Mercedes-AMG Project One Bursts Onto Stage With 1,000 HP
Over 217 mph thanks to four electric motors and an F1-derived V6 engine.
It’s finally here. Ahead of the start of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dieter Zetsche, revealed the new Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar, and it’s just as impressive as expected. The stats you care about: Zero to 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph) in under six seconds. A top speed above 217 mph (350 km/h). More than 1,000 horsepower. And, to top it off, up to 16 miles (25 kilometers) of all-electric driving range.
“This vehicle will make all previous performance limits at AMG and Mercedes look small,” Zetsche said, adding that it will be “the most efficient” hypercar of its kind.
Although we had, of course, seen its basic shape in various teaser photos, and learned much already about its powertrain, this is our first official look at the Project One from top to bottom. It’s a stunning, aerodynamic shaped design that hugs the road. The entire body is a carbon-fiber monocoque, Note front fenders that rise above the wheels, a dramatically sculpted tail with ultra-wide taillights, and a roof scoop to feed the rear-mounted 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine – yes, which is derived from Mercedes’ F1 engines and can rev to 11,000 rpm. To achieve such lofty speeds without valve float, there are pneumatic valve controls rather than traditional valve springs. It’s fed by an electric turbocharger and, Mercedes says, has more than 40 percent thermal efficiency, an impressive figure. Another electric motor is linked to the engine for additional hybrid boost. Total output to the rear wheels is “over” 671 hp (500 kw).
The engine is supplemented by two more electric motors, one for each front wheel; they are rated for 120 kilowatts (161 hp) each and can spin up to 50,000 rpm. Power is stored in lithium-ion batteries, and Zetsche says that up to 80 percent of braking energy can be recuperated from the front wheels to the batteries. The batteries alone weigh about 220 pounds (100 kg), and in fact, there are four times more cells than in the Mercedes F1 W06 Hybrid racing car. The electrical system also runs at 800 volts, which Mercedes says is double the usual voltage of its plug-in cars.
Production volumes, as expected for an extreme hypercar like the Project One, will be extremely limited: just 275 copies at €2.275 million (that’s about $2.27 million) apiece. In fact, we’ve even heard the car is already sold out.
“This means that we will have to make some car lovers sad, whereas some, few, will burst with happiness I believe,” Zetsche said.
As to the chassis, motorsports-style inboard, pushrod suspension coilovers suspend the wheels, and the 8-speed automated-manual transaxle is a stressed member to which the rear suspension is attached. The front wheels are 19 inches in diameter and 10 inches wide, while the rears are 20×12 inches; both wear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Carbon-ceramic brakes are standard. The transmission is brand-new for the Project One and can either be used in automatic mode or via paddle shifters.
Inside, the function-first cabin features a Formula 1-inspired steering wheel, a large color display that serves as the instrument cluster, and a secondary display perched atop the center stack. There’s no much else inside the cabin: The two seats are relatively spartan, though Mercedes notes that the car’s pedals and steering wheel are adjustable for different drivers to fit comfortably.
The Mercedes-AMG Project One is, then, everything we expected: A high-tech push at the limits of road-car technology that quite literally brings F1 performance to the streets.
Below: Mercedes-AMG Project One Gallery