Koenigsegg Gemera.
Koenigsegg Gemera.
Image: Koenigsegg

Daytona has been appointed the official South African distributor of the boutique Swedish supercar brand, adding to the exotic-car dealer’s existing Aston Martin, Lotus, McLaren, Pagani, and Rolls-Royce portfolio.

Koenigsegg was founded in 1994 by Christian von Koenigsegg at the tender age of 22 and builds some of the world’s fastest and most technologically advanced mid-engined cars. Not to mention rarest: Koenigseggs are hand-built in such limited numbers that they make some regular sports-car brands seem like supermarket specials.

These low volumes are part of what makes these Swedish road rockets so appealing to well-heeled supercar collectors — along with the fact that they have power outputs to make your head spin. For a brand that builds a small handful of cars, the Scandinavian company’s achieved some major feats in the supercar world, with its cars setting a number of world records — of which more later.

Koenigsegg produces its engines and transmissions in-house, which is unusual for a small sports-car producer, and all the cars are made of carbon fibre.

The factory is located in the former home of the Swedish Air Force near Sweden’s Ängelholm airport, where clients often arrive by private jet, and the firm uses the 1.7km runway for high-speed testing of its exotic cars.

Koenigsegg’s first street-legal machine was the CC8S that went on sale in 2002, which was powered by a 4.7-litre V8 engine that fired 488kW to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. It introduced the brand’s trademark dihedral synchro-helix actuation doors. The door motion allowed by this hinge mechanism — sweeping outwards and upwards at the same time — is every bit as practical as it is a party trick. The door opens high enough to avoid most kerbs, but low enough to avoid garage ceilings. It also takes up little space to the side, minimising the chance of bashing the door into another parked car.

The firm’s introduced a number of other innovations, including the Koenigsegg Direct Drive (KDD) transmission in the Regera, which does away with the traditional gearbox and its added weight and efficiency losses. The car has only one gear, and at low speeds the engine power is complemented by three electric motors which provide enough torque to act like the lower gears of a traditional transmission.

Koenigsegg quite literally reinvented the wheel in 2012 when it introduced the super lightweight Aircore hollow-core carbon-fibre wheel.

Koenigsegg Gemera.
Koenigsegg Gemera.
Image: Koenigsegg

As for those aforementioned records, in September 2019 the Koenigsegg Regera became the world’s fastest car to accelerate from rest to 400km/h and stop again, in a time of just 31.49 seconds. This beat the previous 0-400km/h record by 1.8 seconds, set by another Koenigsegg — the Agera RS — back in 2017.

In 2017 the Agera set a world production-car speed record of 447km/h, which was only recently beaten by the SSC Tuatara going at 455.3km/h.

That record is likely to go back to Koenigsegg if the firm decides to tackle the feat in its new Jesko Absolut. Producing astonishing outputs of 955kW on normal petrol and 1 195kW on E85 biofuel, this streamlined road missile succeeds the Agera andis said to be capable of 530km/h. The 5.0-litre twin-turbo V8 Jesko Absolut will be the fastest Koenigsegg ever made, and the company says it won’t endeavour to make a faster series-production road car.

Koenigsegg Gemera interior.
Koenigsegg Gemera interior.
Image: Koenigsegg
Koenigseggs on the runway.
Koenigseggs on the runway.
Image: Koenigsegg

The first Koenigsegg headed for South Africa is the Gemera, launched last year as the brand’s first four-seater. This petrol-electric family supercar has 1 265kW of horizon-chasing pace and only 300 units will be built worldwide.

“Koenigsegg represents the pinnacle of performance megacars, which is why being selected as the dealer of choice in South Africa is such a huge honour,” said Justin Divaris, CEO of Daytona.

Indicative prices aren’t available as each vehicle is built to a customer’s bespoke needs, says Daytona, but the starting price for a Gemera overseas is about R26.3-million.

DREAM BIG OR GO HOME

The story of Christian Von Koenigsegg

The story of Koenigsegg is proof that it’s possible for a passionate, dedicated young man to rival old, established supercar brands.

Christian Von Koenigsegg.
Christian Von Koenigsegg.
Image: Koenigsegg

As a young boy, he dis-mantled VCRs and toasters to see how they worked. His fascination with machinery and how it could be improved continued, and as a teenager he was known as the best moped tuner in town.

But it was the Norwegian stop-motion film, The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix, about a bicycle repairman who builds his own racing car, that first inspired five-year-old Von Koenigsegg to dream about creating his own sports car.

In 1994, at the age of 22 he did just that, founding an eponymous car company that has gone on to produce some of the world’s fastest and most technologically advanced supercars.

An innovator with several patents to his name, Von Koenigsegg entered the business world in his early 20s, running a Stockholm food-exporting company. The success of this venture gave him the start-up capital to pursue his dream of becoming a car manufacturer, and Koenigsegg Automotive was born.

Over the next few years he strove to create the perfect supercar and built the Koenigsegg CC prototype, which he took to the 1997 Cannes Film Festival to assess public interest.

The reaction was overwhelming and it led to the creation of the Koenigsegg CC8S as the Swedish firm’s first street-legal production car in 2002.

 From the April edition of Wanted, 2021.

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