Building a low-volume supercar is a daunting, time-consuming and expensive process, which is why manufacturers often look to outside vendors to supply the engine. Pagani, for example, has a long-standing relationship with AMG, and even McLaren turned to BMW for the 6.1-liter V-12 used in the McLaren F1.
As this episode of Inside Koenigsegg shows, the Swedish supercar constructor does things a bit differently. The 1,140 horsepower, twin-turbo 5.0-liter V-8 used in the Agera R was designed in house, built in house and tested in house, a long and expensive process compared to outsourcing.
It speaks to Christian Von Koenigsegg’s desire to control every part of the engineering and manufacturing process, which is the best way to deliver a premium product to demanding customers.
Koenigsegg never set a horsepower goal on the 5.0-liter V-8 engine; instead, it designed the best product it could, then tested it to the point of failure. When that weakness was addressed, the revised engine was tested until something else broke, and so on.
As a result, Christian Von Koenigsegg claims his company’s 1,140 horsepower Agera R engine still has a “safety margin” built into it, meaning that it’s tuned for durability as well as extreme performance.
Part of the complexity of designing engines and ECUs in house is accommodating the types of fuel found worldwide. Premium unleaded may be hard to find in China, while customers in Brazil may run their cars on pure ethanol. Koenigsegg was one of the first supercar builders to address the “flex-fuel” issue, as far back as 2007.
While some feel the development of the internal combustion engine has reached its peak, Christian Von Koenigsegg isn’t among them. In fact, he believes that the technology developed for the Agera R’s V-8 can be ported down to smaller engines, opening the door for ultra-high-performance three and four cylinder models.
While it isn’t likely that our bank accounts will ever grow to the point where purchasing a Koenigsegg model seems like a reasonable option, we’ll admit to being impressed by Christian Von Koenigsegg and his company. In a world filled with mediocrity, it’s good to see that a few still strive to deliver product without compromise.