(Bloomberg) -- Six years in gestation, Pagani’s latest million-dollar, hand-built supercar, the Huayra Roadster, made its public debut this week at the Geneva Motor Show. Company founder Horacio Pagani called it the most complicated project he's ever undertaken.
The most significant characteristic of the new Italian supercar, which has been made in a sold-out production run of 100 units, is its brand-new removable rooftop made from carbon and glass.
The work resulted in some major changes, although they may be relatively indecipherable to the naked eye. In an atypical twist, the removal of the hardtop roof has actually helped reduce weight from the Huayra coupe, since unlike other convertibles it relies on a stiff monocoque chassis rather than extra engineering to keep it steady sans top. The Huayra Roadster has a dry weight of just 1,280 kg (2,821 pounds) compared with 1350 kg for the coupe. This is an especially impressive feat considering that at the time of its debut, the Huayra coupe was the lightest on the market.
Pagani’s rear-wheel-drive Roadster is faster than its forebear even though it has the same guts of its predecessor: a 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged Mercedes-Benz AMG V12 engine and a seven-speed, single-clutch paddleshift gearbox. It has the lighter weight and increased power of 764 hp vs. 722 bhp for a zero-60 mph sprint time in fewer than 3 seconds. This is a fraction faster than the 3.0-second coupe and among the very fastest cars in the world today.
Parked on the floor of Geneva's Palexpo convention center, with its front, sides, and rear all opened up and exposed, the Roadster looked like an insect transformer in a discombobulated shell. Its tiny side mirrors stuck out like spindly antennae; its spindle-spoked 20- and 21-inch wheels looked like wings frozen mid-flight. The jewel-blue and carbon fiber exterior looked exactly like the back of a gorgeous garden beetle. Crowds can't keep away.
The Roadster's two seats are backed by rounded, cone-like mounts that project into the rear of the car. Huge air vents are just behind each front wheel, and a cube of four rear exhaust pipes sits centered between three round rear lights on each side.
The look is an acquired taste, to say the least. In the words of one young representative from a German luxury brand I spoke with yesterday, "It's not my style, but mad respect."
They’re cars as outrageous and individualistic as the people plonking down €2,28 million ($2.41 million) for one. Each of Pagani’s supercars is slightly different from the others, since the high price tag and manufacturing method inevitably create a high sense of collaboration to any buyer who can afford that base price. After all, they’re made “to celebrate the harmony between art and science,” the company says, and that means different things to different people.
To that point, the base price on the Roadster is relative—and likely well under what most new owners will happily pay for the chance to own one. They're so precious and so rare (it'll take years for Pagani to produce the promised 100 of the Huayra Roadster) that very few of them see any real street time. If you see one on the road, consider yourself blessed. Till then, get yourself to Geneva.
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