I recently had the chance to drive a Koenigsegg Agera RS, which is pretty much the craziest supercar in the world right now. I don’t say that lightly: there are a lot of crazy supercars in the world, but the Agera RS is currently the world’s fastest production car — it’ll do something like 285 miles per hour — and is also one of the most expensive, as the one I drove cost the owner something like $4 million, though it’s currently worth somewhere between $8 and $10 million.
Think about that for a second: $8 to $10 million. For a car.
And yet, this isn’t just any car, which is obvious to anyone who knows anything about Koenigsegg. The Agera RS I drove, dubbed the RS1, is fitted with the car’s “1 Megawatt Package,” which brings horsepower up to 1,400. And it’s one of just 25 Agera RS models made for the entire planet, making it one of the rarest, most highly-desired cars currently in existence.
But it’s not just the rarity or the performance that makes this car special. Consider this: virtually every single item on this car is designed, engineered and built in-house. With only a few minor exceptions, Koenigsegg doesn’t bother with suppliers for anything, from the seats to the reflectors to the rearview mirrors. Koenigsegg makes basically everything for the car, engineering the entire vehicle from start to finish, with every item purpose-built. It’s amazing.
The result, of course, is an immense level of customization. No two Koenigsegg models are alike, and there’s no “stock” configuration for it. The owner of this particular Agera RS told me he flew to Sweden, Koenigsegg’s home country, several times in order to configure the vehicle and assist with its creation. Now it’s on the road in California, and he drives it surprisingly often.
And so did I. Climbing behind the wheel of the Koenigsegg was a tremendously anxiety-provoking experience, probably more than any other car I’ve ever driven — including the Ferrari F40 or the Bugatti Chiron, both of which are valued at mere fractions of the Koenigsegg’s price. For that reason, I wasn’t really able to get going as fast as possible, nor did I really wish to — the last thing you want to do, when you’re driving a Koenigsegg, is end up on the news because you floored it for a quick thrill and crashed into some sort of highway barrier. If this happened, Instagram would blow up with photos from “the Koenigsegg crash,” and then the best car I’d be able to review, going forward, would be a 2009 Hyundai Elantra.
But I did drive it for a little while, and I was able to experience some of the impressive aspects of the car, especially at lower speeds. The biggest takeaway, for me, was the fact that it was surprisingly menacing. I thought the car would be sterile, as it is, after all, a supercar from Sweden, but instead it rumbles and gargles, and never lets you forget you’re driving a supercar, much like supercars from the old days. Stepping on the accelerator doesn’t release a controlled woosh, like in the Chiron, but rather an angry, monstrous engine that just gets louder the faster you go. This really surprised me, as the car sounds more mechanical than I expected.
Another surprise was just how nimble the car felt. This shouldn’t be such a shock, considering that it’s a no-expense-spared sports car, but when you think about its power level and its price tag, you start thinking that it’ll mainly be designed for top speed runs. This clearly wasn’t the case — as even at lower speeds, it’s clear that the steering is direct and communicative and the handling was incredibly precise, with zero body roll. The car makes you feel like a superstar, and it’s amazingly exciting through corners.
If I could point to any downsides of the Koenigsegg, I suppose it’d be the fact that it doesn’t seem especially usable. Not only is the ride rough, but the value is such that I’d be nervous to drive it — and I think a lot of owners would, too, no matter how much they’re worth. That’s in part because Agera RS values have gone up dramatically since Koenigsegg owners purchased their cars, and an accident would be an insurance nightmare. There are other issues, too: the ride quality is harsh, as expected, and lack of servicing is a problem, as Koenigsegg has to fly out a technician from Sweden to work on the car, since there aren’t any local dealerships.
But those are the compromises you make to own one of the most special vehicles of our era. When I was discussing the car with the owner I asked him: Why Koenigsegg? Why this car? He told me something I won’t forget: imagine if you lived in the era of Enzo Ferrari, and you were able to talk with him about his cars, and work with him to order one exactly as you like. That’s the Koenigsegg experience. These days, Ferrari is going for volume, and Bugatti is controlled by a big conglomerate, but companies like Koenigsegg and Pagani offer something a little more special. OK, a lot more special.
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