REVIEW: Almost Real Plus Pagani Zonda Cinque •

REVIEW: Almost Real Plus Pagani Zonda Cinque

The rise of Pagani from being a relatively obscure start-up to one of the automotive industry’s most revered supercar manufacturers can be primarily credited to the success of one model – the Zonda. 

It was the founder, Horacio Pagani’s profound appreciation for aesthetics and meticulous devotion to detail that culminated in the birth of this automotive unicorn. A car so unique and exquisite, it dethroned the Ferraris and Lamborghinis as the new poster car of the 21st century. (I myself have six of them hung on my bedroom wall!)

A decade after the debut of the first Zonda, the C12, the company unveiled a more outrageous version of the car that benefited from the knowledge acquired during the development of the Zonda R. It was called “Cinque”. If you’re familiar with Italian, you probably figured it out from the name, the production of this coupe was limited to a mere five units. It was conceived in response to the request of the company’s official dealer in Hong Kong and was meant to commemorate the end of Zonda’s production. Now we all know how that went!

With the product limited to such a low volume, the chances of even seeing a Cinque are about the same as spotting a polar bear roaming the Sahara desert. A good excuse to own a scaled-down model then, wouldn’t you say?

For Pagani fans in this hobby, 2023 has been an exciting time. Collectors who once complained about the lack of good options for the Zonda are now having a hard time keeping up. The latest offering from Almost Real “Plus” is an answer to the prayers of a majority of us. Having waited for what seems like an eternity, the desire for a well-detailed, fully opening, diecast replica of the Cinque has finally become a reality.

While the real car is an expression of Pagani’s artistry at its finest, how does Almost Real’s effort compare? Let us find out…

The packaging remains largely unchanged from that of the Zonda F released in 2021. Included in the box are a certificate and a host of accessories as seen before (microfiber cloth, pamphlet, door opening tool, tweezers, screwdriver). One notable difference you will spot, however, is the inclusion of a cross-bar wrench. Refer to the pamphlet for instructions on how you can use it to take the wheels and rotors off the model. This feature is new to the Cinque and wasn’t seen on the F. How cool is that? I would, however, recommend not to go crazy with it, as you could easily scrape the red paint off the centre lock nut.

Inside the box, the model comes shrouded in a soft fabric car cover. Now, imagine the excitement on a child’s face, unwrapping a present on Christmas morning. It is that same joy that radiates from my face while taking the cover off the model! 

At first glance, the model appears to be a genuine feast for the eyes. The factory has done a great job capturing the overall shape. The stance on the model appears to be slightly lower but it certainly isn’t a deal breaker. On the contrary, it looks menacing!

While the real car is made from advanced lightweight material like carbo-titanium, the model doesn’t try hard to keep its weight in check. It feels fairly heavy in hand, giving you the impression of quality. How ironic! 

There are three colour options to choose from, all of which are based on actual specs. The first one introduced was metallic white (Bianco Benny), the production of which isn’t limited. A great decision, as it seems to be the most popular choice among collectors. It was later followed by metallic orange (Arancio St. Tropez), and lastly by metallic green (Verde Firenze). Both the green and orange options are limited to 1008 pieces each. 

Today, we will be looking at two of the colour options: Bianco Benny and Arancio St. Tropez. 

The paint application on both of the models is flawless, and given their scale, the fine speckles help create a realistic impression. On closer inspection, the white paint’s metallic sheen is more noticeable in person, while the orange paint, though also metallic, appears a bit flat from certain angles. 

The centre stripe that runs across the car from front to back is executed precisely. On the orange car, the stripe blends seamlessly to match the body colour. Whereas, the white counterpart takes a bolder approach by incorporating a red stripe. Personally, I prefer the latter, as it adds plenty of character to the car’s predominantly black-and-white palette.

What unmistakably distinguishes this as a premium model is the meticulous replication of the carbon fibre elements and the sheer amount of it. Over half the car’s exterior is proudly showcased in exposed carbon fibre! As for the decals used, their weave and scale are on point. The application of a clear coat over them substantially enhances the overall appearance. Also, the painstaking effort put into aligning the weaves is truly commendable. I’m sure even Mr. Pagani would be pleased!

In the front, the overall shape appears more accurate than the (resin) offering from Peako, which until now was the only high-end option available. The headlights and indicators along with the surrounding carbon fibre trim are neatly mimicked and look quite realistic. The photo-etched Pagani badge located below the windshield is also well-defined and legible. 

As you move down the nose, you will find the openings in the bottom are backed by perforated metal grilles. Located on either end are fog lamps which are adequately detailed. The aero elements like the front splitter and side canards have also been faithfully reproduced.

Continuing onto the side, the shutlines on both examples are fairly tight, considering their complexity. 

