How Koenigsegg squeezes 600 hp out of a 2.0-liter engine

Modern engines are more technically complex than ever, but that also means they are more power-dense than ever. The 154-pound, 2.0-liter three-cylinder engine from the Koenigsegg Gemera packs a whopping 600 horsepower. Engineering Explained took a look at the tech that makes it all possible in his famous whiteboard style, and the result is something even this automotive Luddite can understand.

There is no one trick that allows this engine to produce more power per liter than any other engine to date. No, instead it is an accumulation of many changes that allow it to operate so efficiently. The two biggest factors in this engine’s power output are its “Freevalve” technology and a novel twin turbocharger setup that combine to allow for efficient operation even at high engine speeds.

The first item to discuss is the Freevalve system, which allows the engine to function without a camshaft. Instead, the valves are pneumatically opened and closed by a traditional valve spring. This allows the engine control module to adjust valve lift, duration, and timing on the fly based on multiple parameters of the engine’s condition. This Freevalve tech also controls the two turbochargers.

That is key because, at first thought, twin turbos on an odd number of cylinders doesn’t seem to make much sense. Each of the Gemera’s cylinders has a four-valve arrangement, with two intake and two exhaust valves. The turbos are set up in such a manner that one exhaust port on each cylinder feeds one turbo, and the second exhaust port feeds the second turbo. The Freevalve system can keep half the exhaust valves closed, spooling the first turbo quickly; then, if load dictates the need for full boost, all exhaust valves are brought online and both turbos are spooled.

The last piece of this high-horsepower puzzle is the hybrid system. The help of electric motors in the system allows an engine to function in a smaller operating window. The electric motors can take up the low-speed low-power situations that a highly-strung engine would typically struggle with.

Is it all too much? Possibly. However, cutting edge tech like this can, further down the line, fuel the development of the hardworking engines most of us drive day to day. A commuter car of the future could utilize one or more of these technological advancements. Is that alarming or exciting to imagine? Tell us in the comments below.

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