The Pagani brand is now in its 30th year. Its creations have been the bedroom posters for multiple generations of petrol heads. During that time, the Italian automotive brand born from the vision and passion of one meticulous designer has only ever built two main cars – the Zonda and the Huayra. Now, it’s time for the third – the Pagani Utopia.
That’s a bold name, one that means a place of ideal perfection. One perspective on the naming is that a man like Horacio Pagani makes his own future, a creator. For such individuals, utopia exists, and it’s only a matter of finding it. However, we prefer our take on this new moniker: this is the car you drive to find utopia.
With the first project, the Zonda, codename ‘C8’, Pagani cemented itself in automotive history. It was followed by C9, the Huayra, showcasing the potential of active aerodynamics and new materials like Carbo-Titanium. With the C10, now named the Utopia, Pagani needed a new goal. After many interactions with his friends and close clients, he identified the three pillars that would define his latest creation — simplicity, lightness and the pleasure of driving.
The Pagani Utopia’s design is heavily influenced by this principle. It is elegant and drop-dead gorgeous despite a relatively simplistic form. And any designer worth their salt will tell you that simple is the most difficult kind of style. When simplicity in design is achieved, it is often seen as timeless, and that’s what the Utopia is too.
There are no wacky wings and vents or any of the sleek and slim details that are found in current-day automotive design. Everything is curvy with purpose, from those wing mirrors whose mounts look like the straps of an artisan purse to the overall shape of the rear profile. It also offers a blend of classic design that sheath the modernity underneath.
I will risk sharing my internal comparison of the Utopia with the internet here. After looking intently at its front fascia for a few minutes, it reminded me of a Transformers movie. A quick google search later, I found the connection my brain was trying to make. In the 2017 instalment, ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’, we are introduced to two new characters that represented robots that had been on Earth since the 1940s. As such, they had classical design elements adorning their alien robot bodies. The Pagani Utopia invokes a similar visual reaction for me, and I say that as a compliment.
Each rounded light, front and rear, is like a work of art in itself, an expensive watch face worthy of being displayed on its own. Furthermore, the Utopia retains the iconic Pagani quad-exit exhaust in the middle of the rear-end design, above the bumper.
The forged wheels, 21-inch front and 22-inch rear, feature a turbine-like design that helps extract hot air from the brakes and also reduces turbulence under the body. They’re wrapped in model-specific Pirelli rubber that was constructed to handle what the Utopia is built to do.
Don’t let all those smooth surfaces fool you into thinking that Pagani’s now large team of experts did not incorporate function into its lovely form. The Utopia was the result of six years of hard work, and the team ensured that its curves and openings served an aerodynamic purpose as well, helping increase downforce and reducing drag. It additionally features active aero elements that are well hidden from the untrained eye.
The theme of simplicity applies to the interior as well. The cabin of the Utopia feels quintessentially Pagani, with exquisite materials, immense attention to design detail, and a driver-centric layout. Here, the retro styling intensifies as the dashboard is adorned with controls that resemble those of elegant GTs from decades gone by. The round-shaped AC vents, analogue-themed dials for engine details, and knobs for the climate controls, all create an atmosphere of driving nostalgia.
The only modernity inside the cabin is the backlighting for all the controls, the array of buttons and dials in the central console tunnel, and the multi-information display for the driver which is flanked by two analogue dials for the speedometer and tachometer. The new steering wheel also seems to be fashioned from a block of solid aluminium and looks beautiful too.
Pagani has been quite innovative in its use of carbon fibre to develop materials that could offer the best mix of strength, lightness and overall build quality. The Utopia also uses a carbon monocoque made with the company’s latest techniques. Much of the bodywork is made from a new type of carbon fibre that provides 38% more stiffness with the same density. It also incorporates composite materials such as Carbo-Titanium and Carbo-Triax. The Utopia has also been subjected to stringent testing procedures to certify its safety.
Numerous other measures have been taken to ensure that each component is as light as it can be, while also being fairly practical as a road car. From the titanium exhaust to the hollowed-out design details, even some mechanical aspects were determined by the focus on lightness.
The end result is an Italian hypercar that tips the scales at 1,280kg (dry).
Pleasure of Driving
With a focus on simplicity and lightness, there was never going to be room for any sort of electrification of the Utopia. Instead, it uses a newer specification of the iconic 6.0-litre twin-turbo V12 built exclusively for Pagani by Mercedes-AMG. Here, it is tuned to an output of 852hp and 1100Nm, all of which is to be sent to the rear wheels.
In pursuit of pure driving pleasure, Pagani has mated its beastly engine to a new 7-speed (automated) manual transmission. The difficult task was taken up by the experienced folks at Xtrac who managed to build a manual shifter capable of handling the Utopia’s mountain of torque. It’s not as clever as the “manual” transmission showcased in the Koenigsegg CC850, but purer as a result. This also gives us the benefit of the exposed mechanicals of the manual shifter in the cabin, like artistic engineering.
A manual transmission is also lighter than a dual-clutch and also offers more control to the driver. The added engagement also offers a sense of reward for each clean shift and urges the driver to hone their abilities. Furthermore, by being transversely mounted, the transmission is compact and results in an optimal centre of gravity.
The Utopia is fitted with independent double-wishbone suspension front and rear, made from forged aluminium alloy, and electronically controlled dampers for a ride that is suitable for both relaxed and spirited drives. It gets larger ventilated carbon ceramic brakes with 6-piston callipers in the front and 4-piston callipers at the rear, providing the necessary stopping power.
A Special Premiere
The Pagani Utopia made its physical premiere at the Lirico Theatre in Milan, where it was unveiled to a very special musical backdrop. You see, Horacio Pagani used to play the piano as a young man and had composed some simple motifs back in the day. Jump to the present, and Pagani’s work has inspired an original composition by Vincenzo Parisi that was performed by the Symphonic Orchestra of the Milan Conservatory. Horacio added a personal touch by sitting at the piano for the unveil, playing the first few notes of the tune.
It was presented in another grand setting, surrounded by iconic works of art. It’s also better-looking in its exposed carbon fibre finish compared to the reveal-spec cream-coloured exterior.
Already sold out
Given that Pagani took six years to develop the Utopia with a lot of input from close clients, it’s no surprise that this ultra-rare, luxurious hypercar is already sold out by the time of its global unveil. Only 99 units of the coupe will be built and each has a starting price of around €2.5 million. It will undoubtedly be followed by an open-top roadster and numerous special editions over the next decade, not that we’re complaining.
What do make of the Pagani Utopia? What’s your most or least favourite thing about it? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons blog for more cool updates from the car world. You can also follow us on Instagram for more automotive content.