Monday, April 22, 2024
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Gated Madness

When the name Koenigsegg pops up, you need a few seconds to wrap your head around two things. One is the spelling of the name. That takes a few tries before you can roll out the alphabets in your head without missing a beat…or a ‘g’. Or two.  Second thing is the fact that a hypercar brand like this even exists in 2023. We just went from killer pandemic to recession to fuel crisis. Ox carts might be back in vogue considering rising prices of everything, but Koenigsegg doesn’t do normal. The company started in 1994 and in 2002 the first  Koenigsegg came into being as the CC8S. It right away took Guinness World Records “Most powerful production engine in a car IN THE WHOLE WORLD” award. And then it won a few more.

The 20th Annierversary celebration meant Koenigsegg needed to take part in another one-upmanship exercise of ‘who can be the baddest’. That and a none-too-subtle celebration of founder Christian von Koenigsegg’s 50th birthday. The Koenigsegg CC850 was revealed as a homage to the original. It follows the same timeless design elements of the 2002 masterpiece. The engine pumps out ‘only’ 1,363 horsepower. Only 50 are to be made and they are all sold out. And it comes with a six-speed gated manual gearbox that is also a nine-speed automatic. Confused? Excited? Frothing at the mouth?

The gearbox is called the ‘Engage Shift System’ and is based around the company’s ‘Light Speed Transmission’. The system took two years to develop and allows for different gear ratios depending on the driving mode. Why? Because people still want to get properly, ‘handsy’ involved with a powerful car much like couples on a second date. And when you want the car to do the thinking, push it to the auto slot and it becomes a 9-speed. It’s all very electronic but in manual mode, it acts just like a mechanical manual.  When in manual mode, you use a clutch to change gears just like you would your old Toyota Corolla. And like your Corolla, you will stall the car if you miss. And the whole set-up is beautifully machined in a lovely slotted gate reminiscent of the manual transmission levers of classic racecars.  It’s based on the recent Jesko’s super strong carbon fibre monocoque. Engine is also from the Jesko: a twin-turbo 5.0-litre V8. On regular fuel it pumps out 1,169bhp. Add E85 and you unleash the full 1300+ horsepower and 1,020lb ft of torque.  According to Christian von Koenigsegg, “The CC850 was not created to break Jesko’s track records or set new high watermarks for top speed, but to offer the highest level of driver satisfaction and enjoyment with the exhilarating performance for which Koenigsegg is renowned.”

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