Twenty years ago, Koenigsegg produced the first CC8S. Developed from the CC prototype, the CC8S paved the way for future models like the CCX, Agera, One:1, Jesko and Gemera that showcased the engineering prowess of the Swedish carmaker.

In 2022, the company is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first production CC8S with this, the limited-run CC850. Making its debut at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, the new model’s name is both a nod to the CC8S as well as the 50 units of it that will be made, the latter corresponding to company founder Christian von Koenigsegg, who recently celebrated his 50th birthday on July 2.

The CC850’s design is a homage to the original CC8S, albeit with some distinct touches for a more refined and unique look. For starters, the headlamps on the new car are slimmer and feature a modern light signature, accompanied by air intakes underneath each cluster and at the top edge of the front bumper with a prominent splitter.

Viewed from the side, we find familiar proportions to the CC8S along with considerably larger side intakes. Like the original, the CC850 is a convertible with a hardtop that can be removed manually should owners want to let in more of the elements. Those wheels measure 20 inches at the front (265/35 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres) and 21 inches (325/30 profile tyres) at the rear, in case you’re wondering.

Another design cue lifted from the CC8S are the triple taillights, although they are squarish in shape (circles on the CC8S) and modernised on the CC850. The “double bubble” rear deck that leads into the roof is another throwback, although this has been reprofiled to lead into an active rear wing inspired by the Gemera. The company’s signature synchrohelix door and Autoskin electro-hydraulic system (powered body panels) are also present here.

Despite the familiarity of the design, the CC850 doesn’t share any hardware with the original and is actually based on the Jesko. It’s a larger vehicle as a result, measuring in at 4,364 mm long, 2,024 mm wide, 1,127 mm tall and with a wheelbase of 2,700. For context, the CC8S is 4,191 mm long, 1,989 mm wide, 1,069 mm tall and its wheelbase spans 2,659 mm.

Being a new Koenigsegg, you would expect the CC850 to have some sort of engineering wizardry for enthusiasts to geek out over, and you’re right. The main attraction this time is the CC850’s Engage Shift System (ESS), which is said to be a world first.

Based on the Light Speed Transmission (LST) from the Jesko, the ESS is a nine-speed automatic with seven clutches for superfast shifts (two milliseconds). The difference here is the ESS also comes with a clutch pedal and a gated shifter, allowing the driver to operate the ESS like a conventional six-speed manual transmission – no flappy paddles here.

Intrigued? As the company explains, there’s no mechanical linkage between the manual shifter and the transmission. Instead, shifting is done entirely electronically (clutch-by-wire), with the adaptive system choosing the six forward ratios in manual mode depending on the selected drive mode.

Through software, hydraulic and force feedback systems, the ESS provides drivers with as close to an analogue feel of driving a traditional manual car, so you can stall this thing when you mess up trying to get going.

Switching between manual and automatic is done via the gated shifter, which itself has an exposed mechanical linkage inspired by Swiss chronograph watches. Going to the rightmost area of the H pattern puts you in automatic mode, with all nine gears being in play for relaxed driving, if you will. Outside that area, you’re in manual mode and you must use the clutch to shift between the six forward gears chosen by the ESS – the ratios will change in relation to road or track use.

The ESS is mated to a 5.0 litre twin-turbo flat-plane V8 that has a boost pressure of 1.5 bar when running on regular fuel to produce 1,185 PS (1,169 hp) at 7,800 rpm (redline is at 8,500 rpm). With E85 fuel, boost pressure goes up to 1.7 bar and the mill dishes out 1,385 PS (1,366 hp) and 1,385 Nm of torque from 4,800 rpm.

As the car has a kerb weight of just 1,385 kg, you’re looking at a power-to-weight ratio that is equal to the One:1 of 1 PS per 1 kg of mass. The same engine in the Jesko makes more power – up to 1,625 PS (1,603 hp) and 1,500 Nm on E85 – but is “toned down” in the CC850 to better pair with the ESS.

Other aspects of the CC850 include double wishbone suspension front and rear paired with electronically adjustable gas-hydraulic dampers with adjustable ride height, Triplex dampers in the rear as well as carbon-ceramic brake discs (410 mm front with six-piston calipers, 395 mm rear with four-piston calipers).

Moving inside, the CC850 is miles apart from the CC8S, although it does bring back a circular steering wheel. Everything else is entirely new, including the raised centre console that houses the gear shifter, a touchscreen infotainment system and analogue chrono instrument cluster. Creature comforts include adjustable pedals and steering column, leather or Alcantara upholstery, Apple CarPlay, climate control and an around-view monitor.

Koenigsegg has yet to reveal pricing, but with only 50 units available and the fancy ESS, the CC850 is most certainly for the most affluent of customers. “The CC850 was not created to break Jesko’s track records or set new high-water marks for top speed, but to offer the highest level of driver satisfaction and enjoyment with the exhilarating performance for which Koenigsegg is renowned,” the company said at the end of its release.