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Best of 2023

10 of Koenigsegg’s coolest, most mind-boggling innovations

Are you ready to comprehend the size of Christian Von Koenigsegg’s brain? Here’s a shake-down of his greatest hits

Koenigsegg CC850
  • Koenigsegg CC850

    Christian Von Koenigsegg (CvK) is a man who has no creative limitations, that much is now apparent. From producing insane amounts of power from tiny displacements to successfully repurposing his ethos to suit the electric era, his brand, Koenigsegg, is often cited as one of the world’s most innovative manufacturers.

    The radical gearbox in his latest CC850 hypercar is proof of the pudding, and it got us thinking: what are Koenigsegg’s most ingenious engineering solutions yet? Which products moved the game forward, and dazzled us to such an extent that our IQ was called into question? Here are 10 of the very best.

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  • ‘Rocket’ catalytic converter

    ‘Rocket’ catalytic converter

    A catalytic converter is a device which uses numerous chemical reactions to clean as much of the waste products as possible from a car’s exhaust before exit, and most cars have two: a ‘pre-cat’ and a ‘main cat’. While the engine is warming up, the pre-cat activates before the main cat is primed and ready to take centre stage.

    It’s considered to be a relatively inefficient system, however, so Christian and the crew naturally saw this as an opportunity to show off their would-make-Ultron-jealous-sized brains. They reworked the system to add ‘bypass’ points to ease the load on the pre-cat by directing it straight towards the main cat, which also relieves the converter of a large amount of unwanted ‘back pressure’. The result? Around 300 extra horsepower to play with.

  • ‘Dihedral synchro-helix’ doors

    ‘Dihedral synchro-helix’ doors

    A common denominator of the world’s most exotic cars is an unconventional type of door, be it Butterfly, Canopy or Gullwings. They do look sublime but can sometimes leave occupants extremely red-faced with their stifled entry and exit procedures. If you’re getting on a bit, the last thing you want is to participate in an untimely yoga class which ruins the grandiose appearance and shows that you, in truth, don’t like to move it.

    The solution? Extra hinges and intelligent positioning. Dubbed the ‘dihedral synchro-helix doors’, Koenigsegg has devised a way of allowing the hinges to move outwards and then upwards, creating a two-stage motion which not only looks cool as ice but maintains dignity upon exit.
     

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  • ‘Triplex’ suspension system

    ‘Triplex’ suspension system

    Trying to balance performance and comfort with usability is probably the most difficult compromise to find in the exotic car game, so very few manufacturers have managed to nail the recipe. Bugatti and McLaren are two such examples but arguably, Koenigsegg has now upstaged both of them with its intuitive ‘Triplex’ suspension.

    By deploying a third damper, which tilts on its axis for more reach, the Triplex has provided Koenigsegg’s cars with what it’s calling an ‘anti-squat element’. In this instance, ‘squat’ refers to how the posterior of the car sits down under heavy acceleration. The Triplex counteracts this by enabling the car to pivot more freely. It’s like having a few extra bones to help push you back up when you’re doing weighted squats yourself and feel your knees about to buckle. It’s also the ideal rehabilitation for those who have performed supercar entry/exit yoga previously. Probably.

  • ‘HydraCoup’ torque converter

    ‘HydraCoup’ torque converter

    We’re going to try and space out the really complicated stuff sparingly to give your mind a moment to breathe. Ready? OK, good. The Koenigsegg Regera is, for the best will in the world, an engineering marvel. Its twin-turbo V8 and the triumvirate of electric motors develop close to 1,800bhp, but there’s no transmission to control that power and only a single-speed gearbox to stitch it all together. So how, then, does one administer all this fury?

    By replacing the transmission with a heavy-duty aluminium torque converter, duh. This acts as a bridge between the entire drivetrain and allows power to be fed in increments until the ‘HydraCoup’ can unleash 100 per cent of its power and torque in one massive blast. That’s why the Regera may seem to get off the line somewhat sluggishly compared to the rest of its phases, but when the HydraCoup does kick in, even Gandalf the Grey himself can’t stop the supernova from happening.

