Koenigsegg One:1 – Actually Living in the Fast Lane
Enzo Ferrari and Ferruccio Lamborghini were the pioneers of sports cars as we have known them to this day. Sadly, neither of them are still with us to witness the popularity and culture their brands created in the automotive world.
On the other hand, there is Christian von Koenigsegg which at 45 years old is experiencing the prime of one of the most powerful production cars to date: Koenigsegg One:1. While beneath the cold, Nordic appearance, Christian Von Koenigsegg doesn’t really show it, the One:1 is a car made by geeks!
After all, who else would’ve been so turned on by reaching the sweet one-to-one power-to-weight ratio? Anyways, let’s go on a journey and analyze a northern beast that’s spitting 1,341hp instead of flames.
It’s rather strange, but the best way to start witnessing the Koenigsegg One:1 in a bird-eye view mode. The reasoning is that from this perspective you get to see the flowing lines and attack angles without anything messing with your field of view.
The mid, roof-placed air intake looks like something a talented, overly enthusiastic kid would draw on his dream car. The difference here is that the same element is fully functional while brilliantly designed and integrated into the body.
If the text sounds juicy and rather biased so far, it’s for fair reasons; it’s supposed to rival Huayras and P1s, so Koenigsegg had to provide nothing short of awesome. And well, he definitely delivered what was expected.
It boils down to weight
Koenigsegg put in a lot of effort to quiet down any mean-willing statistics regarding the actual 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. While the engine puts out 1 megawatt (and we’ll shortly go have a look at it), the weight had to be carefully tuned to fit the spec.
Obviously, tuning was all about removing weight rather than gain any. As you would expect, carbon fiber elements are found literally everywhere, from door panels, handles to the belly pan.
“Aircore” is the name Koenigsegg gave to the technology letting it built all-carbon fiber wheels. The only other material (other than rubber) is a bit of metal used to create the air valve. So, what does “Aircore” represent? It stands for the hollow spokes in the wheels which contribute to a massive 40% weight reduction compared to standard sports rims. The One:1 uses 19-inch wheels on the front and 20-inch ones on the rear.
All four wheels are dressed with custom-made Michelin tires – going above and beyond to achieve the fastest production car status.
Furthermore, weight reduction is not just in the wheels. It’s impressive to find out that the center chassis tube will turn the scale by just 165lbs (75kg).
Devil’s in the details
In this particular case, the devil is the aerodynamic drag coefficient. Koenigsegg doesn’t provide an exact value for the One:1 (somewhere between 0.45 and 0.50 when using custom wings). However, is not at all difficult to comprehend that, when the carbon fiber mirrors are built as an active aero part, the overall aerodynamic work is astonishing in efficiency and detail.
Looking from the front of the vehicle, the canards shape reveals how the air is pushed up and over the body. They are however just the first stage of the aerodynamic show. There is a front splitter measuring higher than what you could call street-legal car spec.
The One:1 is the first Koenigsegg to feature a fixed roof, although it’s bolted on to the carbon body rather than permanently fitted. You wouldn’t want to take it off, no matter how much you would fancy a spyder-like version; it will highly upset the entire balance of the car.
The megawatt engine
One thousand three hundred sixty horsepower. That’s the exact number the Koenigsegg One:1 pushes out of the 5-liter twin-turbocharged dry-sump V8. And that is exactly how much it needs to pair each one of the 2,998lb (1,360 kg) of the car (when having half a tank of fuel and all fluids loaded).
Don’t give up yet. There is more to the 1,360hp figure than just a perfect ratio that soothes the OCD. For Christian Koenigsegg, it’s the number of constant improvement and technological advancement. Because 1,360hp is equal with 1 megawatt – and the One:1 is the first megawatt production car, ever.
The engine reaches peak power at 7,500 rpm and hits redline at 8,260 rpm. Between 3,000 and 8,000 rpm the driver gains over 738 ft-lb of torque (1,000Nm) at the simple press of the throttle, peaking with 1,011 ft-lb of torque (1,371Nm) @6,000 rpm. Seeing only 4-digit numbers looks awesome, but how is that translated into more relatable data?
Let’s put it this way: it takes 20 seconds for the One:1 to reach not 150 or even 200 mph. It takes it 20 seconds to push the boundary of 250 mph (400 km/h). And it takes half of that time to come to a complete halt again. This megacar requires only 92 feet (28 meters) to stop from 62 mph (100 km/h).
Driving. Because it’s called a street car.
Fortunately, that’s where everything street-like about the Koenigsegg One:1 ends. Okay, maybe just add the automatic lift function that makes sure you won’t scratch the front splitter when going over bumps or speed limiters. Quite the street perk, isn’t it? Now that’s really where the street part really ends.
Only 7 examples were built, and, as expected from the hypercar purchasing market, all of them were sold even before the first carbon fiber body element was even built. Because something like this doesn’t get to wait in showrooms for a client, not with a coveted Koenigsegg badge on the front.
With such low production numbers, having the chance to drive the One:1 makes you think whether there is someone or something up there looking out for you and pushing luck your way. After all, let’s face it. Most people won’t even dream of waking up one morning and see a 1,360hp car, nevertheless drive it.
Getting inside the cockpit is not that difficult as you’d normally expect from a car that’s entirely performance-oriented. Close the door, and, if you happen to be on an isolated military runway or any well laid track for that matter, it’s a good idea to buckle up and let the suspense build up.
Push to start the engine. Hear it rev up. The sound is cold but in the same time pierces through the carbon body and vibrates against the eardrum of the driver and the passenger, making the hear add a few beats per minute to the cardiac rhythm.
Keep the left foot on the brake pedal while you switch into drive mode, all while briefly witnessing the Alcantara interior meshing against even more carbon fiber. Slightly pinch the throttle while the brake pedal is still depressed. Right then, the engine starts to build up like the fury of the Norse gods. And that’s just the beginning of the storm.
The Koenigsegg One:1 is a very powerful machine. Even so, this does not make it difficult to drive at legal road speed. A light foot on the throttle won’t make the car spin tires with every acceleration, neither will the brake system throw you towards the windshield.
But, honestly, who on Earth would take the One:1 just for a simple walk in the park? And then it happens. You actually go all the way through to the floor on the throttle. Power builds smoothly for less than half a second, then mayhem occurs at the connection between the engine and the 7-speed direct shift gearbox. Further down the power path, wheels grip to the ground in an effort to cope with the mountain of torque while the engine rages. It’s not the roar of an old-school Chevy big-block. It’s the sound of modern, extremely well balanced V8 with twin turbochargers working at 1.8 bar of pressure.
You give short glances to the three VDU instrument panels sitting behind the steering wheel. The left temperature display also incorporates a power gauge with a 1500 PS top end. In the middle, the speedometer ends at 450 km/h (280 mph) – and bears the truth: this street car is fast, above everything else.
Conclusion: The queen without a crown
Since a top speed limit has been imposed on the famous Nürburgring circuit, the One:1 missed its chance to tip the numbers of the record holder Porsche 918 hybrid. It’s one of the big battles that the world wanted to see, stopped just by the sake of safety.
As we reflect on the One:1, we are still amazed at how pure this hypercar is. Everything is essential and purposeful. There is no bling, no part that is purely aesthetic – because after all, that’s not how performance is attained. Immense power and great design that’s being bought even before its fabricated comes from long hours, constant improvement and a dedication that’s similar to one’s need to breathe.