The Koenigsegg Regera is an automotive research laboratory with a wing, a 1,500 horsepower hybrid capable of hitting 185 mph in about 11 seconds. While the Bugatti Chiron was an evolution of the Veyron, the Regera is on a completely different level—and it just stole the Chiron’s thunder entirely.
Owners of expensive hypercars want to drive something on the cutting edge of technology. That’s what made the Bugatti Veyron so special when it debuted a decade ago—it was an alien spaceship of its time, forged with high-tech engineering brilliance previously unseen in a production car. It was one of a kind, a truly unique monument of scientific inquiry.
And that’s what disappointed us about the Bugatti Chiron. It’s a lot more of the same.
Sure, it has about 1,500 HP and gets to 60 mph in less than 2.5 seconds. And yes, it’s built on an all carbon-fiber monocoque and fitted with a two-stage turbo setup, active aerodynamics and 10 radiators. But we’ve seen those features before on other production cars, on the Veyron and elsewhere.
The Chiron is impressive, to be sure, but it doesn’t seem to be doing much to further automotive technology beyond what the Veyron did, and with a price tag over $2 million that’s a shame.
That’s where Koenigsegg comes in. This tiny Swedish boutique has built a car, called the Regera, with technology that makes the Volkswagen Group’s very best look like it came from your grandpa’s old Buick. Seven-speed dual clutch? It doesn’t even have a transmission.
I’ll repeat that: the Regera doesn’t have a gearbox. And that’s only the tip of this insanity-iceberg.
Formula One has shown us that hybrid powertrains can be absolutely awesome in race cars, so Porsche, McLaren and Ferrari have all gotten on the bandwagon with their hypercars. Now Koenigsegg wants in on the goodness.
We went into great detail last year how the Koenigsegg Regera’s powertrain works, but here’s a quick refresher.
A 1,100 HP 5.0-liter V8 sits in the middle of the car and is mated with a 160 kW (215 horsepower) electric motor driving the crankshaft. That motor acts as a power generator, starter motor and as a torque assist feature for the engine.
During low speed driving, a hydraulic coupling keeps the V8 engine detached from the drivetrain, and only two (180 kW) 241 HP driveshaft-mounted motors in the back propel the car.
As the vehicle speeds up past about 30 MPH, the engine is coupled with the rest of the drivetrain, and sends torque through a 2.73:1 rear differential, ultimately powering the rear wheels in concert with the electric motors.
Koenigsegg says they decided to hop on the electric vehicle bandwagon because their design, which eliminates the mass and drivetrain losses of a transmission, makes the compromise usually associated with hybrid technology virtually nonexistent.
To get around the fact that there’s no transmission, the outboard motors are simply switched into reverse when the car wants to move backwards, and the 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8, similar to that of the Agera, has smaller turbos to increase low-end torque so that the direct-driven engine can kick in sooner without bogging down.
As vehicle speed goes up, so does the engine, as the two are locked together. Thus, top speed is limited by the engine’s redline to about 250 mph.
If you add up the numbers from the electric motors and the internal combustion engine, you end up with about 1,800 ponies and 1,586 lb-ft of torque, but because engine and motors don’t make peak power at the same operating points, the peak combined performance the Regera’s powertrain ever sees winds up at only 1,500 HP and about 1,475 lb-ft.
That’s enough to get the car from zero to 62.5 MPH in 2.8 seconds, a number clearly limited by rear-wheel traction. Perhaps more impressive is that fighting against aerodynamic drag and accelerating from 93 mph to 155 mph takes only 3.9 seconds, and getting to 250 mph takes only 20.
As founder and speed-genius Christian von Koenigsegg likes to point out: the Regera has about the same electric power as the Tesla Model S P85D, but weighs 1,300 pounds less and adds an 1,100 horsepower gas engine on top. So if you thought the Tesla was quick, this Regera is going to break your mind.
The production model, released at Geneva this year, introduced paddle shifters, which allow the coupler to act like a torque converter. Press the right paddle, and the clutch will slip, unlocking the engine from the drivetrain, allowing the V8 to rev up and produce more noise and more torque, which is multiplied through the coupling and sent to the rear wheels.
The left paddle increases the regenerative braking function, which is used to recharge the battery pack, though carbon ceramic ABS brakes are also there to make sure the car quickly screeches to a halt.
Koenigsegg threw a bunch of LEDs in their lamp cluster in what they call “Constellation DRL.” After describing their light in their press release, Koenigsegg finishes with “That´s what we call—Koenigsegg cool.”
A bit gimmick-y, but hey, it’s different.
But what’s even cooler are the actively vented headlamps, whose fans and vents you can actually see through the lens at the top and bottom corners.
The body is a modified version of the Agera’s, but was widened to accommodate the 4.5 kWh liquid-cooled battery pack, which sits in the tunnel at the center of the car, safe in the case of an accident.
The monocoque is all carbon fiber and features a removable top that can be stowed in the frunk. Overall vehicle weight is about 3,500 pounds, or about 900 pounds less than the Chiron.
The Regera already had a hydraulic system in place to vary the ride height and activate the rear active wing, so Koenigsegg decided to see if they could use the already existing system for the doors, hood and rear hatch. In a system they call “Autoskin,” Koenigsegg used lightweight, tiny hydraulic tubing and small actuators, ultimately replacing the struts for a penalty of about 10 pounds.
The battery pack is an 800 volt, 4.5 kWh unit housed in the center body tunnel. The whole thing weighs less than 200 pounds and is recharged by either a charging cable in the rear or via the internal combustion engine.
The back pack is liquid cooled, and a fan blows hot air through heat exchangers and out the prominent central ovular-shaped exhauster in the back of the car.
The Regera is meant as a bit of a grand touring car, so it has plenty of luxury instead of feeling like a bare-bones race car inside. It gets active soft mounts for the rear sub frame versus solid mounts like on other Koenigseggs. These soft mounts stiffen along with the suspension dampers when the driver wants to drive in a “spirited” manner, and soften up for cruising.
There are also soft-closing doors, leather interior with six-way electronic adjustable seats, navigation, Apple CarPlay, climate control, leather carpets and power folding mirrors.
Koenigsegg doesn’t mention pricing, but Top Gear says it will ring in at about $1.9 million, and that only 80 will be built.
So basically, you’ve got a 1,500 horsepower, lightweight, comfortable, state-of-the-art hybrid hypercar that costs 600 grand less than the not-nearly-as-technically-interesting Bugatti Chiron.
Sign me up.
Photos from Koenigsegg unless otherwise stated