There’s something pleasingly primal and pure about the work of the small, independent outfits who dedicate their existence to grappling with the renowned supercar heavyweights of this world. Without historic motor racing reputations to uphold or global commercial empires to service, some of the most unhinged supercars of the last two decades have spawned from the most unlikely of sources. From the Saleen S7 to the Koenigsegg CCX, the low volume, high-octane formula has proved a constant thorn in the side of big-hitters such as Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Pagani, as with Koeniggseg, is one of those small stables still making big waves in the supercar world. Horacio Pagani’s Zonda-forged reputation has gone from strength to strength with the introduction of the legendary Italian stallion’s successor, the Huayra, back in 2012. Pagani once again took centre stage at last year’s Geneva Motor Show with it’s even more potent Huayra BC, the most extreme version of the Zonda successor yet. Fast forward a year, and the Italian marque isn’t about to give up the limelight lightly. In 2017, the Huayra goes topless; this is the Pagani Huayra Roadster.
Motoring scripture dictates that any coupe that loses its roof must, by definition, lose its performance edge. This is true of the vast majority of convertibles out there, which do give up a tenth or two in the 0-60mph stakes versus their coupe relatives. The new Huayra Roadster, however, clearly hasn’t been paying attention to the rule books. Utilising a sack-full of technology from the BC edition, the all-new Huayra Roadster is not only lighter but also more powerful than its standard hardtop sibling.
Despite being lumbered with the additional weight of the roof mechanism, the drop-top Huayra actually sheds 176 pounds, largely thanks to its lightweight, hiforge aluminium suspension. Even more significantly, the new Roadster borrows its transmission straight from the Huayra BC. Pagani claim that this 7-speed manual gearbox is a massive 40 per lighter than the Coupe’s dual-clutch unit.
The hand-me-downs don’t end there. Last year’s awesome Huayra BC drew its power from an upgraded version of Mercedes-AMG’s twin-turbocharged 6.0 litre V12 engine. It’s the same story with the 2017 Roadster, which harnesses 738 lb-ft torque and 764bhp from this old-school muscle-bound motor, originally crafted for the gargantuan S 65 AMG saloon. The standard Coupe, meanwhile, can match its new convertible sibling on the torque front only; it lags well behind in the power stakes with a mere 720 horses in the engine room.
Besides its obviously distinctive folding roof, available in carbon fibre and glass or lightweight fabric, the Huayra Roadster sports a number of distinguishing design tweaks. For one, the old Zonda-esc protruding nose is back and the front grille has been significantly rehashed. A wider set of wheel arches also set the Geneva-bound model apart from the original Coupe, as does the exclusive electric blue-tinted bodywork made from titanium woven with carbon fibre.
The Pagani Huayra Roadster’s price tag, for what its worth, runs up beyond the £1.9 million mark. Of course, that wasn’t enough to put off the exclusive gaggle of lucky new owners. This select band has already snaffled the 100 examples due for production long before the car makes its world debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.