‘The show must go on’. So read the messages on all of Koenigsegg’s social media feeds. It was a response to the cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show after the spread of coronavirus proved too great a risk.
With a stand more than three times the size the company usually gets, a potential future record-breaker, plus an all-new car designed to save the internal combustion engine, Koenigsegg decided to steal Geneva back. It’s the last brand standing.
CEO Christian Von Koenigsegg presented the cars on-stand via a live-stream, at an uncharacteristically quiet and crowd-free Palexpo, where the Geneva show was originally to be held. Not letting the lack of flashing cameras or clamouring journalists trouble him, Koenigsegg’s presentation is a masterclass of traditional motor show glamour, pageantry and, truthfully, a little bit of cringe.
Gemera: the world’s first ‘Mega GT’
We’ll get to the Jesko Absolut in a moment. A 300mph+ capable ‘megacar’ it may be, but the Gemera was the main event. ‘Gemera’ is a contraction of two Swedish words, meaning to ‘give more’.
It’s a four-seat, two-door car that Koenigsegg calls ‘the world’s first Mega GT’. It’s something all-new for the marque, and perhaps for the automobile in general.
The ‘Tiny Friendly Giant’ engine
That’s because the so-called ‘Tiny Friendly Giant’ (TFG) engine features Koenigsegg’s free-valve technology, in production for the first time. The engine is a three-cylinder, 2.0-litre unit with two turbochargers. Diminutive though that sounds, it delivers more than 600hp, with a redline of 8,500rpm.
The big news, though, is that free-valve tech. With computer control – instead of a solid camshaft – the engine fuel efficiency and emissions improve by up to 20 percent versus a normal 2.0 turbo petrol engine. Independent control of the valves allows faster warm-up and a more efficient idle, too.
Koenigsegg says that it wants to ‘end fossil fuel dependency in combustion engines’. To do that, the Gemera can also run on renewable fuels, including E100, methanol and ‘sun fuel’, and be functionally particulate and emissions-free.
Indeed, Koenigsegg claims that with its state-of-the-art particulate filters and renewable fuel, the car could clean London’s air as it drives around. The synthetic fuel point is one that Koenigsegg really wants to push, as a solution to dirty fossil fuels.
Why is it called the Tiny Friendly Giant? Koenigsegg spoke of how it has a “deep guttural grunt” thanks to the comparatively large capacity for just three cylinders, plus its special Akrapovic exhaust. He called it “a little monster of an engine”.
Gemera is a 1,700hp AWD hybrid
It doesn’t matter how clever an engine is, though. In Koenigsegg-land, 600hp is small potatoes. Fear not, the Gemera benefits from the assistance of three electric motors and four-wheel drive. Two 500hp motors at the rear work with a 400hp crank motor and the TFG. Total functional output is 1,700hp and 2,581lb ft. While the motors at the back allow for full torque vectoring, there’s also clutch-controlled torque vectoring at the front.
The gearbox is Koenigsegg’s gearless direct drive unit that features in the Regera. Think of it as a really clever combination of a CVT and torque converter ‘box. Rear-wheel steering also helps the Gemera be “steady as a freight train on the autobahn,” while being agile in corners.
Why not go full electric? Well, pure electric silence is a big jump from the blood-curdling noise Koenigsegg customers are used to. And that would be a bit too simple, and a bit crude, for Christian. With a target weight of less than 1,900kg, it’s 30 percent lighter than an equivalent EV. All while being functionally as clean and efficient as one.
Koenigsegg said in the stream that “electric cars are great, but there aren’t enough charging stations, and you can’t produce enough adequate cells, quickly enough, for worldwide implementation”. The Gemera is a “parallel track”, offering the best of both worlds.
A practical four-seater GT
Speaking of the best of both worlds, fully fuelled and charged up, it’ll go for 621 miles. “The only reason you should have to stop, is for your own personal needs,” Koenigsegg joked in the stream. Is there something unremarkable about the Gemera? Well, its electric-only range isn’t game-changing: just 31 miles.
Koenigsegg rather boldly claims that the Gemera has more space inside than any GT car seen before. There’s no need to move the seats when getting in, with the car able to carry four adults in comfort. The driver and front passenger will also find a large Tesla Model 3-style tablet in the middle, and screens working with cameras in the place of traditional mirrors.
Yes, to allow four people easy entry, the doors are enormous. They open as Koenigsegg doors do, but sensors can detect if they’re about to hit your garage roof or wall, at which point they stop.
What about practicality? Koenigsegg presented the car, with both its rear boot and its ‘frunk’ open, carrying four suitcases in total. Luggage enough for driver and passengers, then.
Jesko Absolut: Koenigsegg’s fastest ever car
We almost forgot about the Regera and Jesko. The former is being built, with one car completed every week. The 80-off hypercar will complete its production run soon. Before it bows out, the Regera will also take another crack at its own 0-400kmh-0 record.
Sandwiched in the middle is the Jesko Absolut. While the Jesko debuted last year, bewinged and ready for track work, the Absolut has the Bugatti Chiron 300+ in its sights. This is a top speed monster, pared back and lengthened, gunning for 500kph (311mph). With 1,600hp and a drag coefficient of 0.278, we believe it’ll do it.
Interestingly, like Bugatti, Koenigsegg also claimed that it would be the marque’s fastest ever car, and remain so. ‘Absolut’ refers to that status. Koenigsegg will be hanging up its top speed overalls thereafter.
What was, quite literally, Koenigsegg’s Geneva show has presented a new era for the Swedish marque. The company made famous by speed will now focus its energies on changing the car as a whole.