No, it doesn’t use magic.
For a relatively small company, Koenigsegg employs an impressive amount of unique technology developed in-house. Its V8 engines may be based on an older Ford design, but calling them Mustang engines with turbochargers attached would be a vast understatement. Even its catalytic converters are unlike anything else used.
Koenigsegg detailed its patented catalytic converter in a recent blog post about all the tech that goes into its engine for the 1160-hp Agera RS. The company claims that its catalytic converter technology allows an increase of 300 horsepower compared with a standard unit. So how does Koenigsegg do it?
Essentially, Koenisegg uses two smaller catalytic converters–termed the pre-cat and main-cat–which allow for a freer-flowing exhaust, and thus, more boost pressure from the turbos. On start-up, Koengisegg runs exhaust gasses through a pre-cat, which routs the exhaust through a wastegate instead of the main turbocharger. This allows the turbo to heat up more quickly on its own, and prevents the turbo from cooling down the exhaust.
Once everything is up to operating temperature, a valve opens which sends the exhaust out to the main catalytic converter. So, Koenigsegg’s catalytic converter itself doesn’t increase horsepower; it just allows the turbos to run more boost safely. This system is said to offer the benefits of a catalytic converter bypass, without a significant increase in emissions.
Koenisegg’s full blog post is essential reading for engieering geeks. The work that comes out of this small Swedish shop is nothing short of incredible.