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Meet The Koenigsegg CC850: A Hypercar With A “Manual” Gearbox

Koenigsegg has debuted its latest creation at The Quail, part of the Monterey Car Week, to celebrate its first-ever road car and its founder. Say hello to the CC850.

2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the Koenigsegg CC8S, the first ‘production’ car from the Swedish upstart. Only 8 were built and it set new benchmarks for what can be offered in a road car. At the time, it held the world record for the most powerful production engine — a 4.6-litre supercharged V8 producing 655hp.

This year is also the 50th birthday of company founder and petrolhead extraordinaire, Christian Von Koenigsegg. As such, this new limited edition Swedish hypercar has ’50’ in its name, and only 50 units will be produced.

At its heart, the CC850 has Koenigsegg’s 5.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that can churn out 1,185hp and 1,385Nm of tar-warping torque. Like most Koenigsegg powertrains, this one also runs on biofuels and the power output increases to 1,385hp on E85. At peak performance, it has a power-to-weight ratio of 1:1!

But the real highlight of the CC850 is in the central console – a 6-speed gated manual transmission, just like the CC8S from 20 years ago. Now, the exact workings of this Koenigsegg transmission setup are a bit too technical for my understanding, so let’s borrow some interpretations from the net and relay some of what the carmaker had to say about it.

The CC850’s transmission is based on the company’s Light Speed Transmission (LST) that debuted on the Jesko. In stock form, it is a 9-speed automatic with seven clutches for lightning-fast shifts. It has been paired with a first-ever Engage Shift System (ESS) and a clutch pedal, programmed to offer the most engaging manual driving experience. We say programmed because the setup uses clutch-by-wire technology for the 6-speed manual with different gear ratios depending on the drive mode. This system also allows the driver to switch back to full auto mode for the seamless nine-speed transmission. The ESS can even make the car lurch and stall if you’re in manual mode and don’t use the clutch properly. So, it has a manual shifter and at the same time, it’s not your typical manual transmission. Typical Koenigsegg.

If you’re like us, you’re not as fussed about the authenticity of this manual transmission experience. The fact that there is a 1,385hp hypercar that makes a great deal of noise, redlining at 8,500rpm, and allows you to change gears with a clutch and a manual shifter is plenty to love.

The design of the CC850 takes direct inspiration from the CC8S and brings it forward two decades. Everything looks crisper, smoother and more luxurious. It has the classic telephone-dial style rims, triple taillights and a front end that reminds us of a scene from old Top Gear when the CCX “ate” a tyre. There are other traditional Koenigsegg details such as the synchrohelix door system and the detachable hard top that can be stowed in the front. You can also spot the iconic Ghost badge on the engine canopy. The rear looks smooth thanks to an active rear wing that sits flush with the bodywork when not needed. The aggressively styled rear diffuser gives it added road presence, highlighting the CC850’s wide and athletic design.

The cabin design is similarly old school. Yes, it has bright red upholstery contrasting the exposed carbon fibre but everything looks charmingly simplistic. There’s a round steering wheel, analogue triple dial gauge cluster, an open-gate shifter with exposed mechanicals, and fixed carbon bucket seats. It does have a modicum of modern cabin tech in the form of the touchscreen infotainment display in the centre of the dash and a host of parking cameras. The Swedish flag on the gearknob is a nice touch too.

This is not a hypercar to break records. It’s about sharing the dream of a mad engineer from Sweden who wanted to build the cars of his dreams, cars that nobody else would make. “The CC850 is an homage to the single most meaningful car in Koenigsegg history,” said Christian von Koenigsegg. “The CC8S put us on the map and made us successful – and celebrating 20 years of production, alongside my 50th birthday, felt like the right time to reveal the CC850 to appreciate our roots.”

So let’s raise a glass to the courage and innovation of Koenigsegg, for always working on a more insane road car with new technologies. Cheers!

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