Christian von Koenigsegg on the CC850 and Its Crazy Manual Transmission

Some of the necessary occasions through the prestigious Monterey Automotive Week is the Quail Motorsports Gathering, the place high-end automakers unveil their newest and biggest creations. This 12 months’s Quail occasion noticed the debut of a minimum of a dozen multimillion-dollar machines, however the present’s star was the brand new Koenigsegg CC850, a reimagining of the model’s first hypercar that includes a groundbreaking new transmission — one that’s each an automated and a handbook with a clutch pedal.

To search out out extra concerning the CC850’s engineering and design, I stepped into the motive force’s seat of the automobile and had a dialog with founder and CEO Christian von Koenigsegg… whereas on the Koenigsegg stand on the present… with the roof off and home windows down… and tons of bystanders trying and listening alongside. He even let me begin it up and rev it. No strain!

The proper homage

2022 marks the twentieth anniversary of the beautiful CC8S, Koenigsegg’s first manufacturing automobile, and the CC850’s styling pays direct homage to that mannequin. It is an apparent throwback with out being wholly retro, and Koenigsegg stated that whereas nailing the look was a problem, it helped that the CC8S has aged extraordinarily properly.

“We understood {that a} very new, small startup firm can’t create new automobiles fairly often,” Koenigsegg stated, “so we wanted to have a form that’s distinctive, environment friendly, dynamically purposeful and timeless.” As a result of the CC8S nonetheless seems so trendy, it solely took delicate tweaks for the CC850 to look recent.

It seems unbelievable.


Daniel Golson/CNET

Trendy know-how was an enormous assist, in line with Koenigsegg: “We modeled the CC8S by hand with me and two different guys, however right here, we have been capable of do it with the newest laptop design and floor modeling. It was about superb tuning and refining what we had, taking it to the following stage and ensuring it is aggressive right now.”

The CC850 is about 15% bigger than the CC8S in each dimension, and its wheels have grown by 2 inches (they’re 20s), however the wonderful proportions have remained. “Not one part is similar,” Koenigsegg stated, “however it’s very a lot emotionally the identical.”

The CC8S was one of many solely supercars with a detachable roof when it got here out within the early 2000s, and crucially it was additionally the primary one which might be simply eliminated and stowed onboard. “We began conceiving of that again in 1994, after trying round to distinguish what we had been doing in comparison with what was on the market,” stated Koenigsegg. “We made it a base function so that you simply get two automobiles in a single, and there isn’t any cutlines or additional giveaways that it is not only a coupe.”

Detachable tops are actually a Koenigsegg hallmark, and the CC850 has one too. The wraparound windshield additionally calls again to the CC8S, although it was designed specifically for the CC850. “The widescreen visibility helps, particularly driving on the town, as you may go searching corners with out having A-pillars in the best way,” Koenigsegg stated, an enormous assist with a automobile as large and low because the CC850.

Koenigsegg additionally made a acutely aware determination to provide the CC850’s inside an analog really feel, which is most obvious within the spectacular gauge cluster that appears like a cluster of high-end watch faces. “It might have been simpler to make use of a digital cluster, as we have already got these in varied shapes and types,” he stated, “and this now we have to develop from scratch with mechanics and gears and electronics and issues like that. Nevertheless it fits the character.” Making the steering wheel spherical as an alternative of squared off was additionally a should, because it’s higher for spirited driving “like on a rally course,” which is a really Swedish factor to benchmark.

Driver engagement is the purpose

As an alternative of chasing efficiency figures, Koenigsegg’s purpose for the CC850 was for it to be about driver engagement and enjoyable above all else. “The CC850 is predicated on the underpinnings of the Jesko, and that’s the most excessive efficiency machine I’ve ever pushed,” Koenigsegg stated, “however the CC850 has this layer of emotional pleasure and engagement with the handbook. It actually makes you drive the automobile extra.” 

Known as the Have interaction Shift System, the CC850’s wild transmission is an evolution of the Jesko’s ‘Lightspeed’ gearbox. It ditches the flywheel and clutch between the engine and transmission, utilizing tiny particular person hydraulic clutches contained in the transmission itself as an alternative of synchros and forks. So as an alternative of the transmission altering gears, it really adjustments clutches. There are three units of clutches mixed with three gears on every set, which compounds into 9 complete ahead gears, utilizing the clutches in varied mixes. “The clutch pedal is definitely controlling these clutch pressures immediately,” Koenigsegg defined. “It is an digital hyperlink, however there’s hydraulic strain to have some engagement interplay mechanically.” So the gear shifter can be a selector of which clutches to make use of, however for the handbook mode Koenigsegg felt that 9 was too many, so it is restricted to only six of the potential mixtures.

The shifter’s uncovered linkage is drool-worthy.


Daniel Golson/CNET

To present the transmission extra versatility, it is also the world’s first stick-shift that may change gear ratios, because the CC850’s handbook mode has each monitor and street settings that use totally different mixes of the 9 gears. “The monitor setting has an extended first gear to get out of the pits, after which very tight step charges between the gears for quick motion across the race monitor,” Koenigsegg stated. “Then the street setting has a shorter first gear for higher takeoff in site visitors and an extended unfold between the gears, so you do not have to shift on a regular basis.”

