Koenigsegg winds down the Agera era and begins the Regera era
Big things are happening in Sweden. One of the world's most impressive cars, the Koenigsegg Agera, is making its way toward retirement. The Agera has had quite a career, bringing intriguing new technologies to market and earning a slew of honors and records. Koenigsegg celebrates that distinguished run with a trio of "Final" editions. No need to get teary eyed for the loss, though; the even more extreme Regera will soon step in as the official Koenigsegg to be seen in.
Koenigsegg was dangerously close to selling its last Agera in January, before coming up with the idea for a Final series. After debuting at last year's Geneva Motor Show, the One:1-inspired, 1,160-hp Agera RS became the fastest-selling Koenigsegg ever, all 25 models being gobbled up by hungry, ultra-wealthy supercar connoisseurs.
"There were quite a few Koenigsegg customers who missed the chance to get one of these 25 cars," explained Christian von Koenigsegg in Geneva last month. "We were thinking that probably this [Agera RS] was the last in the Agera range of cars, but we said, let's make a final statement; let's make a very exclusive range of only three cars."
Those three Final series cars give a trio of trusted, loyal buyers the opportunity to design and buy an ultra-exclusive, bespoke Agera. According to the supercar-maker, the Final program offers buyers "unprecedented input into the design and specification of custom made parts for their car," an impressive claim since buyers of seven-figure hypercars tend to have a high level of input already. By the time of the "Final" public debut in Geneva, all three models were already spoken for.
Before we get into the first publicly revealed Final Edition, we should take a look back at the short but impressive history of the Agera itself. Koenigsegg first revealed the Agera as a pre-production show car at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The new car pushed design and engineering forward from the CCX with a 910-hp 4.7-liter V8 with twin turbos in place of superchargers, a new traction control system, new carbon-ceramic brakes and other upgrades. It also added some very cool, unique features like the "ghost" controls lighting system inside and vortex generating wheels designed around increasing downforce and brake cooling.
When first introduced, the Agera came with claims of a 3.1-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h) and 245-mph+ top speed. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, of course, but we think many beholders would agree that, upon its debut, the Agera wasn't necessarily the sexiest exotic car out there but it was arguably the "sexiest of Koenigseggs," its smoothed-out bodywork and LED DRL-edged headlamps a step in the right direction from the CCX models.
The Agera was convincing enough to win Top Gear's "Hypercar of the Year" and other accolades in the very same year (2010) that the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport repositioned the world speed record. That early praise didn't inspire Koenigsegg to rest on its laurels and admire its hypercar handiwork for long, though. Just a year after introducing the Agera to the world, it showed the Agera R next to the production Agera at Geneva 2011. Both cars featured a larger 5.0-liter V8 twin-turbo that Koenigsegg called the lightest and most compact hypercar engine in the world, along with a new seven-speed transmission, also given the "world's lightest" tag by Koenigsegg. Curb weight was listed at 3,126 lb (1,418 kg).
Clearly the star of the 2011 Koenigsegg Geneva stand, the Agera R brought biofuel capabilities, giving it up to 1,115 hp and 885 lb.ft and a special carbon fiber roof box with integrated roof panel, designed in cooperation with Thule for speeds up to 186 mph (300 km/h).
It didn't take long for Koenigsegg to prove the R's capabilities on the tarmac. In September 2011, it came back from a particularly productive track session with claims of not one or two acceleration records, but six, including a 14.53-second 0-300 km/h (186 mph) time, a 17.68-second 0-200 mph (322 km/h), a 21.19-second 0-300-0 km/h and a 24.96-second 0-200-0 mph. The 0-300-0 km/h time was certified as a world record by Guinness later that year.
