Pagani thumbs its nose at electrification, unveiling all-new V12 Utopia
It's been 11 years since Horacio Pagani unveiled a new car model, and boy has the world changed. Pagani, on the other hand, has not. The all-new Utopia eschews the electric in favor of V12 theatrics, light weight, and a typically steampunk interior.
This is only the third car Pagani has built, after the Zonda in 1999 and the Huayra in 2011. Not that you'd know it – these small-run supercar factories sure know how to squeeze a lemon. Wikipedia lists no fewer than 12 model variants of the Zonda, as well as 34 different special editions. The Huayra gets away with just seven variants and a much less jubilant 14 special editions. So the casual observer could be forgiven for thinking these guys release new cars like they change their underpants.
Not so. The pace is hand-built and glacial. So to dyed-in-the-wool Paganisti, today is a big day, even if the rest of us might have to squint to make sure we're not looking at another tarted-up Huayra. The positive way to spin this would be to say that Pagani has settled on a strong design language, and that the Utopia is "unmistakably Pagani." Which it certainly is.
"The alchemy of pleasure, the equation of beauty ... What would be important for the next Pagani hypercar," asks a florid press release. "Horacio Pagani certainly had his own ideas, but he asked his closest clients, those who eagerly await each of his creations, to express their wishes. They already had exceptionally fast and beautiful cars, what were they still missing?"
Cup holders, that would've been my guess. Either those, or simpler times when supercar makers weren't always trying to get them on the phone asking how best to bilk more millions out of them for additional garage jewelry. But no! While some might imagine their only lack is of lack itself, these fabulously rich survey respondents made their heady desires crystal clear: "simplicity, lightness and the pleasure of driving."
Really? That's all? Pagani could've offered these people an Ariel Atom, smashed this brief out of the park and knocked off for a ciggy. But he didn't. That's why he's Horacio Pagani, and I'm just Loz Blain, and you, dear reader, are (hopefully) neither of those things. No, Pagani knew what he had to to. He had to go against the grain. With the world zigging toward electrification, the truly brave would have to zag. Batteries? Those aren't simple, or lightweight, or pleasurable – well, depending on what you put them in, I suppose.
No, the new car was going to need the simplicity and lightweightness of a 5.9-liter, twin-turbo, 60-degree Mercedes-AMG V12 engine, its thousands of delicately synchronized, but assuredly very simplistic, moving parts capable of spinning its crank some 6,000 times per minute. This motor makes 864 horsepower (635 kW) and at least 1,100 Nm (811 lb-ft) from 2,800 rpm upwards. And none of your fancy dual-clutch transmissions, either. Pagani would have none of this witchcraft. Pure manual, or a 7-speed "automated manual," that's what you'll get, and by gum you'll like it.
It's got electronic suspension. It's got a "carbo-titanium" and "carbo-triax" monocoque chassis. It's got big Brembos and big forged rims, 21s at the front and 22s at the rear. It's got a cabin as aggressively complicated as a Roland Iten belt buckle, featuring an aesthetic that's just a few copper tubes and valves shy of steampunk. It's got a four-port exhaust that would've been edited out of the theatrical release of Cats.
Let's be serious for a moment. Naturally, you can't have one. Heavens no. Pagani's only making 99, and they're all already sold, at prices somewhere north of US$2.5 million, to people who were informed about this trinket long before you were. Instead, you'll have to wait for the inevitable gaggle of special editions to drop, at which point you can't have those either. So all the lofty lyricism of Pagani's press release can probably be distilled into the phrase "nerny nerny ner ner," or the Italian equivalent.
Still, much like the proprietor of a gentleman's club, Pagani is happy to allow you to look at Utopia, as long as you don't touch it, via the photo gallery and the video below. Very sporting of him.