by Karl Furlong
To celebrate two decades of engineering ingenuity since the CC8S arrived, Koenigsegg revealed the spectacular new CC850 - another hypercar that introduces technologies that have never been seen before. In this case, the magic lies in the Engage Shift System (ESS) gearbox that is effectively a gated manual and automatic in one. Being a Koenigsegg, the CC850 has many other talents beyond its outrageous gearbox. It makes 1,353 horsepower from a 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 borrowed from the Jesko, and its sensational design was inspired by the CC8S that started it all. The CC850 is another groundbreaking hypercar from possibly the most audacious automaker on the planet and an instant icon before the first one has even been delivered.
The Koenigsegg CC850's release date has not yet been announced but we do know that only 50 examples will be built in honor of Christian von Koenigsegg's 50th birthday.
The price of the 2023 Koenigsegg CC850 hasn't been shared, but it's likely to cost more than a million bucks in the USA for the few who can afford to acquire one.
As with other Koenigseggs, the CC850 is a rare exotic that competes with the Bugattis and Paganis of the world, where the MSRP is so high that it hardly matters. However, there are no rivals out there to match the CC850's advanced gearbox. Most hypercars rely on more conventional dual-clutch automatics that won't provide the same satisfying experience of shifting gears yourself in the 2023 CC850.
Inspired by the CC8S, the brand's first production hypercar, the Koenigsegg CC850's exterior is an obvious throwback to that car but with more modern details. It's not the most dramatic-looking hypercar we've ever seen, but the side view is especially cool. Like the CC8S, the telephone-dial style wheels have made a return for the new Koenigsegg CC850 coupe. The wraparound windshield and headlights are other links to the older car, but the CC850 has modern daytime running lamps. The removable hardtop roof and synchro-helix doors that swing upwards have been seen before in prior Koenigsegg models.
Those distinctive center-locking wheels measure 20 inches in front and 21 inches at the back, and they can be wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S wheels as an option or Cup 2 R tires by default. At the back, the triple taillight clusters are another successful throwback to the CC8S. There is a tiny rear window to peek through, and a large diffuser and central exhaust outlet can be found lower down. Built in Angelholm, the Ghost badge features on the rear decklid.
We don't know what colors the 2023 Koenigsegg CC850 can be specced in other than the silver seen here, but we're sure that more vivid shades will be available optionally. Those brightly-colored calipers do look fantastic, though.
Despite the power at its disposal, the CC850 is not a large car. To put it into perspective, the CC850 is over seven inches shorter than a humble Honda Civic Hatchback. The dimensions of the Koenigsegg CC850 include a length of 171.8 inches, a width of 79.7 inches, and a height of just 44.4 inches. The wheelbase measures 106.3 inches, and the car sits incredibly low to the ground. In front, the ride height is as low as 2.8 inches. Fortunately, the car can be raised by almost two inches when the front lifting system is activated. Koenigsegg quotes a curb weight of 3,053 pounds.
We'll start with the simpler bit of the powertrain. Remarkably, that's the Koenigsegg CC850's engine: a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 from the Jesko. Featuring a flat-plane crankshaft but doing without a flywheel for greater responsiveness and higher revs, it produces 1,363 hp at 7,800 rpm when running on E85 gas and 1,020 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. The redline only arrives at 8,500 rpm.
The transmission trickery at play is undoubtedly the highlight of the CC850. Bear in mind that this car wasn't intended to break speed records but to provide the highest standard of driver engagement. That would explain why Koenigsegg decided against a more conventional dual-clutch as equipped to most other hypercars. Instead, the CC850's revolutionary transmission is called the Engage Shift System (ESS). Based on the already impressive Light Speed Transmission (LST) in the Jesko, the ESS functions as both a nine-speed automatic and a multi-ratio gated six-speed manual with a clutch.
Whereas a normal manual is mechanical, the manual half of the ESS features a clutch-by-wire setup that provides similar pressure in the clutch pedal when you change gears. Even the gated shifter has been engineered to provide force feedback that mirrors the sensation of changing gears in a conventional manual.
What about those rare occasions when you catch yourself stalling your manual car or eliciting a jolt by releasing the clutch too quickly? The CC850 has been designed to respond as a normal manual would if you're less than precise with it while rewarding you with perfect changes when you're concentrating.
Feeling lazy? You can easily switch to fully automatic mode whenever the mood strikes. It's a masterstroke of engineering and, if it proves reliable, provides a superb platform to extend the life of the manual gearbox.
Koenigsegg has not quoted 0-60 or top speed figures for the CC850, but it has the same 1:1 power-to-weight ratio as the Koenigsegg One:1, and that could reach 60 mph in well under three seconds. This is a car that weighs as much as a 718 Cayman GT4 but has more than three times the power.
The high-horsepower CC850 should be superb to drive on the track, too. It has a rigid carbon fiber monocoque and triplex dampers at the back. Three settings - Wet, Normal, and Track - cater to different driving conditions. Carbon-ceramic brakes feature six pistons in front and four at the back.
EPA ratings have not been published and Koenigsegg itself hasn't said anything about mpg ratings or range, although this won't be remotely concerning to anyone purchasing this car.
For what it's worth, the CC850 has a 19-gallon gas tank. Assuming consumption in the region of 13 mpg combined - around what other Koenigseggs with the twin-turbo V8 have achieve - you're looking at a range of around 247 miles.
As with the exterior, the Koenigsegg CC850's interior draws inspiration from the CC8S with its symmetrical, minimalistic design. This symmetrical layout isn't merely a design choice but makes it possible for both left- and right-hand-drive versions to be built without great difficulty. Like the physical shift lever, the analog chrono cluster is a wonderfully retro touch before digital gauge clusters replaced them.
The open-gate shifter is a work of art on its own, with the mechanical components below it exposed in all their glory. Leather and Alcantara with custom contrast stitching endows the cabin with a high-quality look, and besides adjusting the Koenigsegg CC850's seats to find your favored driving position, the steering column and pedals are also adjustable.
Apple CarPlay and inductive phone charging are among the more typical features inside the cabin, but the CC850 also has electro-hydraulic operation of the doors and hood. A bird's-eye view camera system and front/rear parking sensors will help you avoid any expensive dings.
There is no word on what the Koenigsegg CC850's cargo space specs are, but we don't expect much.
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