One Hundred. It’s a number with multiple associations. That’s how old Aston Martin is this year, that’s about how many thousand dollars it would take to buy a new SL-Class Mercedes, and now it’s the number of total Koenigseggs produced.
Started in 1994, Koenigsegg is the brainchild of Scandinavian, Christian von Koenigsegg. He took money from his exporting business, followed his dream of making his own cars, took his family’s coat of arms for his logo, and founded the car corporation that bears his name. With the wealth he had acquired from other business ventures, he had free reign with his perception of the ultimate car. From the get go Christian wanted his cars to stand out; the low stance, the lines, the trademark swivel doors, Christian would not put his name to anything that wouldn’t be perfect.
With an understated style and a name that’s a mouthful, Koenigseggs bring a presence that commands respect on the road. Just the lower ground clearance and the aggressive headlights instill humbleness in even the most hard-hearted. While they’re more on the stealthy side as opposed to the flamboyant Pagani Huayra, what lies underneath the paint is more exotic than you might figure. Carbon-fiber and Kevlar body panels are not in the least cheap to make or replace, but Koenigsegg’s commitment to perfection means they could be the only materials deemed worthy of use in their cars. Even the engine has to be the best it can be, and that means no partnerships or engine deals. All their engines are made in-house. The Agera S can get an astonishing 16mpg (not bad for a 242mph car) when you’re not fully on the gas. It also can run on bio-fuels, pretty nifty right?
Christian’s supercars have grown into some of the most powerful in the world, contending for the land speed record for production vehicles against the likes of such cars as the fabled Bugatti Veyron. The styling of his cars is aggressive yet minimalistic. It perfectly portrays the power beneath the clamshell at the car’s back. With 1,000+ horsepower you wouldn’t expect them to be tame, but Koenigseggs are easier to handle than a variety of things; the Titanic for instance, or a sixteen-wheeler in the snow, or maybe the Saturn Five rocket.
Which brings me to the new Hundra (Swedish for Hundred). One hundred can be quite a small number, especially when talking about production figures. Like the other 99 Koenigseggs in existence,it’s not what you’d call soft. With a 5.0L V8 making 1,100hp you’d expect its handling to be as fluid as the movement of someone being tased. Even the Stig from Top Gear couldn’t handle the amount of power being directed through the rear wheels of a CCX with a “puny” 800hp. So now I find myself circling back to a thought similar to the one in the Exige S post I recently wrote; why bother making a car so expensive, so powerful that you can’t handle it (physically or financially)? I understand that the super-rich get board and are always looking for some new toys but seriously, 24-carat gold inlays on the chassis, 1,100hp? Doesn’t all seem… excessive? I’m all for high-tech hypercars because they drive (excuse the pun) automotive technology to the limit. This is the bleeding edge. And there happens to be a lot of blood, seeing as people need $4.2 million for this car. It’s uniqueness (since there’s only one) sort of justifies the price, seeing as a Ferrari 250 GTO will sell for $45 million these days and there’s more than one of them (36 to be exact) yet it doesn’t even have power steering, or ABS, or an airbag, or a radio, or in some cases a passenger seat.
Today, is like most days. Like days past and present, there is always someone out there pushing the boundaries and doing it for a fair amount of money. Like I said, I have expensive taste and I like quality, but when people are selling cars for more than most people will make in their entire lives, it gets kind of tedious. Take a look at an older post here, on the Lykan Hypersport by W Motors. Around $4 million, diamond encrusted headlights, gold stitched seats. It’s kind of sickening.