So for monitor mode the ‘first’ gear is definitely the third gear, whereas in street mode ‘first’ gear makes use of the second gear, as the true first gear is tremendous quick. Confused? Don’t fret, the totally different ratios are marked on the middle tunnel beneath the shifter.

There’s so much occurring in an effort to make this transmission really feel like an actual handbook, because the shifter has no precise mechanical connection to the transmission itself. “The strain within the hydraulics at your foot is similar strain again within the clutches augmented, and we might do numerous filtration there, however we do not,” Koenigsegg stated. “It is your foot that is controlling the clutch. You’ll be able to stall it, you are able to do a burnout, you may rev it whereas in gear; there isn’t any distinction in interplay.”

@cnetcars The Koenigsegg CC850’s multi-clutch transmission has a gated handbook with a clutch pedal, and likewise an automated mode 🤯 #koenigsegg#cc850#koenigseggcc850#supercar#hypercar#handbook#thequail#carweek#montereycarweek♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

In the event you shift quick and exhausting there’s resistance, and you’ll’t simply pull it out of substances when beneath load or shift into too low of a gear, as there is a detent that holds towards the shifter till the engine revs enable — like an actual handbook would do with synchros. However for those who raise and have torque matching, you may take the transmission out of substances with out utilizing the clutch. “It has all these options and features so for those who blindfold your self, you’d suppose it is an excellent regular handbook,” Koenigsegg stated. “We wish this to behave with all of a handbook’s quirks and options so it will get the proper really feel.”

After attending to play with the shifter and have interaction the clutch, it actually does really feel wonderful. The handbook motion is stellar, and the gated shifter has completely uncovered linkage so you may see every part that is occurring. The shifter itself is cool, too, with a picket knob that options the Swedish flag set into the highest. With a view to go into automated mode, you simply transfer the shifter all the best way over and all the way down to ‘Drive’, and the CC850 will calmly, swiftly shift for itself and allow you to loosen up. The transition between handbook and automated is seamless. I requested Koenigsegg if he plans to place the ESS transmission in different fashions, and he stated it is all as much as the client. “We by no means know the way the individuals will react to what we’re doing. Thus far, the response has been wonderful, and once we get the automobiles out to the shoppers, in the event that they actually adore it we’ll proceed doing one thing like this.”

The transmission is tremendous complicated.


Koenigsegg

As a result of the CC850 is predicated on the Jesko, it took so much much less time to develop than ordinary and can take much less time to provide consequently. “Between ordering and supply for the CC850 is beneath two years, whereas the Jesko took us 4 years from intro to supply,” Koenigsegg stated. The model initially deliberate for a manufacturing run of fifty automobiles, to have fun Christian’s fiftieth birthday this 12 months, all of which had been offered out by the point the CC850 was revealed. However curiosity was so sturdy after the automobile’s debut that Koenigsegg determined to construct an extra 20 items. “I am simply so pleased with the tip outcome, it got here collectively past my expectation, and the response has been wonderful,” he beamed. “I am excited to get it on the market and have individuals take pleasure in it.”

As for a way Koenigsegg would personally spec his personal CC850, the present automobile we’re sitting in is it. “That is my private automobile, this was my birthday present to myself,” he stated. “I have been driving it across the manufacturing unit retaining it a secret.”

Making a sustainable hypercar

The CC850 makes use of a nonhybrid V8 engine that may run on biofuel, which Koenigsegg sees as a perfect resolution going ahead. “It is such a world of freedom in what you are able to do now. I imply, you have got restrictions in emissions laws and what you are allowed in that sense, however mixing and matching and breeding wild concepts is past our wildest goals 10 years in the past,” he stated. “I really like electrification, however in this sort of area of interest inside combustion remains to be beneficial.”

With renewable fuels a automobile just like the CC850 may be aggressive on CO2 emissions for an extended period of time, particularly as a weekend driver. “You do not have to take a lot uncooked materials out of the bottom to start with, so then you may have extra lithium to your every day driver as an alternative of hogging that for these automobiles,” Koenigsegg defined.

Simply two greatest buddies having a chat.


Nathan Enos/CNET

“The sound is such an important a part of the expertise for a automobile like this. Purely electrified sports activities automobiles are thrilling and efficiency may be immense, however it simply takes away one component and provides weight,” he continued. “I believe the combustion engine utilizing renewable gasoline with the newest aftertreatment techniques in a lighter automobile can have equal or decrease CO2 footprint and extra pleasure on the similar time.”

That does not imply that Koenigsegg is completely forgoing electrification — actually, it is the alternative. Trying towards the long run, the model is aiming for a mixture of conventional engines, hybrids and EVs. The Regera was a monstrous hybrid with a single-speed transmission, the Gemera makes use of a loopy three-cylinder hybrid setup and the model is engaged on options for its first electrical automobile. We’re additionally beginning to see firms experiment with multi-speed transmissions for EVs, which Koenigsegg says is not a foul concept. “You’ll be able to have a smaller, higher-revving electrical motor with much less torque, and nonetheless get numerous torque by means of gear ratios so you have got a wider unfold of velocity.” However Koenigsegg has its personal resolution, having already patented an electrical motor with a torque converter and lock-up, which gives torque multiplication with out shifting.

“We’re not killing something off simply because a development says we should always,” Koenigsegg stated. “It is a tremendous thrilling time to be in.”

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