THE WORLD’S FASTEST TRACK CAR TESTED AT THE BIC!
Almost twenty years in the field of automotive journalism and I can tell you that this industry has a certain way of making you eat your words! It has a way of biting you in the backside when you least expect it. Like the time when you said, you would never modify your car and five months later you’ve cut the fenders up for a widebody kit and stroked out engine. Or when you said you would never be caught dead driving a Korean car but you find yourself splurging on a top of the line Genesis G90.
In a similar scenario I found myself drooling over a car I loathed since its inception - the Koenigsegg. Yes! Call me an idiot, but please hear me out too!
Well to start off with, the first car - the CC8S - launched at the 2003 Paris Motor Show didn’t impress me a whole lot. The name sounded nordic and weird, the headlights weren’t as cool as the ones they had shown on the prototype (three years earlier) and worst of all, was it’s disappointing powerplant.
Koenigsegg had borrowed a 4.7L Ford engine and twin supercharged it for power. Fair enough it posted some crazy numbers, but the mere fact that a car boasting such exclusivity would resort to an American V8, used by the average drag racer. What’s more, the journos had already classified it as a widow maker thanks to its very twitchy tail, massive torque and non existent traction. It wasn’t even logical to love it anymore.
Also those were the days manufacturers were announcing supercars left, right and centre. Porsche was due to launch its Carrera GT (2004), Bugatti was gearing up for the long awaited debut of the Veyron (2005), the world was still drooling over the insane looking Ferrari Enzo (2002) while the Lambo Murcielago ruled the roost as the fastest mainstream
production car. So why would I look at an unknown manufacturer from Sweden, who technically put suspensions and body shell on a metal plank, and strapped on an American V8?? It made no sense!
At that point I honestly believed that the CC8S and the manufacturer wouldn’t last very long... probably become a distant memory much, like the Vector of the late 80s early 90s.
Fast forward to last month, and I was a convert. The “egg” as its known affectionately by fans, is now a cult car with dedicated, social media fan clubs, while ownership of these high value limited assets is restricted to a few wealthy individuals around the world. Christian Von Koenigsegg made his dream come true and today I am simply in awe of how far he’s made it into a realm, that even the big names think twice about stepping into. As a 22 year old who launched his company back in 1994, Christian is now giving sleepless nights to supercar and hypercar manufacturers the world over.
It’s one of the rare times in my life, when I actually got sold on the car because of its interior. Don’t get me wrong, the exterior left me in awe, but the interior layout was just phenomenal. Seated inside the whole car felt like a helmet! You have complete 180deg vision, thanks to its unique windscreen which sort of interconnects to the windows and cleverly camouflages the A pillars. Its as if the car’s roof rests purely on glass. From the outside its looks sick, but from the inside it feels like nothing else you’ve seen.
The rest of the interior as expected features a lot of carbon fiber, alcantara, light weight but comfortable bucket seats and the signature telephone ringer, control console. Above this lies the touchscreen which helps you control many of the cars driving dynamics and interior settings. Behind the steering wheel lies the speedo and I can tell you not many cars have numbers marked well above 450kph. The high-tech digital displays utilise near-invisible inlaid carbon nano tubes which light up the nerve centre of the RS on command. Overall the cockpit feels snug and comfy but even more importantly driver-centric. You can sense the Agera RS is all about going fast... very fast!
The body shell of the RS takes a more aggressive styling approach and quite naturally too. The basic Koenigsegg hallmarks are all there like the trademark dihedral synchro helix doors which twirl up and out in one effortless motion and are probably responsible for selling a few units on their own. However this car is all about track numbers and hence it gets a purpose built and track oriented front splitter, front canards, side skirts, an advanced underbody flap system and a dynamically active and bigger rear wing. As a direct result it now produces 450kg of downforce at 250kph.
Koenigsegg have also managed to shave off 35kg in weight, making the RS weigh a paltry 1295kg (dry) compared to the previous Agera S. The objective of course was to make this car into a track variant of its older sibling. There is advanced sound insulation too, which keeps the noise of track pebbles and grit at a bare minimum, something most manufacturers foolishly seem to ignore for the sake of so called “track authenticity”.
The “Eggs” are known to be insanely fast cars, in fact they have been a constant menace to the Bugatti Veyron... throughout its entire production cycle, even snatching the Guinness ‘Fastest Car in the World” record a number of times. So it comes as no great surprise that the Agera RS puts out 1160bhp on the crank thanks to a gut sickening 1280Nm of torque, on regular pump gas. But it also has E85 flex fuel capability for an even higher output, should you dare!
You really need to have balls of steel to throttle down this hypercar into hyperdrive from standstill. If you do... expect the rear wheels to tear open the tarmac and propel you to a 100kph in 2.8sec and 200kph in just 7.5secs. Most cars take an entire Jupiter Symphony (Mozart) to do that! It apparently tops out at 442.57kph... would have loved to see that, but going airborne in a car is not my thing!
But putting the stats aside, it’s the raw violence of the twin ball bearing turbochargers that sets the Agera RS apart from anything you have or ever will experience. It seems calm and composedly quick up until 3500rpm, but after that the sensation is that of a football unleashed hard, from a Zlatan Ibrahimovic free-kick! Bang and you’re darting forward, trying to keep your head up as the Gs start imprinting the shape of your spine and ribs into the seat leather.
Power is delivered to the wheels via a 7-speed sequential transmission specially produced for Koenigsegg by renown transmission manufacturer CIMA. The company is responsible for supplying gearboxes to F1 teams since 1957. Software for the transmission and differential are developed in house by Koenigsegg.
But honestly the RS gives you no time to compute what’s going on, as the needle surges more like an RPM gauge than a speedometer. Redline comes in at 7800rpm and then BAM! You’re shooting forward again. The best part is that the RS needs very little steering correction.
The Michelin Pilot Sport rubbers show phenomenal grip enabling the Agera RS to pull 1.75 lateral Gs! But it’s just not the tires that enable this, as the RS has quite a bit of tech under
its skin responsible for the rail like traction. Its suspension set up starts off even before that with the super stiff carbon monocoque with integrated fuel tank weighing in at just 72kgs. It offers an industry leading 65,000Nm per degree of torsional rigidity which gives the suspension the independence it needs to channel power to the ground.
The suspension system includes double wishbones both in front and the rear, with electronically adjustable gas-hydraulic dampers commissioned by Koenigsegg through Ohlins. Coupled with the company’s patented Triplex suspensions the Agera RS is a very serious and potent track monster.
There are only 25 examples of this car in the world and all 25 have been sold out. The Agera RS was launched at the Geneva motorshow in 2015, while the last car was sold in January 2016 just 10 months after its release. This makes the Agera RS the fastest selling model in Koenigseggs history. And if 25 cars priced at approx US $2million - selling out in 10 months - doesn’t bear testament to the car’s unparalleled excellence... I don’t know what will!
© COPYRIGHT ARABIA MOTORS JUNE 2017