The gloss black wheels, common to all Cinques, are well-represented. They come with finely detailed valve stems and removable centre lock nuts. There are pinstripes around the rims, which, along with the callipers, are colour-coded to match the centre stripes on the respective cars. The rotors and callipers are quite realistic in appearance as well. The only complaint here is the omission of tire markings on the side wall.

Positioned above the front wheels on the clamshell, are neatly replicated carbon fibre wing mirrors that are fixed in place. Also integrated into the front clam are very detailed louvres which are open, just like those on the real car. These are also finished in carbon decals.

As you move further along the model, you’ll notice that the side windows on both models have a dark tint. Located on the roof above is a superbly executed air scoop that takes centre stage. It is impossible to miss, as it looks like a beautiful art sculpture on display.

On the side, little details like the photo-etched signature and turn signals with the surrounding trim bearing the Pagani script have all been captured and neatly mimicked. 

Placed just past the doors, above the rear wheels, are quirky but functional carbon fibre snorkels that direct air at the rear brakes. The opening in them is capped off with a photo-etched mesh. Speaking of which, photo-etched mesh is also present in the rest of the vents all around.

Continuing down the side, it’s impossible not to pause and admire the beautiful shoulder line. It graciously wraps around the enchanting wide hips, which together with larger rear tires lends the model a planted stance.

The rear end of the car is nothing short of mesmerizing, so alluring that, it would make men turn their heads to look back in admiration. Here, the large rear spoiler (which is static) and the massive diffuser further hint at the car’s hardcore pedigree. They are well replicated and detailed using carbon decals. 

Also in the back is a wide, expansive photo-etched mesh that gives you a sneak preview of the mechanical components hidden under the skin. Positioned at the centre of it all is the iconic quad-pipe exhaust, which, even to this day, blows my mind. It reminds me of a four-barrel Gatling cannon that belongs in the hands of a Gundam! It is finished in black on both models and if you look closely, you’ll be disappointed to find that the opening doesn’t extend all the way through.

The tail lights as well as the third brake light on the model have a good amount of detail and should satisfy the majority of collectors. As one would anticipate from a model at this price point, the Pagani & Zonda badges in the back are photo-etched. 

While the model’s exterior is undeniably impressive, its interior is equally deserving of praise. As detailed in the instruction pamphlet, care must be taken when opening the model up to avoid damaging the leather straps. The doors on the Zonda open traditionally compared to the Huayra’s gullwing design. Once inside the cabin, the great attention paid to the details of the interior becomes quite evident. 

The carbon bucket seats have very fine details overall. Along the sides, the black plastic bears a striking resemblance to leather, while the centre cushions are decorated to create the illusion of Alcantara. This surface treatment carries over throughout the entire interior. The finish of everything from the dashboard and floor to the door panels and steering wheel are emulated to look and feel like Alcantara.

The interior also features an extensive application of carbon decals on parts of the dashboard & door trim, instrument cluster housing, HVAC vents, central tunnel, as well as sills. 

The central console is neatly replicated, and the painted buttons and little toggle switches help enhance the aesthetics. Furthermore, the various little badges & photo etched parts used for the four-point harnesses and interior door handles, contribute to the overall sense of realism.   The same, however, cannot be said about the instrument cluster. While in the real car, it is designed to emulate a luxury watch, on the model, it looks no better than a kid’s toy watch from a cereal box. Barring this, the execution of the rest of the interior is stunning.

While we are still here, it’s worth noting that the steering positions on both cars are distinct — the orange Cinque is right-hand drive, while the white one is left-hand drive. The effort to get this detail right is worthy of applause.

Now, if you’re a surgeon or have ever aspired to be one, you’ll find the process of opening the clamshells very rewarding. Much like the real car, the model’s clamshells, both front and rear, can be securely fastened with genuine leather straps. If they are secured in place, the doors will need to be opened to undo the straps on either side. This delicate operation will require a steady hand, and the extremely handy tweezers provided in the box.

The front clamshell is hinged at the front and pivots from the middle at the tip of the nose. Opening it reveals the radiator and cooling fans, along with the windshield washer reservoir, all of which are impressively replicated. On closer inspection, you’ll spot the flawlessly recreated, gold double wishbone suspension that stands out in the sea of carbon fibre. If you tinker with it, the geek in you will be pleased to learn that it functions seamlessly. Every conceivable nook and cranny here is adorned in carbon decals. The realism is further heightened by the inclusion of warning labels for the radiator and fans.

Having explored the front, let’s now turn our attention to the rear clamshell. The process for opening it is pretty similar, except it opens backwards, hinging at the rear. Upon lifting the enormous clamshell, you’ll be treated to the incredibly detailed 7.3-litre V12. The engine bay of the model is a display of meticulous craftsmanship. It is put together from a variety of skilfully reproduced parts comprising of structural framing, intake manifold, exhaust manifold, various cables, piping, clear tubing, dipsticks and so on. However, what truly steals the show is the stunning electric blue Inconel/titanium exhaust!

