Pagani Utopia debuts at the 2023 Festival of Speed

14th July 2023
Ethan Jupp

You know a car marque is fairly boutique when it’s only onto its third model in 25 years. The Pagani Zonda was the beloved breakout, the Huayra the difficult second album and now we have the Utopia, which made its public dynamic debut on the Hill at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard.


Revealed in September 2022 the Utopia was presented as a culmination of everything Pagani has been to date, as well as a statement of what it wants to be. It was also the subject of some fairly pivotal decision making for the small boutique marque. For a moment, a version of the Utopia was due to be all-electric, but reservations over the technology and what it meant for the brand led Pagani to do what it’s best known for: go to its customers. The result was fairly unanimous. No to electric, yes to more V12s, and can there be a manual. The Utopia as you see it here is the result.

Now, Pagani announced initially that the Utopia would use a version of the seven-speed paddle-operated transmission from the last Huayras, but also add a seven-speed manual to the range. Our thoughts at the time were ‘great, we’ll see that in a couple of years, if at all, given it’ll be totally dependent on people ordering it’. Well at the Festival of Speed, the Utopia running up the Hill is the manual, with a representative of Pagani telling us that around 80 per cent of the initial 99-car run of coupes will be so-equipped. They also confirmed that a Roadster will be on the way sooner rather than later (as was the case with the Huayra) as well as a more extreme version of the Huayra R. Can we expect a Huayra Revolucion at Goodwood next year? Here’s hoping.


So the Utopia is intended to return somewhat to the analogue, driver-focused attitude of the original Zonda. That’s reflected most obviously in the manual transmission, but also the design, which is a mixture of nods to the Zonda (check that rear end) and sculptural forms – especially as the windscreen blends into the roof – reminiscent of sports prototypes from the 1960s and 1970s. That checks out, given the Porsche 917 is Horacio Pagani’s favourite-ever car.

The headlight covers are a bone of contention design-wise but we’re told that’s the way it has to be, for repairability. If the visors were to be cracked on integrated covers, that’d mean the whole clam would need to be replaced. Also quite unlike the Zonda and Huayra, for US homologation reasons, the light units themselves can no longer lift with the clam and instead have to be in a fixed position.


As a bit of a Pagani fan – the C12S Roadster is still my childhood pin-up – I wasn’t sure about the Utopia, but seeing it in the metal (carbon) has really swayed me. This is an artful, sculptural car, that’s very obviously the product of passion and a pen, rather than the ebbs and flows of air through a wind tunnel. A rare thing these days.

What about performance? It’s sort of not the point with these cars. You buy a Koenigsegg for that. But for the sake of being thorough, the numbers are as follows: 864PS (634kW) and 1,100Nm (811lb-ft) courtesy of a 6.0-litre twin-turbo Mercedes-AMG V12. Weighing just 1,280kg, the performance should be fairly spectacular, getting to 62mph in under three seconds, on the way to a theoretical 230mph+ top speed. It didn’t quite test those limits on our Hill, but it certainly flexed its considerable muscles. Let us know your thoughts on the new Pagani Utopia.

The 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed is underway! You can watch every moment of the action by watching our live stream.

Photography by Nick Wilkinson.

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