Boutique Supercars: Koenigsegg Agera

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How one Swedish guy dreamed big and ended up building one of the world's fastest cars.

The Swedish hyper car maker Koenigsegg is another recent success story, owing much of this to their engineering work, which is at a level that would be impressive even for a much bigger company. Cars built by Koenigsegg hold a number of world records, and the company, which is already a major contender in the world of hyper cars, continues to gain momentum. Founded by Christian von Koenigsegg, it is now a publicly traded company, but his family crest still serves as the official logo.


Von Koenigsegg got his start in business as a food exporter, but it is said that he had dreamed of making his own supercar ever since he saw the Norwegian film "Flaklypa Grand Prix" at the age of five. So Koenigsegg was founded in 1994, and the first prototype was built in '96. This was the CC, and it underwent several years of testing and a number of new prototypes were built before the first production-ready prototype was unveiled in 2000. Taking so long to develop a hyper car isn't unusual, and when it's from a boutique company, it's even more normal. What's unusual about Koenigsegg is that they now use their own engines, built in-house.

This is complicated enough for an automotive giant like Toyota, but for a company with 45 employees, it's a massive undertaking. Another unusual thing about Koenigsegg is the attention they give to "green" ideas. For example, all of their cars built since 2007 have been flex-fuel, with the option to run on renewable biofuel. They are also involved in developing electric car technology and more efficient reciprocating-engine technology. There are plenty of boutique companies working on electric cars, but these companies rarely also produce thousand-horsepower hyper cars alongside them.

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It's probably worth noting that, since 2003, Koenigsegg has had the coolest factory of any boutique carmaker. It is housed in a pair of fighter-jet hangers and an office building at Angelholm airport. The airport is still in use, but parts have been shut down, and this means that former military runways are available for testing and new-car shakedowns, while the still-operational parts of the airport are there to accommodate Koenigsegg customers who wish to arrive by private jet. The CC prototype evolved into the CC8S when it went on sale in 2002. It introduced the brand's trademark dihedral-opening doors, which were then a first on a production car.

A mix of Kevlar, aluminum and carbon fiber made for the extremely light weight of just 2,590lbs. The engine is a DOHC supercharged 4.7-liter V8. It produces 646 horsepower and sends power to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. This would evolve into the CCR (no relation to Credence), which was adorned with a logo of a ghost in honor of the jet fighter squadron which had formerly inhabited the facility which Koenigsegg now called home. Next would come the CCX and then the CCXR, with the final evolution of the CC wearing the nameplate "Trevita".

The Trevita is really just a special edition of the CCXR, which boasts a twin-supercharged version of the 4.7 V8, producing 1,064 horsepower when running on E100 biofuel, although it's about 1,018 on pump gas. The Trevita engine is actually 4.8 liters, and produces slightly more torque than the regular CCXR, making it able to hit 60mph in just 2.9 seconds. Unlike most other hyper cars, the body is unpainted, and is instead made of a special glittery silver-white carbon composite fabric which is a Koenigsegg proprietary material.

In its various forms, CC cars held records for best power-to-weight ratio in a production car, fastest 0-190-0mph of any production car, and the record for the fastest speeding ticket in the world. The ticket was for 242 in a 75, although it's unclear how a Crown Victoria ever caught him. The CCR even briefly held the world record for fastest production car in the world, breaking the McLaren F1's 8-year run at the top, but it was broken so soon afterward by the Bugatti Veyron that you almost never hear about it. After the Trevita, Koenigsegg brought out a new model, the Agera. This is built using incredibly advanced materials and design features.

The car was initially slated to use the same engine as the CCXR, but this was changed before it went into production, and a newly designed 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 was used in its place. This engine produces 940 horsepower in the regular Agera, and 1,100 horsepower in the Agera R. The look of the car is not radically different from the CC cars, but this is a completely new design, and it is one of the more attractive cars in the world. Perhaps most remarkable, the Agera won Top Gear's 2010 Hyper Car of the Year, beating out the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. And all this from a couple of aircraft hangers in Sweden.


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