The automaker could have created something with bigger headline numbers, but the weight penalty would have been too great.
Over the many years that the Huayra has been on the market, Pagani has learned at least two things about its customers. First, they definitely do not want an electric Pagani, and how could you? Second, Horacio Pagani learned that some of his customers didn't buy the Huayra because it was not available with a manual transmission. It's certainly apparent that Pagani customers are old-school and, as Mr. Horacio so eloquently puts it, his audience "wants to feel emotions when driving; they don't care about pure performance."
Pagani Automobili knows that the allure of its brand lies in the things it does differently and the high standards it holds itself to, which is part of why the Italian automaker decided against a 1,000-horsepower V8 engine for the recently unveiled Utopia masterpiece.
In a recently published interview with Top Gear, the enigmatic Horacio Pagani revealed that Mercedes-AMG (which he expects will continue to offer engine support in the future) had offered to provide its outstanding 831-hp powertrain from the GT 63 S E Performance that debuted a year ago. This AWD monster has a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and a permanently excited synchronous electric motor, altogether producing a staggering 1,034 lb-ft of torque.
Quick refresher: the 2023 Pagani Utopia uses a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 engine built specifically for the car by AMG. This produces 852 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque, outperforming the abovementioned Merc super sedan in the horsepower wars but losing in terms of outright twist.
However, Mercedes-AMG's offer came with a bonus.
The plan was that the Mercedes hybrid system would be re-engineered to safely allow for 1,000 hp. But the caveat would have likely been a change to all-wheel drive for the first time. It doesn't matter how wide those rear tires are (they're 325-section, FYI), putting a thousand hp and more in torque down to the ground is never gonna happen without pulverizing the Pirellis or a computer permanently curbing your enthusiasm. And would a manual be compatible? Probably not.
However, controlling all that power isn't the reason Pagani decided to opt for the relatively underpowered V12. After running simulations with both setups, it was discovered that the hybrid V8 setup would be 4-5 seconds per lap slower around the Nordschleife. All that power and all that torque could apparently do nothing to rein in the weight of the F1-inspired battery and other electric components.
"Pagani cars are meant to be lightweight," Horacio said. "So, [although] we will continue to invest in developments for electrification, the biggest goal for us is to find a way to make the car more enjoyable, more fun, more Pagani." Leonardo da Vinci's belief that art and science can live hand in hand hasn't necessarily worked out well in the case of the hybrid V8, but we're not complaining.
Horacio then spoke of his ownership of a Porsche 918 Spyder that he loves driving on electric mode on the way to work, but that the battery is dead and he's carrying unnecessary weight on the trip back home. Admittedly, the 918 is almost obsolete as a showcase of hybrid tech these days, but it hasn't made him complacent either.
"But we need to do this research. It doesn't matter if the client doesn't ask for it because you have to be ready for what's next. Don't ask me when that might be - we'll only launch it when it's ready."
Long live the V12.