At 258 M.P.H., Swedish Dream Car Hits the U.S.

The folks who invited me, however, were looking to show off the CCX's handling, which meant the road course: a collection of hairpin turns that reverses direction on itself no fewer than four times in its short 1.8-mile span. This ride was going to be even wilder than I expected.

Professional driver Justin Bell apparently agreed. After introducing himself to me, he laid out what was in store.

Zero to 60 in 3.1 Seconds … Then It Gets Scary

"I'm going to take you around the track for a lap, to show you what the car can do," Bell said, smiling. "Then you'll take me around the track a few times, which is the part I really hate."

He'd already been doing this for two days when I arrived, and apparently a few of the amateur drivers had overestimated their ability to control this monster. I assured him he didn't have to worry about that with me.

Before stepping inside the car's cockpit, I took a long walk around it, admiring it in the way I'd take in a Picasso in a museum. Seeing it up close, it was easy to understand why some people wait in line at car shows or car museums simply to view exotic autos. But I was here to do more than admire Koenigsegg's artwork.

As I tried to get into the passenger side, it took me a few minutes to find the button that opens the door. Once I found it and pressed it, however, the door rotated out and upwards simultaneously in a graceful arc, finally coming to rest at a 90-degree angle to the body. Stepping into the low machine was a bit awkward, but once inside I was amazed by the amount of room it offers.

I didn't have long to admire the interior, however. Bell quickly began the ride, apparently anxious to prove that he could easily reach 60 miles per hour in the 3.1 seconds I'd read about.

Then, before I could see it coming, we hit our first turn, which I now know was a little over 90 degrees to the right. At the time, all I knew was that I was just a few inches above the ground, hugging a tight corner at breakneck speeds in the most incredible machine I was ever likely to encounter first-hand.

The 'Hard Left, Hard Right' of Automotive Politics

The rest of the ride is just a blur.

Bell opened it up on every straightaway to a deafening roar, and then went into the curves with a whining whistle of quick deceleration. This low to the ground, on a track where turns are marked only by slightly inclined painted corners on the borders of the course, I don't think I saw a single turn approaching until we were less than a second away -- making it far more exciting than any predictable old roller coaster.

It wasn't until the lap was over, and it was my turn to pilot the CCX, that I realized just how serious this undertaking would be, and made my professional passenger assure me he'd give me a heads-up on approaching turns.

The first bit of acceleration, running the car from first through third gears, was unbelievable.

But when the first turn snuck up on me just as I was trying to take it into fourth, I felt the day's first sense of true panic, and slowed everything down for a couple of turns.

Then came the straightaway, where I once again decided to push this thing to the limit -- until I saw another turn approaching, with no idea whether it was a hard left or a hard right.

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