The Motor Muse rarely ever covers new car launches, not out of inattentiveness but out of sheer apathy. Ever since perfecting the wonders of platform sharing and streamlining product lines, the automotive industry has been a cavalcade of cookie-cutter creations with barely enough authenticity to fill a marketing tagline.
Take any modern contemporary car. Raise the suspension, put bigger wheels and a wagon body and you have an SUV offshoot. Stretch its wheelbase and the same car, and its SUV spawn, move into a different price category even with largely the same mechanicals, just with a more aspirational sales pitch. Rinse and repeat across the board.
The business has since become catastrophically boring, and annoyingly this money “optimising” product cloning strategy seems to be creeping over into the world of supercars. Take McLaren for example, makers of the brilliant F1 and the charismatic, if flawed Mercedes-McLaren SLR. The company has since adopted the strategy of using broadly the same engine attached to broadly similar chassis across its entire range.
Sure, Woking touts out the same “maintaining family DNA” or “corporate identity” and whatnot as its reasoning, but nobody can deny that its strategy has reached its logical conclusion with a half-hearted grand tourer that looks like a 720S with down syndrome. It is nowhere near as ingenious as the F1 or even the SLR, but the expected product of too much incest if we ever saw one.
Looking at it, there really hasn’t been a car that had tried to break the mould as much as the McLaren F1. Sure, The Motor Muse has previously questioned the capability of every petrolhead’s favourite moustache in putting a car into production on his own, but his genius is undeniable.
Ever since the F1, no one has tried to do the central-seating position mashed with a V12 and helicopter-style luggage compartments in an incredibly small package since.
Every car follows the same formula that has been laid out by its predecessor with varying degrees of body sizes and engine sizes. That is until Koenigsegg came along and unveiled its first four-door creation at the deserted stands of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, the Gemera.
Koenigsegg is one of the last car companies in the world that is helmed by a true traditional automotive auteur with the engineering genius and business acumen to bring his vision to life. With a repertoire of humbling Bugatti’s billion-euro speed record attempts, Christian von Koenigsegg is no stranger to the world of stratospherically priced high-performance cars and the Gemera has the numbers to humiliate just about anything with a combustion engine, this side of a rocket-propelled shopping trolley.
With an all-wheel-drive, triple-electric motor setup paired to a three-cylinder engine, the Gemera boasts a total power output of 1270kW and 3500Nm of torque, which results in the 1850kg grand tourer that is able to sprint from a standstill to 100km/h in 1.9 seconds. Eat that Tesla.
All these incredible numbers almost sound like the ramblings of a coked-up John Z DeLorean to excite the carbon-monoxide poisoned brains of drag enthusiasts, but this is Christian after all, a man with so much ingenuity that none of his headroom was wasted on hair.
He is the brains behind Koenigsegg’s signature “Synchrohelix Actuation Doors”, designed the transmission-less Regera hybrid, and responsible for the Jesko’s brilliant gearbox, so he knows a thing or two about maths. And the engineering that went into the Gemera is enough to give anybody who can process mental arithmetic a stiffy.
Let’s start with its layout. It is a proper four-seater with an engine in the middle. In itself, that layout is nothing new, but you don’t hear many examples of it because previous attempts like the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 and the original Lotus Evora was a veritable feces sandwich. It just didn’t work on a practical and logical level, but the Gemera subverts expectations with a habitable four-seater cabin and a longitudinally-mounted engine behind it with a generous amount of accessible and usable luggage space behind that. How did they do it? What is in the waters around Angelholm?
The engine itself is a staggering engineering marvel, a small 2-litre three-cylinder two-turbo unit nicknamed “Tiny Friendly Giant” that features Koenigsegg’s proprietary Freevalve camless design, which enables it to produce a supercar-like 447kW and 600Nm, and fitted with top-exit exhausts to maintain the aerodynamic qualities of its underbody.
Furthermore, unlike any standard supercar, power from the engine is not sent to the back wheels but forward to the front wheels via a prop shaft that is coupled with a single 300kW electric motor and Regera’s proprietary single-gear direct-drive transmission. That being said, sending the power forward would be the more prudent move, as the Gemera is no bum-dragger either with its rear wheels being paired with a 373kW electric motor each.
Put together, the Gemera is able to reach 300km/h in all-electric mode, hit the 400km/h mark with the Tiny Friendly Giant’s aid, and travel up to 50km on the juice of its 800V battery alone.
Koenigsegg plans to produce just 300 examples of the Gemera with prices expected to be quoted in the millions. But the Gemera is probably the most fascinating car since the F1, a mould-breaker that followed no rules, and considering how the rest of the industry is degenerating into predictable standardisation and spreadsheet designs, this might very well be the last revolution of its kind.