Saturday, September 27, 2008

Face-off: Honda vs Zonda!


Two wheels and 178bhp inline-four vs four wheels and 678bhp V12? Bring it on!
Right, we admit part of the reason why we did this story was so we could use that headline. Some other shootouts may be more sensible, but for sheer fun, and for the heck of it, ‘Honda vs Zonda’ is hard to beat…

Round 1: The Styling

So let’s start. And to begin with, we have Honda’s latest Fireblade. Launched last year, the new Fireblade’s rounded, bulbous lines were a radical break from the previous model’s sharper, more angular lines. We think the ’Blade looks a bit like its MotoGP cousin, the Honda RC212V, and how bad can that be? Still, most would agree that the current CBR1000RR can’t be compared to an MV Agusta F4 or Ducati 1098 in the looks department…

Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade
F&F Score: 6/10

On to the Pagani then, and what we have here is the Zonda Cinque, a limited edition variant of what’s already one of the most exclusive supercars in the world! Indeed, the Cinque is the road-legal version of the racetrack-only Zonda R, and only five of these have been built. It isn’t beautiful to look at, ‘brutal’ is more like it. And we think those red leather seats are a bit excessive even in a car like this…

Pagani Zonda Cinque
F&F Score: 6/10

We wonder which one would the ladies prefer...
Round 2: The Engine

The CBR1000RR Fireblade is fitted with Honda’s 999cc, liquid-cooled, 16-valve, DOHC inline-four, which pumps out 178 horsepower at 12,000rpm. This engine is a masterpiece of performance engineering and is packed with technology – dual-stage fuel-injection (DSFI) with two injectors per cylinder, computer-controlled digital transistorized ignition with three-dimensional mapping, titanium intake valves, MotoGP-derived ram-air system, forged aluminium pistons with molybdenum coating, removable cylinder block with Nikasil-coated cylinders, Iridium-tip spark plugs… and we could go on.

Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade
F&F Score: 8/10


The Pagani Zonda Cinque is almost as impressive in the engine department – it packs a 7.3-litre Mercedes-Benz V12 that’s been tweaked by AMG and produces 678 horsepower and 780Nm of torque. The engine’s ECU, which controls everything from the anti-lock brakes to the traction control system, was designed by Bosch and is said to be the best in the business.

Pagani Zonda Cinque
F&F Score: 7/10

Both, the Honda and the Zonda, are performance fiends down to their last bhp...
Round 3: The Performance
Fully fueled and ready to go, the Fireblade weighs a claimed 199 kilos. With 178bhp (about 160bhp at the rear wheel) on tap, the bike accelerates from zero to 160km/h in 5.41 seconds and does the standing quarter-mile (400m) in 10.32 seconds. The Fireblade’s top speed is around 280km/h, which, from a standing start, it reaches in less than 20 seconds. Fast enough for you?

Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade
F&F Score: 8/10


If the ’Blade is quick, the 1200-kilo Zonda Cinque doesn’t potter around either – it accelerates from zero to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds and from zero to 200km/h in 9.8 seconds. Top speed, for Bonneville Salt Flats regulars, is around 350km/h. And with its four super-fat Pirelli P-Zero tyres and full complement of electronic safety features like anti-lock brakes and traction control, the car is probably safer the bike at those triple-digit speeds. In fact, from 200km/h, the Zonda can come to a complete halt in just 4.3 seconds – something the Honda can’t match, despite the fact that the 2009 model is equipped with C-ABS anti-lock brakes.

Pagani Zonda Cinque
F&F Score: 8/10


So, the Honda scores 22 points out of 30, while the Zonda stands at 21 points. And that’s when we haven’t taken the price into account – US$11,800 for the Honda, US$1.5 million for the Zonda. That’s settled then. Honda beats Zonda…!

Also see:
Honda Fireblade vs Honda Civic Type R
125cc GP racer vs litre-class superbike
Yamaha WRF450 vs Subaru Impreza
The world's fastest bike vs the world's fastest man!
Ducati 1098 vs Lamborghini Gallardo
Yamaha FZR750R OW01 vs Yamaha R1
1970s MV Agusta 500 GP racer vs MotoGP Ducati GP7
Kawasaki ZZR1100 vs ZZR1400
MotoGP vs Professional Bull Fighting

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