Marques of distinction - Koenigsegg

By: Unique Cars magazine

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The name sounds better suited to a child’s toy, but there’s nothing cheap or simplistic about the cars that have emerged in tiny numbers from a converted hanger alongside the runways of Sweden’s Angelhom airport

From Unique Cars #305, Nov/Dec 2009

Now Christian von Koenigsegg’s supercar business is in the news again, but not for breaking a long-standing speed record or because one of its North American customers has been booked for doing 390km/h on a public highway.

Providing all of its financiers can be pulled into line and the Swedish government makes good with a promise of a $600 million loan guarantee, this tiny manufacturer is set to become the new owner of Saab.

Fifteen years ago, von Koenigsegg was the 22-year-old inventor and head of an export business with growing fortunes and dreams of building the ultimate supercar.

In 1996, with support from Volvo, Koenigsegg’s dream began to take shape. The prototype was Ford powered, supercharged and pumped out 500kW for a top speed of 390k/h. A year later, the car was displayed not at a staid motor show but to the world’s glitterati assembled for the Cannes Film Festival.

Four turbulent years passed before a production version was ready for sale and the first customer car was delivered at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show.

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Among Koenigsegg’s quests was to build the fastest-ever production car. It managed that feat until usurped by Bugatti’s Veyron; however the company disputes Bugatti’s claim as the record attempts were conducted at different locations.

The company now uses its own alloy-block V8 engines with dual Rotrex superchargers capable of delivering 601kW of power. Despite the complex nature of the cars, the record-setting CCR weighed just 1180kg.

In 2006, Koenigsegg announced what it described as the world’s first ‘green’ supercar. Its CCX had already been modified to run on low-octane 91RON fuel, but the CCRX took the design further down the bio-friendly path to accommodate 85RON ethanol fuel – as used by Australia’s V8 Supercars.

In addition to emitting less carbon, the CCRX developed a claimed 759kW – the increase attributed to the cooling properties of the ethanol blend.

At the Geneva Show in 2009, Koenigsegg took sustainability a step further with the unveiling of its all-electric, four-seat Quant. The body is coated in a film of solar cells, boosting the car’s batteries while on the move and cutting recharge time to 20 minutes. Twin electric motors drive the rear wheels and are said to produce more than 400kW.

 

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