By on July 7, 2010

Italian supercar upstarts Pagani started with one car, the Zonda, and have maintained a laser-like focus on that single nameplate ever since. Former supercar heavyweight McLaren is re-entering the road car arena with its V8-powered Ferrari Italia-fighter, the MP4-12C, but is fast-tracking the development of its range-topping supercar, pitched as a neo-McLaren F1 and aimed at the Zonda and its hypercar ilk. Recession? What Recession?

The new McLaren, provisionally named the F1 by Autocar, will follow its inspiration’s emphasis on low weight and will be built around a carbon monocoque similar to the MP4-12C’s. The new McLaren should fit in above the MP4-12C’s $250k base price, possibly costing as much as the €500k that the new Pagani C9 is expected to cost. But that Zonda replacement will also be accompanied by a smaller, V8-powered Zonda, presumably powered by Mercedes’ 6.3 liter V8. This “baby” Pagani joins the MP4-12C in making the Ferrari 458 Italia’s job a lot harder, jamming the quarter-million-dollar supercar field with more options. What’s a newly wealthy showoff to choose?

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11 Comments on “Pagani Goes Downmarket, McLaren Goes Upmarket...”


  • avatar
    Libertyman03

    Hopefully Pagani will hire a real designer for the new cars, and fire the hack that designed the current Zonda. The McLaren’s designer, however, is a brilliant man.

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      The Pagani is designed with more concern for functionality and less for aesthetics. I admire it personally, and suspect that from a strictly engineering point of view it’s the better car.

  • avatar
    niky

    Hack? Horatio Pagani penned the Zonda himself. It’s a fantastic looking car!

    The McLaren, on the other hand, while conservatively handsome, has been described by many (not me, though) as anonymous looking. At least the 412C sounds a lot better than those flat-plane crank Ferraris, and nothing at all like a turbocharged car…

    • 0 avatar
      Libertyman03

      Oh sure, it’s a distinctive looking car. No one would mistake it for a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but compared to something like a Murcielago or an Enzo, or even a Koenigsegg, it looks like some guy’s kit car. I’m not taking anything away from its performance. But if I’m spending that kind of money on a car, it better damn well look the part.

      And what else has Horatio Pagani designed? I honestly don’t know. I might take back my “hack” remark if I can be enlightened.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Will the new McLaren have a central seating position for the driver like the F1? HAving never even had a chance to see one of these cars in eprson, I’ll take the word of a man who loves cars and probably owns mroe than any one man should. Jay Leno said that he loves his McLaren and prefers it to any of the more modern supercars in his stable. If anybody should know how a McLaren compares to Porsche, Ferrari, et.al.; it’s Jay Leno.

  • avatar
    probert

    It’s probably besides the point but why, in the real world (or, at least. someone’s real world) would you need anything more than the Lotus Evora. It far more elegant (please not that criteria Porsche aficionados)than these 2 things and probably provides a more direct and exhilarating driving experience.

  • avatar
    James2

    McLaren should NOT name the new car the F1. (But they should lose the MP4 naming scheme, asap.)

    The original is perhaps the greatest car ever made, imo. Gordon Murray knew what he was doing and the car remains stunning even nearly 20 years after its debut.

  • avatar
    StevenJJ

    Being technically superior to anything in their price bracket alone will ensure Ron sells all his motors.

  • avatar
    mythicalprogrammer

    Was going to rant on about how Pagani ain’t even street legal until I googled it. Their C9 is going to be street legal.

    Meh, doesn’t mean squat. McLaren have a much better racing heritage.

  • avatar
    niky

    @Libertyman03: Wouldn’t call it a “kit car” if you’ve seen it up close. It’s built with more exotic materials than most… and most supercar makers don’t have the gumption or the quality of carbon-fiber to actually make perfectly aligned matchbook carbon-fiber weaves straight down the center of the car.

    http://media.photobucket.com/image/zonda%20carbon-fiber%20weave/enmanuelsella/2009-Pagani-Zonda-Cinque-Carbon-Fib.jpg

    Granted… the parts-bin headlights and tail-lights point to the fact that Pagani doesn’t have the volume to design or build its own… but a lot of small and exclusive supercar makers have raided parts bins for lights… Lamborghini used tractor lights on some of its cars, and the McLaren’s rear lamps are from a bus. Morgan’s Aero uses BMW MINI headlights.

    Pagani designed the car from the ground up himself… was going to name it the Fangio after the legendary driver, but Fangio convinced him to use the Zonda name.

    http://www.cardesign.ru/files/impresion/part_0/2846/pagani_zonda_sketch_1.jpg
    http://www.cardesign.ru/files/impresion/part_0/2846/Untitled-1.jpg
    http://www.cardesign.ru/files/impresion/part_0/2846/pagani_zonda_sketch_3.jpg

    The details are unusual, yes, but the shape is much, much cleaner and sexier than many modern “supercars”, which look like blobs. Pagani was going for something aesthetic instead of functionally aerodynamic… and in doing so, also created one of the easiest to look out of supercars of all time. And according to those who’ve had the pleasure, one of the best driving ones, too.

    Sigh. Not that I’d ever be able to afford one.

  • avatar

    Given the choice between the MP4-12C and the 458 Italia, I’ll take the MP4-12C.

    It’s quicker, lighter, and it looks better. The 458 Italia looks like it came out of a Ridge Racer game.


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