Driver’s Seat: Koenigsegg CCR

Three Drives: Ferrari F50
November 4, 2018
Driver’s Seat – McLaren 720S
November 18, 2018

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The Koenigsegg CCR is designed to be very, very, fast in a straight line and to do it with a relatively high degree of slightly quirky Swedish comfort. This it does quite well, even before you get out of 2nd gear. The dashboard layout is very different from any other car I have driven but works quite well once you figure it out. The dials and digital display are very readable in all light conditions, much better in fact than the digital display on the Ferrari F50. The center consul, which houses a large number of key controls, is baffling at first but has a understandable logic to it once you figure it out. Between how the immobilizer works and the startup sequence however, my concern for someone jumping in the CCR and driving off is about zero. In fact, jumping into the car is near impossible. The sill on the CCR is quite wide and opening the incredibly cool dihedral synchro-helix actuation doors takes a few seconds. You need to be careful that you don’t hit anything as the doors extend out from the car’s body as they roll forward when opening. The pedals are offset towards the center of the car and you sit low in the carbon fiber tub. The front windscreen is quite large, and it wraps around a large amount of the front end. The front corners are not visible from the driver’s seat and it does take a bit of time to get comfortable with the car’s dimensions on the road. It is a bit shorter than most supercars but feels wider. On a B road, it feels like you are occupying a significant part of the roadway. It is not hard to place on the road, but you are always aware of the width. The turning radius rivals that of a small supertanker and tight corners need a bit of advance planning.

What sets the Koenigsegg CCR apart though is what happens when you put your right foot down. Acceleration is fierce from the moment you pull away, however get aggressive on the gas and it just leaps viciously at the horizon. On top of being pressed back into the comfortable bucket seats, the sound of the supercharger spinning up (it is located right behind the driver’s head, an my youngest son calls it the “Hyperdrive”), is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Brakes are great, thankfully given the aggressiveness of the acceleration, and overall balance of the car is quite good. The gearbox however is demonic and the first couple times you drive it, finding the gears is an adventure. The gear shift lever is a tall steal shaft that protrudes slightly forward of where you would expect to find it. The space between the gears is very tight, therefore slotting from one gear to the next is a craft to be learned. As the CCR is geared for 240 mph, the gearbox is not something that you need to be constantly working. The clutch is medium weighted with a high bite point. Getting the bite point right serves to add a bit of extra excitement when initially trying to master the gearbox. The noise the 4.7L V8 makes is more guttural than Italian style screaming.

In the Koenigsegg CCR always feel both like you are sitting in something very special that could bite your head off you if you let your guard down for a second. That having been said, I have driven it at night on the highway in the rain, thru the middle of London during rush hour, on long country drives with friends, and to the supermarket. In all these situations it behaved impeccably. With the roof on, it is a bit cramped and claustrophobic, with it off, it is just great. In a straight line, it adds a whole new dimension to quick. In terms of a car to live with, I have kept it on a battery conditioner when not using it and have never had any of the electrical problems you hear about. The windows are programed to drop when you open the doors and sometimes seem to have their own agenda. The front nose lift has been very helpful in terms of getting over speed bumps, and it is fairly easy to get the roof on and off.

Net net, it is a very unique supercar. It is definitely a car that you can cover huge distances in very quickly and comfortable. Taking it out on a track would require more than a fair amount of intestinal fortitude. It can be hustled down a country lane smartly, but you always need to respect all 800+ bhp sitting behind your back.

November 2018

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