I roll out of the near-deserted pit-lane at the Autodrome and plant the throttle for the first time. The Agera, which is the Swedish verb meaning to act, just goes mad. All that power ploughs through the rear wheels and sends the Koenigsegg scorching to 60 mph in 3.1 sec, way faster than the Zonda; 125 mph falls in 8.9s and the Agera will go from 0-125-0 in just 13.7s, which will leave you with internal bleeding.
It won’t run out of steam until well beyond 245 mph, although the top speed isn’t fixed yet and the Veyron could have a sleepless night or two. But it’s not just the numbers; it’s the sheer violence of the turbo-powered delivery that sets this car apart. The engine starts out as a crate Ford, but by the time it leaves the Koenigsegg production line, if you can call it that, the powerplant has been reimagined into a violent, sadistic, crack-fuelled nightmare.
It’s an absolutely docile creature until the revs hit 3500 rpm and then it bolts forward with a jolt and I’m at the next bend. Then on lift-off, as I prepare to hit the ceramic brakes and flick down two gears on the paddle-shift seven-speed, a fireball erupts from that cannon of a central exhaust and the whole car shimmies as it takes real muscle to steer it into the bends. Whereas the Zonda and Veyron can be trained on the apex with the fingertips, I’m using shoulder muscles with the Agera and, for a while, I’m actually scared of the thing.
That’s a legacy of grip and physical force, rather than weight. It can produce lateral cornering forces of 1.6 g thanks to epic levels of grip from the Michelin Pilot Super Sports and a setup focused on cornering speed, while the Veyron Super Sports will give 1.45 g. That means, theoretically, that the Agera will destroy almost anything on track if the driver can find the very limit of the grip without barreling through that fine line.
I jest, of course, about the tires, but Koenigsegg himself waxes lyrical about the Super Sports. As grippy as Cup rubber in the dry and yet usable in the wet, the new Michelin is a game-changer and make this thing feel like it’s running on race rubber.
I can still feel the car tugging to the outside of the circuit understeering ever so slightly on a constant throttle. Of course, you can balance the rear slip angle with a delicate right foot or push straight through into lairy, sliding oversteer with a hefty application of throttlewith the traction control switched off. But then with a turbo-powered car it makes sense to make it nose heavy. When a tail-happy car comes on boost mid-corner, in the wet, people die.
The brakes, meanwhile, are pin sharp ceramics mated to six-piston calipers and the car’s stability under heavy deceleration is a testament to the engineering throughout the car. The engine and gearbox combo can still snap it out of line, but over time I learn it’s an illusion, a character trait, rather than a ragged edge exposed.
It’s still a hard-core car and only a few special souls can truly appreciate its skills, but then Koenigsegg only sells 15 cars a year and only needs a few elite souls that truly get it.
Customers tend to be heads of states or self-made billionaires on the lookout for something different, more extreme and more hard-core than they can find elsewhere.
And now, Sweden has more to offer than just practical furniture and model/ex-wives.
The Agera has only two real rivals if we discount the SSC Utimate Aero, and most do. It competes with the most exclusive variants of the Pagani Zonda and the all-conquering Bugatti Veyron.
Longitudinal, mid engine rear-wheel drive
4.7-liter V8, dohc 32-valve, twin-turbocharged (1.5 bar), 8.9:1 compression
Seven-speed sequential with paddle shifts, torque-sensitive LSD or E-diff clutch, dual-plate clutch
Double wishbones, 2-way adjustable shocks and antiroll bars front and rear. Electronically adjustable ride height
Six-piston calipers with 15.4-inch ventilated ceramic rotors (f), six-piston calipers with 14.9-inch ventilated ceramic rotors (r)
Wheels And Tires
Forged alloys with center-locking nuts, 9.5x19 (f) and 12.5x20 (r) Michelin 255/35 (f), 335/30 (r)
Curb weight: 2,832
Peak Power: 910 hp @ 6850 rpm
Peak Torque: 811 lb-ft @ 5100 rpm
0-60 mph: 3.1 sec.
Top speed: 245+ mph (estimated)