  • ‘Direct Drive’ transmission

    ‘Direct Drive’ transmission

    Yet another invention that debuted in the Regera, the ‘Direct Drive’ transmission provides, as the name suggests, drive directly to the rear axle but without the need for gears or a conventional transmission. This not only keeps the power and torque delivery linear but is also an extremely efficient way of expending that grunt.

    By combining the Regera’s powertrain and compact battery pack with the direct drive transmission, Koenigsegg created a monster akin to the pages of Norse mythology that broke the 0-248mph (400kph) world record by posting a time of 28.81s. That’s quick enough to worry Dominic Toretto at a set of lights.

  • Autoskin

    Autoskin

    There’s something fantastically childish yet mesmeric about hypercars when they’ve got every panel and door opened up. It’s a proper intimidation display, similar to that dinosaur from Jurassic Park which sprouts fins from its head and sprays you with ink (Dilophosaurus). Just not as… nasty.

    Pagani is one of the very best at doing this, but it’s difficult to argue against Koenigsegg’s credentials thanks to its ‘Autoskin’ hinges. They allow every moving exterior panel on the Regera to be hydraulically operated using soft-closing mechanisms, and add less than five kilograms to the car’s total weight.

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  • High-performance batteries

    High-performance batteries

    CvK and his brand’s transition from combustion to electricity has felt seamless, and this has been proven by their Formula One-grade electric batteries that are not only competently designed but relatively minuscule in stature. In the Regera, for instance, a 4.5kWh 800V liquid-cooled unit exists and tips the scales at just 65.7kg. For some comparison, the standard lithium-ion battery pack in a McLaren P1 comes in at around 106kg. 

    Clever packaging aside, the Regera’s battery technology allows it to summon up the full 670bhp from the electric portion of its hybrid powertrain for a full 10 seconds. That’s like having Black Panther’s bright purple kinetic energy burst constantly available in live automotive form.

  • Flex fuel sensor

    Flex fuel sensor

    As we get to the business end of this story, we finally reach the section where Koenigsegg’s most notable strides have been made: its engines. As CvK and his team began to refine the brand’s flagship V8 engine, they decided to create a unique fuel sensor system called ‘Flex’, which allows all models (except the Agera S) to run on E85 biofuel or even a mix of both E85 and petrol.

    This clever component alters the compression rate and ignition timing, among other things, to allow the cars to accept any ratio of the two fuels. The upshot of using E85 is you not only have a comical power increase, but you’re also being environmentally conscious since it’s much greener than non-ethanol fuels. We’d be tempted to pour a little Lucozade in there, just to see what happens…

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  • ‘Quark’ electric motor and ‘Tiny Friendly Giant’ engine

    ‘Quark’ electric motor and ‘Tiny Friendly Giant’ engine

    Imagine an electric motor that weighs just 28kg and puts out 335bhp. That’s exactly what the ‘Quark’ in the Gemera does, and paired with another of Koenigsegg’s inventions, the aptly named ‘Tiny Friendly Giant’ (TFG) three-cylinder 2.0-litre engine which produces a further 600bhp by itself, the four-seat hyper GT has everything it needs to wow you. 

    Instead of making use of a conventional camshaft, the TFG operates its intake and exhaust valves independently of one another. It’s another brutally simple yet hugely rewarding idea that has allowed Koenigsegg to keep the Gemera’s powertrain both light and venomous.

  • The 5.0-litre V8

    The 5.0-litre V8

    There’s nothing new about a 5.0-litre displacement or an eight-cylinder block, so Koenigsegg’s engine isn’t something revolutionary in this sense. In fact, CvK’s very first model, the CC8S, originally adopted a supercharged 4.7-litre engine sourced from Ford but found it to be a bit… stale. 

    After a few years of refinement (and only a higher deity knows how much spent), the current 5.0-litre V8 which Koenigsegg uses is capable of putting out as much as 1,300bhp without any electrical assistance while weighing around 200kg depending on the application. For its size and weight, Koenigsegg has created something truly remarkable.

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