It cranks out 600 horsepower and works on a variety of fuels

Following years of rumors that it will build a sedan, Koenigsegg unveiled its first four-seater at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. Called the Gemera, it’s a classic grand tourer inside the cabin, but it retains the mid-engined, two-door layout of Koenigsegg’s mainstream supercars.

But while this is an important breakthrough for the brand, the big news here is that the Gemera is powered by a hybrid drivetrain that includes an insanely powerful three-cylinder engine. Yes, that’s not a typo. Koenigsegg built a three-cylinder and it cranks out an amazing 600 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque.

It’s the world’s most powerful three-cylinder engine

Is Koenigsegg's 600HP Three-Cylinder Engine The Key To The Survival of the Internal Combustion Engine? Drivetrain
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Koenigsegg takes things to a different level, one we never though possible to be honest

Although three-cylinder engines were introduced several decades ago, they’ve been used in performance cars only recently. The concept is far from new, as many automakers already have them on the market in already iconic vehicles. The list includes the Ford Fiesta ST, the BMW i8, and the Toyota GR Yaris. But although these cars are plenty powerful given the displacement of their engines, none comes close to what Koenigsegg built for the Gemera. The 1.5-liter EcoBoost in the Fiesta ST comes in at 197 horsepower and 214 pound-feet, while BMW’s 1.5-liter three-pot cranks out 228 horses and 236 pound-feet.

Is Koenigsegg's 600HP Three-Cylinder Engine The Key To The Survival of the Internal Combustion Engine? Exterior
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The Toyota GR Yaris takes things up a notch with a 1.6-liter three-cylinder rated at 268 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. The Japanese hatchback was unveiled at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show and became the most powerful three-cylinder car in production. But Koenigsegg takes things to a different level, one we never thought possible to be honest.

At 600 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, the 2.0-liter three-cylinder goes against much larger engines, including V-8s developed by Ferrari and McLaren. It’s even powerful enough for Lamborghini’s V-10. It’s so powerful that we need to reconsider the engineering and technical possibilities we might have for the future.

Sure, the three-pot in the Gemera doesn’t work alone most of the time. It’s backed by three electric motors that take total output up to an insane 1,700 horsepower and more than 2,500 pound-feet of torque. But the Gemera can be driven on three-cylinder power alone, so it’s a reliable option until proven otherwise.

Koenigsegg’s three-cylinder could be a major breakthrough

Is Koenigsegg's 600HP Three-Cylinder Engine The Key To The Survival of the Internal Combustion Engine? Exterior
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The Swedish company has yet to reveal detailed info about the three-cylinder engine and the technology behind it, but its output figures are enough to call it revolutionary. What’s more, it’s not just a standard gasoline engine.

This unit can feed on a variety of fuels, including second-generation ethanol, CO2-neutral methanol (like Vulcanol), and E85. When driven on methanol, it becomes at least as CO2-neutral as an electric car, so it’s a big step up compared to other internal combustion engines. If things go right, Koenigsegg might have the key to build ICE engines that are much cleaner and efficient and solve some of the big issues the auto market is struggling with right now.

No wonder Koenigsegg calls it the Tiny Friendly Giant.

2021 Koenigsegg Gemera specifications
Engine Koenigsegg Tiny Friendly Giant Twin Turbo Freevalve 3-cylinder Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) with dry sump lubrication
Compression 9.5:1 - Bore: 95 mm - stroke: 93.5 mm
Horsepower 440 kW (600 bhp) at 7500 rpm, red line at 8500 rpm
Torque 600 Nm from 2000 rpm to 7000 rpm
Engine weight 70 kg
E-Motors Three Electric Motors: One for each rear wheel with 500 bhp and 1000 Nm each and one E-motor on the crankshaft 400 bhp and 500 Nm to power the front wheels (together with the ICE)
Total output 1700 bhp
Total Torque 3500 Nm, including Hydracoup
Max wheel torque 11,000 Nm at ICE 4000 rpm
ICE only range up to 950 km
Electric range up to 50 km
Total range up to 1000 km
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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