Top Gear drives the Pagani Huayra

Friday, August 10, 20120 comments

Physics is pinned down and under siege, each gearchange another grenade rolled into the foxhole where Newton is ripping up equations and banging his head repeatedly on a table. Einstein, whiter-haired than usual, is cowering in a corner, blank-eyed and weeping. One mile of bumpy Italian back road at full throttle in the new Pagani Huayra, and you'll start to question the fundamentals. I've been driving it for more than an hour, and have just forced myself to shut my arid mouth with an audible click. This thing - to put it wholly inadequately - is deranged.

Describing the bare speed is to ignore the complicated web of sensory assault that makes up the Huayra, but suffice it to say the Italian countryside gets peeled back at the edges and folded through the windscreen, compressing distance from here to there with frankly alarming bouts of heart-clenching, thunderous teleportation. Mainly because the Huayra is making a racket that's a curious mix of turbine and 6.0-litre V12, roaring white-noise induction and technical whining - it's unlike anything I've ever heard. Each pull of the exposed, spring-loaded gearlever is punctuated with crashing wastegate decompression; think Group B car on full-throttle lift mixed with the air-splitting roar of a Space Shuttle launch. The ferocity of the shove doesn't just snap your head back, it presses your diaphragm back into the void of your chest, smashing the air clean out of your lungs, breath caught between shifts. This is not like driving a car.

It's like changing gear on a bomb.

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