Two weeks before Koenigsegg packed up the candy apple red car you see here for a date at California's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on 21 August, TopGear.com's Ollie Marriage and photographer Rowan Horncastle had the exclusive opportunity to visit Ängelholm, Sweden, to spend the day driving this £1.4m monster with company founder Christian von Koenigsegg. Ollie's thoughts on Sweden's megacar? "Utterly bonkers", he writes. "Koenigsegg needs a big slap on the back", says Marriage, "for having the courage, foresight and ability to bring this uniquely complicated car to life."
On Koenigsegg the carmaker:
Koenigsegg is a small company (it’s only ever built around 120 cars) and doesn’t have the resources the holy trinity manufacturers can call on. The assumption would be that the Regera (say it with a hard ‘g’, it translates as ‘to reign’), would give a passing nod to electrical power, before pointing you in the direction of its 1160bhp internal combustion output and showing you the way to 250mph. But you’d be wrong. Some things you need to know about Koenigsegg: it does almost all its own carbon fibre work, was the first to equip a production car with carbon fibre wheels, assembles its own ECU circuit boards, has developed its own infotainment software and is the first to use F1 battery cell technology in a road car.
On the Regera's electric motors:
There’s a 32kg motor for each rear wheel ... and another on the crank, this one to recharge the battery, operate as a starter motor and generally smooth things out and assist when it can. That one delivers around 220bhp, while each rear wheel motor contributes another 240bhp. Yep, that’s a total of 700bhp of electric power right there. Basically the same ballpark as the Tesla Model S P90D — or, expressed another way, more wattage than the P1, 918 and LaFerrari combined.
On the Regera's performance:
Christian’s projections are for 0-62mph in 2.8secs and a top speed a little over 250mph. But that’s not the half of it and it’s what he told me next that colours the picture. “The thing we’ve realised is that chasing the ultimate top speed is starting to become a nonsense, so our philosophy is more like this: Whoever gets to 250mph first wins.” The other figures he quotes are plain bananas, and the one that truly blows my mind is the 3.2secs it takes to accelerate from 90-155mph. The projections show it will hit 250mph in around 20 seconds, having passed 186mph (300kmh) in around 11 flat.
On its ride and handling:
The steering is heavy, but delicious to use. It’s hydraulic, with no slack, but real meat and reward. If anything the ride is even better. Long wishbones, in-board dampers and reduced unsprung mass thanks in part to the carbon wheels (made from 750 individual pieces, it takes one man a week to build one rim), mean the Regera rides beautifully, feels remarkably precise and polished on the road. How does it manage that? Look at the wheelarch clearance – where do the wheels go?
On its acceleration:
The force… oh my god. It just builds and builds, pushing, pressing, the noise guttural and savage through the Twenties-style flattened Akrapovic pipes. It’s mind-blowing. I’d driven a McLaren P1 a few days before I went out to Sweden. I still can’t get my head around how fast that is, but I do know the Regera is vastly faster. Christian believes it might wheelspin up to 150mph. I have never experienced anything that bonfires its tyres like the Regera. Anything. Despite the best tractive efforts of the vast 345-width rear Michelins, they’re as nothing in the 1465lb-ft torque deluge. It’s another world first for Koenigsegg – the first land-based cumulo-nimbus production facility.
On its design:
It looks sensational in candy apple red, there’s real beauty in its long tail and taut curves and like all Koenigsegg’s the roof panel removes to store under the nose. Do so and the car’s look changes totally, but sitting inside I prefer it with the roof on: it exaggerates the wrap-around widescreen view forward. The A-pillars are tucked right round the sides and you sit so far back that I doubt the tips of my toes reach to the base of the screen.
On its plans for the Bugatti Chiron:
Koenigsegg intends for the Regera to rain on the Chiron’s parade, to make you question why Bugatti hasn’t done something this radical for the Veyron’s replacement. Perhaps in line with that, the Regera is intended to be a gentler experience than [its predecessor] the Agera. The engine is rubber bushed to lessen vibration, the rear wing whirrs up and down hydraulically, as do the doors and front and rear clams. It’s superb to watch. The cabin is a work of art, the side sills massively wide, the carbon shelled, memory foam seats built here from the ground up, the F1-spec batteries tucked away in the transmission tunnel.