The beat marched on, and Koenigsegg continued to improve upon the Agera at each annual Geneva Motor Show. In 2012, it revealed the updated 1,140-hp Agera R, adding the famous Aircore hollow carbon fiber wheels and talking more seriously about a potential world record top speed of 273 mph (which it has never officially reached to claim the record). The 2013 Geneva show brought the one-off Agera Hundra and the 2014 show the radical, Agera-based One:1 megacar, which had some major acceleration success of its own and will soon make a play for the Nürburgring record, as Koenigsegg teased on April 13. Last year, the ultra-limited One:1 stepped aside for the aforementioned 3,075-lb (1,395-kg), 1,160-hp Agera RS.
There was also an Agera S, basically the Agera R with Aircore wheels but no flex-fuel capabilities, and some one-offs with letters of their own (Agera X, Agera HH) in the Agera lineup mix.
And that brings us right up to 2016 and the blindingly orange Agera "One of 1" that Koenigsegg revealed in Geneva. As the name hints, the first customer-spec Agera Final edition was commissioned to be as close as possible to the ultralight, ultra-powerful One:1, only with creature comforts carried over from other Agera models. It features an upgraded V8 twin-turbo with the same full megawatt (1,360 hp) of power as the One:1, and while it's not quite as light, it's 33 lb (15 kg) lighter than the RS at 3,042 lb (1,380 kg) - so quite close to 1 hp/1 kg ratio.
It's perhaps the best example of Koenigsegg meeting the customer's demand for compromise between hardcore, One:1-inspired performance and driving comfort is the aerodynamics package. Koenigsegg worked closely with the buyer to construct a roof-mounted intake and other aerodynamic solutions that offer performance benefits while giving the car the ability to accommodate the roof panel inside the front cargo compartment, not possible on the One:1. Other custom solutions include the dual-blade rear wing, "One of 1"-badged, 3D-printed titanium exhaust outlet, rear venturi with adjustable winglets, front splitter and front bumper winglets.
There are still two more Final Editions left to prepare, and Koenigsegg has opened up its entire component book for Final buyers, allowing them to mix and match options like the 1,360-hp (1MW) engine and Aircore hollow carbon fiber wheels, with no added cost. The three Final Editions will mark the end of the Agera line, but the Agera won't be fading away too quickly given that the Final cars will be delivered sometime in late 2017.
As it puts the final touches on the Agera, Koenigsegg is also busy readying the Regera. Since introducing the radical next-gen hypercar as a prototype last year, it has made some 3,000 changes in preparing, testing and homologating the production version, which wore an intoxicating "Candy Apple Red" paint job for its Geneva and New York debuts. It looked good in baby blue last year, but it looks absolutely stunning in red.
The overarching design of the Regera remains the same as last year – a unique hyper-hybrid layout with three motors, a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and NO gearbox. That layout is called the Koenigsegg Direct Drive, and all told, it sends up to 1,500 angry horses and 1,475 lb.ft (2,000 Nm) to the rear wheels. It's designed to cut weight and energy losses when compared with more conventional hybrid set-ups.
Key among the thousands of modifications is the updated, lightweight battery pack, which serves as the "pièce de résistance" of the Regera design. At 4.5-kWh, the pack is considerably smaller than last year's 9.3-kWh version, and it weighs about 55 lb (25 kg) less. Voltage has increased to 800 V, and regeneration capabilities have markedly improved. The battery offers up to 525 kW of discharge and 225 kW of recharge. With no gearbox to control, the left paddle shifter is used to increase the regenerative braking effect.
"Last year we said that you could drive at least a tank full of petrol around – for example, Nürburgring – before you run out of battery and you have to recharge," Christian von Koenigsegg said in Geneva. "With this [year's] technology, you have the same amount of battery charge level every lap you go around. And when you run out of fuel, you just fill up and you keep on going. There is no need to charge the car, due to the massive regen capability of this battery pack."
So while the Regera is a plug-in with all-electric and battery drain modes, the car's upgraded regeneration capabilities will keep the driver away from outlets, storing up enough electricity on the braking and cruising segments of the track to keep the battery running. That battery feeds the three electric motors, providing instant torque, while the V8 works through a torque-converting HydraCoup to send output to the rear wheels.
