Something rather unexpected happened during the 2022 edition of Monterey Car Week in California, the United States of America, Koenigsegg unveiled a very special, retro-styled, modern-day hypercar to celebrate Christian von Koenigsegg as he turns 50 this year, a limited-edition production concept heavily inspired by the Koenigsegg CC8S, only 50 would be built, each with an MSRP of $3,650,000, powered by a twin-turbo 5.-Liter V8 engine that pumps out as much as 1,385 hp!
And then Koenigsegg reveals the ESS gearbox, this revolutionary system can be a nine-speed automatic gearbox for more relaxed driving, but upon the driver’s request this can be switched to a gated six-speed manual, complete with a clutch pedal, how cool is that? The CC850 is really an homage to the Koenigsegg CC8S, which happens to be the very first Koenigsegg car to be produced, exactly 20 years ago, remember this number, it becomes important further along in this article, the CC8S is probably the most important car in history as it made the Koenigsegg name known around the globe, and arguably created the ‘megacar’ category much like the Lamborghini Miura was the first supercar in history.
“The CC850 is an homage to the single most meaningful car in Koenigsegg history,” said Christian von Koenigsegg. “The CC8S put us on the map and made us successful – and celebrating 20 years of production, alongside my 50th birthday, felt like the right time to reveal the CC850 to appreciate our roots.”
A 20-year-old car, even a megacar like the CC8S, is still almost a classic, a vintage car, and while the design of this new CC850 clearly got inspired heavily by the first-ever Koenigsegg production car, everything underneath the lightweight body is anything but ‘old’, just like the engine in the Jesco, the CC850 5-Liter V8 with twin-turbos doesn’t have a flywheel, so this baby likes to rev, and it shows in the numbers, 1,185 hp on regular gasoline, but when you fill her up with E85 this figure goes up to 1,385 hp and a staggering 1,385 nm (1,020 lb-ft) of torque, and all this with an overall weight of 1,385 kg … yes, you are reading that correctly, that the same 1:1 power to weight ratio as we’ve seen in 2014 with the iconic ONE:1
What really put the new Koenigsegg CC850 into a league of its own is the revolutionary ESS transmission, the Engage Shift System is the world’s first in a production car, offering different gear ratios depending on the driving mode, providing tailored experiences based on road or track use, but what really sets this innovative transmission apart is the fact this one is paired with a clutch pedal, making the ESS either an adaptable, multi-ratio, 6-speed manual transmission or act as a super-fast, smooth-shifting 9-speed automatic. The ability for the driver to seamlessly choose between an unadulterated manual transmission or more laid-back automatic shifting is unprecedented.
When you take a look at the central console between the stylish seats, you’ll notice that the gated ESS shifter looks like an intricate work of mechanical art, almost like those beautiful Swiss chronographs, being fully functional while boasting both an intricate design and aesthetically beautiful, and while this might not be a full-time manual gearbox, Koenigsegg went to extreme lengths to make sure this ESS is still one of the most engaging manuals ever created, and let’s not forget that 20 years ago, the CC8S also came with a manual gearbox, and proudly displayed the Swedish flag as a crown on top of the manual shifter.
To better admire the beautiful interior, the new Koenigsegg CC850 comes with the iconic detachable hardtop that is stored underneath the front clamshell, but also those awe-inspiring synchrohelix doors and the famous Autoskin function, while the cockpit is almost perfectly symmetrical with a minimalist design also inspired by the CC8S, another advantage of being symmetrical is the fact Koenigsegg can quickly offer both LHD and RHD versions of this new limited-edition megacar, the beautiful dashboard cluster with its analog chrono cluster can be installed on either side of the dashboard.
Retro-styled, CC8S-inspired wheels and those traditional triple taillights really bring back memories of a two-decade-old masterpiece, that set several records right out of the factory doors, winning awards here and there, and cemented Koenigsegg’s reputation on the automotive market forever, but it seems that all worked against Christian von Koenigsegg this time, only a few days after the reveal at The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, the entire production run of 50 units was already sold out, and there were long-time Koenigsegg clients that didn’t get their order in on time, the car was a tremendous success, and 50 customers that would pay at least $3,650,000 for the privilege of owning a manual megacar with a V8 engine were jumping to the occasion of own one.
So Christian von Koenigsegg had a rather tough question to ask, he had to turn to some of the valued VIP clients that signed up for the new CC850 right from the start about how they would feel about the fact the production run would be extended beyond the magical number 50? And luckily they didn’t have too much of an issue with that, so Koenigsegg decided to built another 20 units, and here come the number 20 back into the spotlight, so total production of the CC850 is now 70 units, with 50 initial ones to celebrate Christian von Koenigsegg’s birthday, and another 20 to celebrate 20 years of production since the CC8S.
“The response to the CC850 is overwhelming. Producing an additional 20 on top of the planned 50 CC850s is still not even close to demand, but it gives us the chance to consider the brand loyalists to a larger degree, while also welcoming a small portion of new owners,” says Christian von Koenigsegg. “Clearly, we struck a chord with the connoisseurs and the fans by blending our roots with novel thinking and a timeless design that stands apart from the rest. We are humbled and grateful for the response and will do our utmost to exceed expectations.”