The Koenigsegg CC850 Somehow Has a 6-Speed Manual That’s a 9-Speed Auto

It’s a gated manual? But also an automatic? Yeah, apparently.

byJames Gilboy|
Koenigsegg CC850 shifter

Koenigsegg's reinterpretation of its original road car in the CC850 highlights just how far the groundbreaking supercar maker has come in the last 20 years. Possibly the most interesting piece of engineering in this boundlessly clever car, though, is its transmission: it's both a quick-shifting performance automatic and an old-school, three-pedal manual. That's something no other car has ever offered and going by how Christian von Koenigsegg talks about it, it's a piece of tech other carmakers may want to look into.

The Koenigsegg Engage Shift System (KESS) as Koenigsegg calls it is a development of the company's multi-clutch automatic, the Light Speed Transmission (LST). In auto mode, it's a 9-speed, with shifts as quick as almost anything on sale today. But it's somehow also a gated H-pattern 6-speed, one whose individual gear ratios depend on what drive mode the CC850 is in.

One imagines that's made possible by adjusting how the shift gates actuate the transmission, though Koenigsegg didn't specify how exactly it works. What Koenigsegg did say—specifically Christian von himself—is that the clutch pedal and shifter provide real, tactile feedback from the transmission. Having stated the pedal is linked to the transmission hydraulics, it stands to reason the shifter is also physically connected to some degree. (There's gotta be something electronic involved to switch between the sets of gear ratios, though.)

With up to 1,385 horsepower on E85, Koenigsegg says the CC850 is the fastest and most powerful manual production car in the world. "Production car" is still a pretty loosely defined term though, and given there'll only be 50 of these quaint Koenigseggs, there's definitely room for someone to contest that. Production or not, though, is semantics to the rest of us: the simple fact that a car with a transmission this strange exists is enough for most of us. Even if most (really, all) of us won't get to experience the CC850 ourselves, most of us are probably still glad a car as unusual as the CC850 is out there somewhere.

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