PAHRUMP, Nevada—Pinned to the leather-wrapped racing seats, Jeffrey Cheng, the owner of this particularly beautiful Chalk and Orange Agera RS, shouts out 20 mph increments like he’s an auctioneer—100 mph, 120, 140, 160, 180. And lift and sold.
“That was only about half throttle,” he smirks.
Half throttle? How is this car road-legal? How is it not an immediate felony? What just happened? After just a single minute in a Koenigsegg Agera RS on a closed section of Nevada’s Highway 160, the sister car to the record-breaking Agera RS, I’m at a loss for words, thoughts, and struggling to catch my breath. This is a redefinition of my conception of “fast.” A mind-altering experience. This is not a car; it’s a drug, plain, and simple.
The Koenigsegg Agera RS is the ultimate iteration of the Agera lineup. Unlike previous versions, Koenigsegg replaced its “standard” 1,000 horsepower twin-turbocharged V-8 engine for the One Megawatt engine that was first included in the Koenigsegg One:1.
How much horsepower does the car make? Enough, but when pressed, Christian von Koenigsegg told us, “Over 1,380.” He even chuckles at the absurdity of the number.
As for the car’s weight, Koenigsegg’s specs state 3,000 pounds, but that figure is likely a few pounds over what comes out of the factory. The end result is the seizure-inducing hypercar described above.
As we slow down to a more “reasonable” 120 mph, my eyes get the opportunity to return to their normal positions. And with that, I regain the ability to take in the Agera RS’ interior dimensions. From the outside, the Agera RS is tiny, its footprint is barely bigger than a Ford Fiesta.
Of course the Agera RS is wider and lower than the pint-sized Ford, but the overall length makes you believe that the interior will be anything but spacious. Like Doctor Who’s TARDIS, however, the Agera RS’ interior is bigger on the inside.
First and foremost, the driver and passenger sit impossibly low in the hypercar’s chassis. It’s an old comparison, but it feels like if your rear was any lower it would become part of the car’s flat bottom undertray, skipping across the pitted desert highway.
The windshield wraps around you like a Le Mans prototype, although doesn’t come fully around for identical views. It does, however, offer spectacular sight lines for when you cross the 200 mph threshold.
Furthermore, while other supercars would likely have their occupants rubbing shoulders given their minuscule dimensions, i.e. Ferrari’s LaFerrari and Aston Martin’s Valkyrie, the Agera RS offers each passenger more than enough room to wildly wave their hands as the car accelerates to “Go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.”
Cheng and I banter a little bit back and forth as I attempt to muster a coherent retort to the Agera RS’ immense acceleration. I can only assemble a rather crude expletive to which he laughs. He then gives the Agera RS a little more than half throttle.
My stomach feels like it’s plastered to my spinal column. This isn’t a machine built for violence, but a machine built for war. I’ve driven fast automobiles in the past; Lamborghinis, Ferraris, a few McLarens, a few tuner cars, and even a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse; this is different.
My view on speed changed when I exited the Bugatti and my brain, at the time, rightly believed that my notion of ultimate speed was complete. That ideology shattered in the Koenigsegg.
It’s so much more violent than the Bugatti, like a fighter jet with its afterburners at full tilt. The Agera RS is a raw nerve, exposed to the world, ready to be triggered at the slightest touch; a rabid Scandinavian wolf. It’s the very distillation of what a supercar should be; mad doors, crazy speed, lightweight, and a violent temper.
After our run down the twelve miles of Highway 160’s closed test track, I exited the Koenigsegg’s dihedral synchro-helix doors grinning as if I had just pulled a bank job. Cheng saw my smile and asked, “So? What do you think?”
My answer was barely an articulation, resembling something closer to Neanderthal grunts and hoots. There’s just no parallel in the automotive world.
The Koenigsegg Agera RS is alien. It feels like the ultimate iteration of the automobile. Every sensation that cars deliver has been concentrated and refined to produce a car that has no equal and likely never will.
The experience has left me with just one question for Christian von Koenigsegg, “When can I drive one?”