It don’t need no stinkin’ multi-ratio transmission.
Koenigsegg has built fewer cars during its entire existence than Ferrari produces in a single week, and yet the Swedish hypercar manufacturer has become disproportionally adept at winning headlines. Take for example the Regera, the company’s all-new model and a car that makes the 1341-hp One:1 that we drove not long ago look slightly underpowered.
The figures are somewhere beyond being merely intimidating. The Regera follows the example set by the McLaren P1, the Ferrari LaFerrari, and the Porsche 918 by using a hybrid drivetrain, albeit one completely unlike anything we’ve seen before. It uses both a twin-turbocharged 5.0-liter V-8 engine and three electric motors for a total combined output of 1.11 megawatts, which converts to 1509 metric horsepower—or 1489 horsepower on America’s SAE measuring stick. Koenigsegg claims the 0-to-400-kph (249 mph) acceleration time of less than 20 seconds makes the Regera—Swedish for “to reign”—the fastest-accelerating car in the world.
A Look that Is . . . Understated?
We’ll get to the powertrain in a second—trust us, it’s better to take a run-up—but first, a word about the design. Perhaps the most amazing thing about the styling is that Koenigsegg did it almost entirely in-house and with no professional designers. The Regera is intended to be a more luxurious alternative to the existing Agera model. From the front, it does look almost completely different—you could call it understated by Koenigsegg’s standards. The side and rear profiles are dominated by the aero channels and the huge deployable rear wing. The cabin is the biggest surprise; Koenigsegg’s previous models have all had cockpits like blinged-up Group C racers, but the Regera looks plush and spacious by comparison, the big central display screen even features Apple CarPlay.
Out Go the Gears
And now on to the drivetrain. The gasoline side features the novel Koenigsegg Direct Drive transmission: In effect, a single-speed gear reduction for the mighty V-8 engine. Between the engine and the 2.85:1 rear final drive there’s no conventional gearbox, just a hydraulic coupling that, when closed, links the two directly. Below 30 mph, this can slip slightly, but it isn’t a proper clutch and won’t provide propulsion at very low speeds where the Regera relies instead on its electric motors. Above 30 mph, the Regera’s engine speed and wheel speed rise in direct proportion, with the engine’s 8250-rpm redline corresponding to the top speed of 249 mph. (Honda’s Accord hybrid and Accord plug-in hybrid use single-speed transmissions that are similar in concept, although we wouldn’t be surprised if Christian von Koenigsegg wasn’t even aware of the existence of those 114-mph family sedans.)
Koenigsegg Direct Drive might sound like the solution to a nonexistent problem, but the company claims that the lack of a conventional gearbox both saves weight and reduces the power lost to the driveline by over 50 percent compared to a traditional transmission. And the electric motors provide the ability to fill in where the V-8 is producing less power and also to add extra performance on top of it, all the way to the Regera’s top speed. There are three YASA axial flux motors, which are lighter than the more common radial flux motors. Two 241-hp versions drive the rear wheels—and provide torque vectoring—and a 215-hp motor on the crankshaft supplies torque fill and also acts as both a generator and a starter motor.
The 620-volt battery pack sits in the chassis backbone where it takes up 2.4 cubic feet of space and weighs 254 pounds. Koenigsegg says it’s the most power-dense battery pack created for a road car, with a 9.27-kWh capacity. Prodigious flow rates—up to 671 horsepower can be supplied during full acceleration and 201 horsepower can be absorbed during regenerative braking. And, yes, the provision of a 3-kW onboard charger means that the Regera is a plug-in, with a claimed electric-only range of 22 miles. We’re told the entire transmission including the electric motors and the battery pack adds just 194 pounds to the Regera’s weight compared with its mass if it had been built with just the V-8 and the company’s existing seven-speed automated transmission.
Unique Among Hypercars
“This is of course very different to what people are used to in sports cars,” admitted company founder Christian von Koenigsegg, adding, “It’s nice to shift down, hear the engine howl and then shoot off. However, given the massive electrical support and the power of the internal-combustion engine over 2500 rpm, the experience is otherworldly. At low rpm, the engine will still feel truly monstrous as the combined torque is unbelievable. The fun of shifting down and planning for the acceleration is quickly forgotten and not missed. It needs to be experienced.”
Good luck with that final point. Just 80 Regeras will be produced, each one commanding a starting price of $1,890,000 before any taxes or fees. That sum is heady, sure, but it also seems like an odd sort of bargain when the track-only P1 GTR costs more than $3 million. And then there’s this: The Regera will be offered in the U.S. as a fully federally compliant model, probably early next year.