I recently had the chance to drive the Koenigsegg CCX, which is the world’s most impressive supercar … from 2008. This was an interesting experience, largely because it was interesting to see just how far things have progressed in the last decade between the CCX and the Agera RS, which I also recently reviewed.
To start, a little refresher on exactly what the CCX is. Koenigsegg’s first supercar was called the CC8, and it came out back in the early 2000s. That evolved into the CCR, and then into the CCX, which was the first real “global” Koenigsegg model, using a Koenigsegg-developed powertrain and sold across the world. Of course, “across the world” might be a bit of a stretch, since this car cost something like $800,000 new, and Koenigsegg probably only sold a few dozen of them. But, nonetheless, it was the beginning of Koenigsegg reaching new heights.
On the outside, the CCX is not wildly different from the Agera RS I reviewed. Koenigsegg models are nice, glorious, special, but not exactly as beautiful as some other exotic cars, with a design that’s more functional than some. The CCX also uses the same trick doors, as the Agera RS, and it touts the same removable roof that stows in the front compartment.
One big difference between the CCX and the Agera RS, however, is in the middle of the interior — the transmission. While the Agera RS uses a dual-clutch automatic, like most modern supercars, the CCX has a good ol’-fashioned stick shift. That’s a pretty good trick, considering it has something like 800 hp and 680 lb-ft of torque — it’s a truly enormous amount of power to handle yourself, with three pedals.
And yet, despite this, the three pedals are glorious. Absolutely glorious. I was shocked at just how wonderful the CCX was to drive, and just how perfect and smooth and slick the transmission was, with a reasonably light clutch with smooth travel, along with an excellent shifter. Even though I started my drive in the CCX with massive anxiety — the asking price is well over $1 million — I was rev-matching my downshifts within only a few minutes. It’s an easy transmission, and I wish many other sports cars had something as slick and rewarding.
Of course, the power is monstrous — and intimidating. Around 800 hp is a serious figure, and I was afraid to really mash the throttle, though I did once or twice. I can confirm it really, really goes. Smoothly and quickly, it really goes. And when it goes, you hear an absolutely amazing noise coming up from behind you, better than just about anything, on account of the CCX’s wonderful open roof. Some people don’t like convertible sports cars and supercars, but I love them — you get the sun, you get the open air and you get that engine note. Which, in this car, was fantastic.
What isn’t so fantastic in the CCX is its technology. In fact, some of it is kind of laughable — like, for instance, how there’s no fuel gauge, but rather just a light that comes on to let you know you’re running low. Of course, with no gauge, it comes on with no warning, so you’re sort of at the mercy of the car. Better get gas often. There’s also a relatively rudimentary gauge cluster with no speedometer. Instead, the car gives your speed on a pixelated display below the tach. Better hope it doesn’t break.
But my favorite piece of old-school tech in this car has to be the infotainment system, which is a center-mounted touchscreen with the “Koenigsegg” logo at the bottom. I was eager to play with the 10-year-old Koenigsegg infotainment, but it wasn’t to be: the screen was a generic unit, farmed out to some infotainment maker, and the Koenigsegg logo was just a decal, placed at the bottom, presumably by the factory. One screen allowed you to choose the car brand logo you wanted displayed on the “Car settings” page, allowing you to display a Kia logo on your Koenigsegg infotainment system.
Not that any of that matters — because the driving experience of this car is all most people will care about, and I was really impressed with it. The steering is incredibly direct, the car feels stable and (shockingly) well-built and I can’t stop thinking about how wonderful that gear lever and clutch action were. Bad tech and smaller cabin aside, I actually think this car felt daily drivable — a total shock — and truly engaging, not just intimidating and overpowered.
It may be the best supercar from 10 years ago, but it’s still amazing by modern standards — and if I had a couple million to blow on one, I’d seriously consider getting one of these over the “usual suspect” brands. Yes, it’s that good.