The latest top model from Scandinavia—the Koenigsegg CCX—could have taken the Best of the Best sports car award based solely on its sex appeal. Its lightweight carbon-fiber dihedral doors swing simultaneously up, out, and over, rendering gullwing and scissor doors passé. Those doors also exemplify the CCX’s depth of engineering, and therein lies the car’s true allure.
Koenigsegg still produces the monocoque chassis from 21 layers of autoclave-baked, epoxy-laminated carbon fiber, but otherwise it has dramatically altered the CCX compared to its predecessor, the CCR, a model the carmaker sold only in Europe. To improve the driving experience, Koenigsegg added front and rear carbon-fiber splitters, which boost the car’s high-speed stability and grip.
Sandwiched between the cabin and the rear axle is Koenigsegg’s 4.7-liter, all-alloy V-8 power plant—with two superchargers—that develops 806 hp at 6,900 rpm. Thus equipped, the CCX gains speed so viciously that full-bore sprints through its 6-speed gearbox verge on the terrifying. From a standstill, the 2,600-pound CCX will reach 60 mph in just over three seconds. It will cover the standing quarter mile in 9.9 seconds with a terminal velocity of 146 mph. If you can find a private runway that is long enough, the car will suck in the horizon at a maximum speed of 245 mph.
If the CCX’s acceleration does not leave an indelible imprint on your memory, then its soundtrack will. Lumpy and guttural at low speeds, the V-8 does not sound particularly special until it has cleared its throat at about 3,500 rpm. From that point on, it fills the cabin with a torrent of supercharger scream, hammering induction noise, and a thunderous exhaust note. Changing gears near redline will produce 5-foot-long flames from the car’s vast tailpipe.
But the CCX is more than just a demonic speed merchant. The biddable chassis, compliant suspension, and heroic brakes allow you to use most of the power most of the time. You can push this car hard, really hard, without fear of its biting back, because it is forgiving up to a well-defined point. Beyond that is an area reserved for the foolish and the truly talented.
The Koenigsegg’s steering puts you in direct contact with the road, the wheel constantly writhing and wriggling in your hands as it relays grip levels and surface changes. Lightweight ceramic brakes and carbon-fiber rims are essential options. The platinum- and diamond-encrusted key fob is not so necessary.
Koenigsegg has been around for only 14 years, but judging by the brilliance of the $620,000 CCX, it has been time well spent. The CCX, which has an annual production of about 25 cars, ticks every box on the supercar aptitude test; it has the looks, the noise, the performance, and the poise.