in 2010, had always pressured Horacio to create a more focused, rawer version of the Huayra. The BC is just that. It has dropped almost 220 lbs and gained roughly 70 hp compared to the “regular” car. It boasts a more aerodynamically sculpted carbon body — somehow, such a thing is possible — with every single panel different from the base Huayra save for the roof.
The BC is fitted with a lip spoiler and canards to keep its front end glued to the ground, a more sculpted side skirt treatment and a tall rear wing that works in conjunction with the Huayra’s four active aero flaps. Underneath the skin, there are redesigned (and 25 percent lighter) forged suspension arms made from aerospace-grade HiForg alloy with a more aggressive geometry, new Öhlins active dampers, next-generation Brembo monobloc brake calipers and carbon ceramic discs, new tripod axle drive shafts and lightweight wheels made by the same supplier that makes wheels for several F1 teams.
These are but a few of the improvements that turn an already mind-blowingly fast hypercar into something even more special; countless additional details large, small and lightweight set the BC even further apart from the pack. Take the exhaust system. Hand-made out of titanium, it weighs only 5.3 pounds. The car’s seven-speed Xtrac sequential transmission now shifts smoother yet faster than before and employs carbon fibers synchros to handle the extra torque the car’s AMG’s twin-turbo 6.0-liter V12 develops.
That figure, by the way, is 811 lb-ft. It could have been tuned higher, but it was limited to guarantee the sort of reliability Pagani is known for.
So how does it feel out on the road? Mesmerizing seems a fitting adjective. The performance is initially quite impressive — no surprise there — but it doesn’t take long to get in tune with the whole car and quickly realize that, despite the intimidating numbers, it’s all pretty accessible. That’s testament to Horacio’s foremost guiding philosophy: to make cars that are fast, yes, but at the same time easy and forgiving to drive.
The BC takes those principles runs with them. Drive it gently, and the ride coming in through its innovative carbon-titanium chassis is supple. Open up the pace, and you discover a car that continues to communicate with you. It doesn’t want to kill you at the first throttle input; instead, it wants to help you get the most out of its potential.
Driving or parked, the Huayra BC offers endless visual interest.
Bringing such balance to the hypercar realm is a feat in itself, but balance is something that’s at the core of the BC. Everything is there for a reason, and it all works together in harmony.
Take the gearbox, for example. The single-clutch layout is said to be 40 percent lighter than a comparable dual-clutch transmission, and it’s been mounted transversely behind the engine so that the weight could be kept as close as possible to the car’s center. This means that even though it’s rear mid-engine, it has a very neutral behavior; it doesn’t want to snap out and oversteer as soon as you get on the power. Actually, it’s more prone to understeer, which serves to make you feel far more comfortable throwing it around corners.
Then, there’s the engine. The hand-built AMG V12 sitting behind your ears is as explosive as you would ever want an engine to be. It’s instant, responsive and sonorous, delivering all of its torque from what feels like idle. Acceleration is physics-defying, but what’s more impressive is how its output is unloaded to the ground without effort or struggle. That’s thanks to an all new active electronic differential which juggles drive efficiently getting the most out of any road conditions, allowing you to pen your trajectory through any corner with ease — and, if you’re feeling brave, total adjustability.
The BC allows you to select between three driving modes, the most extreme of which will let the car to move around a lot more as you alleviate the interventions from Bosch’s latest stability control system.
Pagani’s characteristic attention to detail continues on the Huayra BC’s interior.
No matter the mode, and no matter the road or speed, the BC never fails to relay to the driver that they are in the midst of something very special, right down to how you are seated in the supportive bucket seat. In contrast to the car’s aggressive exterior, the cabin is more sedate in its layout and design. The polished billet aluminum pieces that make up the center stack and instrument binnacle are anodized to a subtle (by Pagani standards) black, which contrasts beautifully with the red and black leather and suede treatment of the trim. Exposed carbon is everywhere. Everything you touch is a tactile experience.
Perhaps that’s just it. The BC, like the regular Huayra and the Zonda before it, is best described as an experience. It melds wild performance with an obsessive mind for the tiniest of details. Like a fine watch, it demands to be appreciated on multiple levels. That Pagani has chosen to go back to basics, as it were, dropping weight to increase performance instead of going hybrid like so many have done, makes it an even more commendable exercise, and one that bodes well for the future of the ultra-exclusive marque.
Yet even if you never drive a Huayra, BC or otherwise, or even see one with your own eyes, it stands as a powerful reminder of what “hypercar” ought to mean — and what can be realized by one man driven by an abiding passion.
The Huayra BC is about more than just low curb weights and massive output figures — it’s about enjoying every moment of the drive.