Mercedes-AMG Project ONE hypercar with 986bhp
It’s a car manufacturer’s dream to have Formula One technology on the road. But Mercedes has taken the concept to new heights at the Frankfurt Motor Show with the unveiling of the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE.
This revolutionary hypercar is powered in part by a contemporary F1 powertrain. It uses the same 1.6-litre turbocharged hybrid V6 that is built in the UK and has powered the German team’s F1 cars since 2014, and although the car on show in Frankfurt is dubbed a concept, Mercedes says it gives a ‘close indication’ of what to expect from the upcoming production model coming in 2019. If you want to buy a Mercedes-AMG Project ONE, you’ll need around £2.4million.
Mercedes-AMG Project ONE Video:
Mercedes claims a power output of over 986bhp, while the unit revs to 11,000rpm. This is down from the F1 car’s 15,000rpm limit, but that means the Project ONE will be able to cover more than a quarter of an F1 season before it needs servicing. In terms of outright performance, a top speed in excess of 217mph is promised, and while there’s no 0-62mph time, Mercedes claims that the Project ONE can dash to twice the speed (124mph) in less than six seconds.
The Project ONE is a plug-in hybrid and the drivetrain uses the turbocharged V6 hybrid engine and four electric motors. One of the electric motors forms part of an electronic turbocharger in a bid to reduce turbo lag, while the other is linked to the crankcase to supplant the 1.6-litre engine’s output with an additional 161bhp, feeding off excess energy from the turbo system.
Two more 161bhp motors drive the front wheels to turn the Project ONE into a four-wheel-drive hybrid hypercar. With these axle motors, Mercedes says that up to 80 per cent of the braking energy dispelled during normal driving can be recuperated into the battery pack, while independent acceleration and braking mean that they can act as a torque vectoring system. The rear wheels are fed power via a brand-new eight-speed gearbox, which can be operated via shift paddles on the steering wheel.
The lithium-ion battery packs, how they are arranged and the system used to cool them are the same as that found in the Mercedes F1 car, but the Project ONE boasts far more cells to unlock an all-electric driving mode – the firm claims you’ll be able to drive around 15.5 miles on battery power alone. The charging voltage is rated at 800 volts (the most powerful charging currently available on a production EV is Tesla’s 400-volt Supercharger network), which Mercedes says the charing system allows space saving by reducing cable diameters. The battery system lies on the floor behind the front axle.
As well as being able to operate as a pure EV, the driving modes range include a ‘highly dynamic’ mode, which Mercedes says uses similar settings used by the Formula 1 car during qualifying laps. In some driving modes, the car can automatically switch from electric power to coaxing the turbocharged 1.6-litre engine into action, while lifting off the throttle to coast switches the car back to electric drive.
In terms of design, the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE avoids contemporary Mercedes styling cues in its racing car-inspired shape. Huge vents on the front apron and beneath the windscreen dominate the car’s front end, while a pair of flat LED headlights are sunk into the bonnet. Naked carbon aerodynamic flaps are pinned to the car’s sculpted sides, while an air intake perched on the roof is hard to miss.
Around the back, an F1-style shark fin sits above the engine compartment and divides the rear end, while a huge rear diffuser and retractable rear spoiler are also present to provide plenty of downforce. Active aero is found at the front too, with an extending front splitter and movable flaps positioned over the front wheels. The body itself is a carbon-fibre monocoque, but Mercedes has not revealed how much the Project ONE concept weighs.
Under the skin, the car makes use of adjustable coil-over suspension with push-rod spring struts, carbon ceramic brakes, and the traction control system is three-way adjustable – at start-up the system is switched on completely, but a ‘Sport Handling Mode’ raises the threshold before computer assistance steps it. The traction control system can be switched off entirely, too.
Mercedes describes the cabin as ‘Formula 1 for two’. Deep bucket seats with adjustable backrests are present, while the square steering wheel is noticeably F1 inspired. The skinny, uncluttered carbon-fibre dashboard is home to two 10-inch displays – one placed behind the steering wheel, and the other sprouting from the centre console and angled towards the driver. A third screen acts as a rear-view mirror and is linked to a camera at the back of the car.
Going into production two years from now, we’ll still have to wait a while until we get to see the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE that will actually grace the roads, and while it’s intended as an eye-catching performance flagship, Mercedes says that findings from the project will drip down into future hybrid AMG models.