In addition to the engine, the rear clamshell is also home to the luggage panniers situated on either side of it. Opening them reveals the fitted luggage, which is included in the model as well.   To sum it up, the seamless assembly of various components has resulted in an engine bay that is visually captivating.

To highlight how rare of a breed the Cinque is, the car proudly displays its production number through a cutout in the clamshell, above the engine. In the case of the white model we have here, it’s replicated after the 1 of 5, while the orange one is the 3 of 5. The badges indicating these numbers are present on the models as well. The factory missed placing the badge on the orange model I own, however, they were kind enough to provide me with a spare.

Suggested retail is $398 US. Although not exorbitantly expensive like the real car, the model still carries a hefty price tag. Is it worth it? Absolutely!

With the exception of CMC, there aren’t many models this hobby has seen over the past few years, with such a level of attention to detail. In fact, the execution is so impressive that many of you will inevitably find yourselves comparing it to the Zondas from Autoart. Quite a high benchmark, considering they are regarded as some of if not the best, models they have produced to date.

The Zonda Cinque is one of those models that deserves to be replicated in high detail, to complement what essentially represents the company’s core ethos. To conclude, we are very fortunate to have a model which achieves just that.

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15 Responses to "REVIEW: Almost Real Plus Pagani Zonda Cinque"

  1. DS Team says:

    Scenic, thanks for this great review. This model has yet to cross our path but what is shown in the photos is truly a win! No idea they did right and left option cars based on the exterior colour. Deciding on which colour to purchase can be overwhelming at times, and this Pagani is definitely providing that!

    The layers of detail are awesome to see, and that interior is just gorgeous! We just received the BBR diecast/opening Maserati MC20, this model far exceeds it – easily a story we can voice on these photos alone. If not mistaken they are comparable in price too?

    • Scenic's View says:

      The pleasure is all mine! This model is certainly a top contender for the model of the year. Choosing one colour out of the three will surely be challenging for most people. They are all so good!
      BBR’s MC20 looks pretty good in pictures, and yes, I believe they cost roughly the same. I agree, with the Zonda you feel like you are getting a lot more for your money, and rightly so.

      • Karsten says:

        Surely a top contender … with lots of competition! Will be very exciting this year! 2023 is blessed with so much goodness model wise, not least because of Almost Real.

  2. Karsten says:

    Glad the review is out now! Thank you! I have my white Cinque for over a month now, but the first came with a major issue: Despite my best efforts, the front mounting screw did not move at all and was completely stuck. Small Ants replaced the model at no extra cost, great customer service. However, the front mounting screw was very tight again and was hard to remove. Was that the same on yours?
    Another interesting goodie was a copy of a letter by Pagani, confirming that the licence came into effect … from only July 2022! That would explain the long wait!

    • Razorblade says:

      Use Wera screwdrivers, they have laser tips and bite into the head of the screw without slipping.

    • SCENIC'S VIEW says:

      Oh really? That’s strange. I used the screwdriver that came with one of the LCD models and I didn’t have any problem at all.

      And yes, I received one of those letters as well and put it away safely haha.

    • Karsten says:

      I used the LCD driver too, but the first would not even move with pliers after peeling away everything to get to the screw. This was a first for my entire collection in more than 30 years. Shouldn’t require extra sharp tools like Wera! The rear screws came quietly like they should.
      Some ARs now don’t require drivers at all. The XJ6 had the screw attached to the plastic funnel. That again had wings to turn it with the screw.
      It is like the tyre wall branding, inconsistent, randomly some of this year’s ARs have it, some don’t.

    • ATEOTD says:

      Having received my Cinque today, I also had trouble with the screws. They annoy me to no end. You can’t see or easily feel what you’re doing. Some high-end manufacturers get by without them. Maybe one could argue it’s different with a Zonda that has sensitive parts sticking out, but there must be a better way.

    • DS Team says:

      Hey, just received my personal model. The front screw was so tight it was almost stripped! I had to remove from a more traditional driver with a larger barrel, it got the job done, thankfully!

  3. Kostas says:

    Another fine specimen from Almost Real! Amazing and very well made model car. The electric blue titanium exhausts with the Pagani logo on them are simply gorgeous! I wish I had them on my Almost Real Zonda F too..

  4. H.S says:

    Excellent, both models have unreal detail, just gets me excited for the Tricolore and other Zonda variants! Hope they’re not too far off!

  5. Peter says:

    Hey DS team, why did you delete MRM’s most detailed review/comparison ever written in the history of this hobby without as much as a warning?!? Making it a private club of yes-men or what?

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