Pagani Huayra BC review ­- lighter, more powerful, faster... Look out, LaFerrari!

Jethro Bovingdon
1 Mar 2016
Verdict:

UDATED: Video added from Geneva show

Evo Rating: 
Price: 
€2.35 million plus local taxes
For 
Build quality, feels extremely special, outright performance
Against 
Gearbox, engine not as exciting as Zonda

The Pagani Huayra BC is a much more focussed version of the already superb Huayra. Power and torque are increased (to circa 800bhp and 811lb ft), there’s a new aero concept, revised chassis, brakes and pretty much anything else you care to mention.

Pagani say it’s inspired by the Zonda R but unlike that most extreme version of their first supercar, the BC remains fully road legal. The ‘BC’ part of the name is a tribute to the first ever Pagani customer, the late Benny Caiola. Just 20 will be built and despite a price of €2.35-million plus local taxes they’re all sold.  

Technical highlights

The BC might look like a Huayra with some aero additions and still feature a 6-litre twin turbocharged V12 engine from AMG, but it is a radically different car to the ‘standard’ model. There’s a new 7-speed transverse gearbox supplied by XTrac (still a single clutch paddle-operated system), new front and rear subframes to help with the cooling requirements and aero loads now generated, new suspension uprights and four-way adjustable Öhlins dampers, the latest generation Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, the incredible aerodynamic package developed in conjunction with Dallara, a new e-diff at the rear as well as a raft of electronic changes. Pagani has also saved weight wherever possible and the BC comes in at 1218kg. 

The final engine spec is still being established by AMG but expect around 800bhp at 6200rpm and 811lb ft from 4000-6500rpm. Pagani has extensively tested the car at Nardo but isn’t releasing final downforce figures nor a top speed just yet. They suggest somewhere around 220mph should be about right and with a power-to-weight ratio beyond a 918 Spyder and P1 it’ll get there in a hurry, too. 

What’s it like to drive? 

We should say that the BC is around ’60-percent finished’ for our first taste of the car in Sicily (Caiola’s place of birth), with much fine-tuning of the latest Bosch stability control systems still to complete, a revised set of the trick inboard and fully adjustable Öhlins dampers due the very next week and the engine running around 760bhp. However, Pagani are confident that the car already gives a strong sense of what they’re hoping to achieve. 

First impressions are somehow familiar but also laced with a new sense of purpose. The Huayra’s smooth, controlled ride remains as does the V12 engine’s snorting noise and abundant torque. It sounds angrier blowing through a featherweight new titanium exhaust though, and despite a noise that’s more heavy industry than frenetic, highly-tuned V12 there’s no questioning it sounds wild. Beneath the comfort there’s real agility too, enhanced by a quicker new steering rack and massive and new generation Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres (335-section 21s at the rear). It snaps into corners with hesitation and you can feel that it’s a genuinely lightweight car from the body control and immediacy of its actions. 

Beyond the dynamics the BC is also about the drama – just as it should be with a Pagani. The beautifully wrought interior, the stunning carbon fibre weave everywhere, the view out framed by those slender carbon fibre side mirrors and with the active aerodynamic flaps always opening and closing before your eyes… It’s all unique and completely intoxicating. The cabin is a bit tight, though. If you’re much over 6ft tall the BC might not be the easiest car to cover long distances in. 

Up the pace and the BC continues to impress. The chassis has some understeer dialled-in to it – perhaps a bit too much at this stage – but despite it’s huge dimensions and sheer torque on offer, it’s an easy car to exploit. Turn in a bit slower or with a sharp lift of the throttle and the understeer is gone. Now get on the power and you can sense the rear starting to take some attitude, the car balanced in a lovely, accessible mid-corner phase. Keep opening the throttle and inevitably the rear tyres start to spin-up and the BC exits the turn with just a mild twist of oversteer. And all under the watchful eye of the superb traction control Sport setting. Turn off the assistance and 811lb ft can quickly get a hold of even those vast Pirellis so only do so if you’re feeling particularly sharp. Having said that the BC’s main strength is that it’s a relatively easy car to drive even at the very edge of grip – amazing considering its outright potential.

The 7-speed gearbox is fast and positive once you’re up and running but it doesn’t have the amazing precision of the fastest dual-clutch systems and at low speeds it’s still a bit clunky. It’s massively lighter than a dual-clutch system but to my mind it’d be worth the sacrifice to gain refinement and accuracy. Better yet a six-speed manual would suit the engine rather well. Pagani is working on such a thing but it probably won’t be ready for the BC production run. The engine itself offers extraordinary low and id-range performance but it doesn’t have the top-end bite you might crave in an extreme hypercar and, of course, there’s turbo lag to deal with. It’s not terrible at all but in these times of electric ‘torque fill’ and other clever technologies you do notice the compromise.

How does it compare? 

Pagani won’t be drawn into a power race and instead continue to champion lightweight solutions and a pure driving experience. The result is compelling and unique – more subtle than the brutal Koenigsegg but still with plenty of menace, and with a sense of occasion that puts the P1 or 918 Spyder in the shade.

>Read our McLaren P1 review

At this stage it doesn’t have the incredible polish of the Porsche nor the sheer grip of the P1 but there’s still a whole lot to enjoy. My only big gripe is that the engine doesn’t have the nape-prickling excitement of LaFerrari, 918 or the old Zonda and the ‘box feels a generation behind the very best. 

Anything else I need to know? 

The Huayra BC’s tub is made from Carbo-titanium. Even the most obnoxious pub bore would be defeated if you rolled that fact out about your new car.

Engine 5980cc, V12, 48v, twin-turbocharged
Power c800bhp @ 6200rpm
Torque c811lb ft @ 4000-6500rpm
0-62mph 2.8sec (est)
Top Speed 220mph (est)
CO2 Seriously?
Price €2.35 million plus local taxes

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