Chasing speed records is falling out of vogue. Bugatti announced it would stop trying to go faster after it broke the 300-mph barrier, and Koenigsegg presented the Jesko Absolut as the fastest series-produced car it will ever make. While it hasn’t pushed the model to its limits, simulation testing suggests it’s capable of claiming the crown.
“If you run the numbers, you take the frontal area, the [drag coefficient], the power, the gear ratio, the power curve … the simulations say [330 mph] or something like that,” company founder Christian von Koenigsegg told Road & Track. “It’s of course a theoretical number, but it’s what simulation tells us.”
Introduced online, not at the 2020 Geneva auto show as planned, the Absolut is an evolution of the Jesko with aerodynamic add-ons that lower its drag coefficient to 0.27 and a redesigned suspension. Its twin-turbocharged, 5.0-liter V8 engine makes 1,603 horsepower and 1,106 pound-feet of torque when burning E85 biofuel.
Cruising at over 300 mph is easier said than done, and Koenigsegg hasn’t figured out where to test the Jesko Absolut. Still speaking to Road & Track, the company said it can’t shut down part of a Nevada highway like it did in 2017 because the road isn’t smooth enough, and it can’t use the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds in Florida because the three-mile runway isn’t long enough. “The problem is when you start reaching your top speed, and you want to get your last five or 10 mph, they come very slowly while the car is flying forward and just consuming miles so quickly,” explained von Koenigsegg. He added the Jesko could reach 85% of its potential on the runway.
Bugatti’s purpose-built Chiron reached 304 mph on the Ehra-Lessien track owned by parent company Volkswagen, and it was still accelerating when test pilot Andy Palmer lifted his foot off the gas pedal, but the odds of Koenigsegg receiving access to the private facility are low. Executives wouldn’t willingly open the door to a competitor. The search for a suitable track (or stretch of road) continues, and Koenigsegg hopes to attempt dethroning its French rival within a year. But regardless of if it snags the top speed crown, and if the Jesko goes as fast as simulations suggest it will, Koenigsegg will exit the race to focus on other projects.