Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

Neither we nor Koenigsegg were happy with the performance figures we extracted from the CC8S. This may seem an odd thing to say about a car that will hit 150mph from rest in 17.6sec, but when the F1 needed just 12.8sec to do the same it's clear something was not right.

There was no way it possessed anything close to its claimed 655bhp and had Koenigsegg allowed us more runs we'd doubtless have lowered the 60 and 100mph times. But even so, it's quicker than its headline figures suggest.

The Koenigsegg's gearbox is precise and satisfying to use, and the brakes are great

A 0-60mph time of 4.4sec is unremarkable in the extreme for such a car, but that figure would be cut dramatically if, like the Pagani, it had extraordinary traction off the mark and would do it all in first gear.

The ton comes up after another gear change in 8.4sec, but with a torque curve that rises almost as steeply as the power curve and just 1800rpm spanning the gap between peak torque and peak power, keeping the engine on the boil is nigh-on impossible. Gear ratios spaced to accommodate speeds well in excess of 200mph don't help. Our car had the close-ratio gear set; with the longer gearing, the Koenigsegg claims a 240mph maximum.

Credit to the Koenigsegg for matching a feat achieved only by the McLaren in an Autocar road test before now: a genuine 200mph. But 240mph? We know the McLaren is a genuine 240mph car and we also know how savage its acceleration was at 200mph. Clearly the Koenigsegg's impressive high-speed acceleration owes a lot to a phenomenally low drag co-efficient (0.3), but we still can't see the test car getting near the McLaren's marker.

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Further insight into the Koenigsegg's character is provided by its in-gear figures. Further comparison to the McLaren would serve only to rub the Koenigsegg's nose in it, but it is instructive to see how it performs relative to the Zonda. From 50-70mph in top gear takes 10.2sec, compared to the Pagani's 4.4sec. The Koenigsegg's 6.1sec run from 30-50mph in fourth compares to the Zonda's 3.1sec.

Nor does the Koenigsegg's Ford-based engine offer the aural satisfaction of its V12 rivals from Ferrari or the Pagani's AMG-made motor. At least the 'box is precise and satisfying to use, and there is no quibbling about the brakes. The disc are huge and clamped by six- and four-piston callipers respectively, and the result is one of the best stoppers we've ever encountered.

Pedal weighting and feel are near perfect even after repeated stops from over 170mph. A 60-0mph time of 2.4sec speaks for itself. Our only niggle is that such treatment produces sufficient front-end dive for the splitter to scrape the grounds, and as we neared 200mph, Bruntingthorpe's less-than-perfect surface caused the front wheels to abrade their carbonfibre arches.