(Bloomberg) — Koenigsegg has unveiled the supercar it says will help it beat Ferrari.
The Jesko, which debuted Tuesday at the Geneva Motor Show, is the successor to the 1,360-horsepower Agera RS, the car that broke the world record for land speed last year.
Rumors had given it the code name of Ragnarök, a word from Norse mythology denoting future events of destruction and rebirth. But the new name refers to the father of company founder and CEO Christian von Koenigsegg, Jesko von Koenigsegg. Now 80, he and his wife, Brita, attended the debut, which was kept secret in order to preserve the surprise name.
The Jesko has a 5.0 litre twin-turbo V8 engine that gets 1,280 horsepower on standard gasoline—and 1,600 horsepower when fueled on E85 biofuel. Customers can choose which they prefer to power the car.
There’s a new nine-speed transmission that allows the driver to change directly into the optimal gear for acceleration regardless of that gear’s relationship to the current gear. So, if you are in 8th gear but 5th is the optimal one for maximum acceleration, you can go directly there rather than wait for gears to sync.
Although exact numbers have yet to be released, expect the Jesko to be able to hover near the Agera RS top speed of 278mph. “This is the biggest thing since I’ve been here,” said Steven Wade, a spokesman for Koenigsegg. The car was still being constructed up to the day before it departed for the auto show.
A double-profile rear wing gives it the necessary downforce needed for a machine that the company says can break the 300mph barrier, in certain situations. The front splitter is deeper than that of the Agera and has enlarged, active under-body flaps to enhance or decrease downforce as needed.
The company calls its unconventional doors, which open straight up rather than on the angle used by butterfly-style doors, “dihedral synchro-helix doors.” A lightweight carbon roof comes off for open-air driving.
Jesko’s carbon fiber chassis is 40mm longer and 22mm taller than its predecessor, allowing for more head- and legroom and better rear visibility. These kinds of modern creature comforts are not typically found in superfast cars because USB ports, inductive phone charging, climate control, power seats, and parking sensors inevitably add weight. The infotainment system has a five-inch digital dashboard mounted on the steering wheel and a nine-inch central display screen.
Such nods to convenience might allow it to be driven in some comfort over the duration of a day or a weekend, boosting the Jesko to the level of Bugatti Chiron, which combines the interior trim level of a top luxury car like a Bentley with the racing and performance numbers of a bare-bones track supercar.
In fact, Jesko is the impetus to Koenigsegg Automotive’s plan to take on Ferrari, perhaps the most obvious tried and trusted blueprint for how to sell hand-built million-dollar one-offs and do it well. (Italy’s premier automaker has announced that over the next three years it will double profits by selling more extreme cars like the $1.8 million Monza, the $2.1 million LaFerrari Aperta, and the upcoming Purosangue SUV.)
All signs point to more of these extremely expensive, extremely low-volume hypercars spanning the earth. McLaren’s $2 million Speedtail, for example, sold out all 106 examples of its three-seat hybrid two years before production started. According to IHS MarkitGlobal, sales of cars costing more than $180,000—so-called ultra-premium cars—quadrupled to nearly 28,700 between 2009 and 2017.
Back in Sweden, and using a former Saab facility now owned by the Chinese-controlled National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, Koenigsegg production will reach hundreds of vehicles annually by 2022, most of them at a price of $1 million or more.
Production on the Jesko portion of them starts in 2021. Pricing has yet to be released.