Published on September 14th, 2017 | by Seán Ward0
The Mercedes AMG Project One, The Ultimate AMG
We’ve been waiting to get a look at Mercedes’ ultimate AMG for quite some time, but thankfully the wait is finally over. Meet the Mercedes AMG Project One, a car with 1,000bhp from more or less the same engine you’ll find in the back of a Mercedes Formula 1 car.
Yes, you read that right: the Project One has an actual F1 engine in it. Let’s break this down.
The powertrain features a single-turbo, 1.6 litre V6 engine and four electric motors, one integrated into the turbocharger, the second working in conjunction with the engine to power the rear wheels, and the third and fourth driving the front wheels. Mercedes promises the engine “can easily reach speeds of 11,000rpm”. Sounds tasty.
Turbo-lag has supposedly been totally eliminated, with the throttle response said to be “even shorter than that of a naturally aspirated V8 engine” simply because there’s an electric motor inside the turbocharger, with excess electricity either stored in a high-voltage lithium-ion battery or used to drive one of the other electric motors.
The two electric motors at the front wheels, Mercedes estimates, will be able to recuperate up to 80% of the car’s everyday braking energy, and because the two motors are independent of each other they’ll be able to accelerate and brake each wheel independently, too.
Oh, and you’ll be able to drive for 25 kilometers on electric power only. So you’re super-rare Mercedes supercar will, for a short time at least, become a FWD electric car… This is the only time when a car this extreme could be considered to be on a similar wavelength to a Toyota Prius.
“The battery cells, their arrangement and the cell cooling system” are identical to those of the F1 car, but there are more of them to actually make the car practical. What’s amazing is that this is a plug-in hybrid system, so you can charge the batteries before you go to bed to make sure you have full power for your track day the next morning.
What else do you need to know? Well quite a lot, really. The Project One uses an entirely new eight-speed automated-manual gearbox, is made almost entirely out of carbon fibre, has multi-link pushrod suspension all-round with adjustable coil-overs, sits on 10-spoke forged centre-lock wheels with carbon fibre brake covers that surround carbon-ceramic brakes, uses 285/35 ZR 19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres up front and 335/30 ZR 20 tyres at the back, and will do more than 350kph (218mph) and 0-200-0kph (0-124-0mph) in less than six seconds.
The way it looks has left some divided. The Aston Martin Valkyrie, for example, looks much more extreme, but as Daimler’s Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener puts it, the Project One “is the hottest and coolest car we have ever designed”. Fair enough, Gorden.
Every element you see on the body has been designed with purpose, much in the same way the F1 car is built to be totally minimal and functional. If you ever forget for a moment that this is a road car, look to the rear right and rear left corners of the body. To the right you’ll find the fuel filler cap, to the left you’ll find the plug-in hybrid socket. Imagine seeing one of these pull up alongside you in the petrol station? Because it could well happen in just a few years time.
Inside, Mercedes describes it as “Formula 1 for two”, as the seats are integrated into the carbon monocoque, and the steering wheel and pedals adjust to meet the driver. The wheel itself is similar to the one you’ll find in the F1 car but not identical, as not only can it adjust the suspension, for example, but it has an air bag – this is a road car, remember.
The closest you’ll find to a creature comfort in the Project One’s cabin are two 10-inch displays and a ‘ventilation system’. One of the screens is placed just behind the steering wheel and the other on the centre console tilted towards the driver.
Just 275 will be built, which is actually way more than we were expecting, and all of them will cost at least €2 million. Time to save the pennies.