With all the proprietary design going on in this powertrain, we figured it prudent to let Koenigsegg explain things directly. After discussing it with the automotive mad genius himself (Christian von Koenigsegg, in case you forgot), press officer and wordsmith Steven Wade put the words to paper:
"At standstill, you have the electric motors providing instant torque to get things going. The ICE is running but the hydraulic coupling locks progressively as you gain speed, locking completely at around 20-30 mph (32-48 km/h) under normal (i.e. gentle, in our terms) acceleration."
Under more spirited acceleration, like if you want to try to test out the 2.8-second 0-62-mph, the two rear axle-mounted electric motors and electric motor mounted to the V8's crankshaft start firing hard, getting the engine up to speed and sending masses of power to the rear wheels. While the engine is feeding power into the equation through the HydraCoup, the coupling doesn't lock up completely until a higher vehicle speed, giving the engine time to build up revs.
"The inputs that control how [the ICE and electric motors] work together are both your right foot and software that reads current performance and the movement of your right foot," Wade explains. "The software reads what's happening now along with what you want to happen (right foot) and acts accordingly. It can gently increase speed with the ICE if your foot goes down gently or it can apply plenty of electric boost along with ICE power if you hit the pedal hard."
And if the driver still misses shifting, he or she can activate a simulated downshift with the right paddle, opening the hydraulic coupling to allow the engine to quickly rev freely before kicking back in.
Once you get up to highway cruising speed, the motors pull back and the V8 engine handles propulsion. But the electric motors are always available should you need to accelerate in a hurry. Koenigsegg estimates that the car can pull away from 93 to 155 mph (150 to 250 km/h) in 3.9 seconds.
Despite not having a gearbox, the engine can also accelerate the car all on its own from stop.
"The car is capable of being driven on 100 percent ICE power from zero if need be, through torque conversion effect," Wade says. "There will, of course, be very modest acceleration from zero, but it is possible. That's because you have a lot of power/torque from the engine and it's pushing a relatively light car. It won't accelerate at lightning speed. It would feel like a more 'normal' car, but it is possible."
Koenigsegg's performance estimates, adjusted from last year, are helpful in visualizing how well the ICE and electric motors cooperate. In addition to the 2.8-second 0-62 mph, the 3,505-lb (1,590-kg) hybrid can sprint from 0-124 mph (200 km/h) in 6.6 seconds, 0-186 mph (300 km/h) in 10.9 seconds and 0-249 mph (400 km/h, right around the Regera's top speed) in 20 seconds. Compare that 0-186 mph time to the 14.53-second the Agera R posted in its 2011 world record blitz (or the 13.63-second world record time Hennessey ran in 2013, or the One:1's 11.9-second acceleration from its 0-300-0 km/h record), and it's clear that the V8 and electric motors like working together just fine.
If all that doesn't sound insane, factor this in: This 1,500-hp masterpiece is what a leisurely grand tourer looks like at Koenigsegg. The company has stressed since introducing last year's prototype that, despite the fact that the Regera can sprint faster than virtually anything short of a proper dragster, it is not an extreme track car, but a comfy luxury tourer designed to be piloted down the likes of winding country roads and coast-hugging highways.
The Regera's super-potent four-motor powertrain is designed to deliver accessible and seamless power. So whether he is pushing the car's limits or cruising the highway, the driver won't be thrown off balance by all that electric/V8/HydraCoup madness going on below; he'll just feel the response he expects. Active engine mounts keep things quiet and smooth at lower speeds and firm up for tauter performance when you stomp the accelerator.
It might not be a Bentley limousine inside, but the Regera packs such comforts as heated, power-adjustable seats with memory function, an infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and wireless inductive smartphone charging. The car is "fully robotized," offering remote power opening of the trunk, doors and hood.
Koenigsegg plans to build 80 Regera models over a five-year production run, with the first deliveries beginning later this year. The Regera's starting price is widely reported to be around US$1.9 million.
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That's my favourite driving environment...
I'm available to test it any time they need me!