The hotly-anticipated Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar has been revealed this week in Frankfurt, bringing Formula One power to the road.
As previously speculated, the AMG Project One is essentially a road-going version of the company’s Petronas Formula One racing car, combining a rear-mounted high-revving 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 with a pair of electric motors on the front axle.
The petrol engine develops “more than” 500kW, while each electric motor pumps out 120kW, making for a system output of “over” 740kW – or more than 1000 horsepower.
Interestingly, Mercedes-AMG hasn’t quoted torque figures, nor the time it takes for the Project One to sprint from 0-100km/h. However, the company claims the hybrid hypercar can dash from 0-200km/h in less than 6.0 seconds on its way to a top speed “beyond 350km/h”. For context, the Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1 claim 0-200km/h in “under seven seconds”.
The 1.6-litre engine is capable of reaching 11,000rpm, though Mercedes-AMG says for higher longevity and due to the use of ‘Super Plus’ petrol instead of racing fuel, the Project One’s powerplant remains “significantly below” the race car’s rev limit.
Meanwhile, the dual electric motors on the front axle are capable of spinning at up to 50,000rpm, well above the current industry benchmark of 20,000rpm.
Additionally, the electrically-assisted turbocharger that is mated to the 1.6-litre engine features a 90kW electric motor on the shaft connecting the exhaust and intake sides of the petrol engine, which allows the compressor turbine to reach speeds of up to 100,000rpm.
Despite all its performance potential, the Project One’s plug-in hybrid system has an all-electric range of up to 25 kilometres – though the capacity of the lithium-ion pack is unknown.
Grunt is sent to the tarmac via a variable AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive-system with a hybrid-drive rear axle, electrically-driven front axle, and torque vectoring and an automated AMG Speedshift eight-speed manual transmission.
The shifter has been developed from scratch by the German company, and features full automatic and manual modes, and a set of the steering-mounted paddle shifters.
Both the front and rear suspension systems feature a multi-link setup with adjustable coilovers, while the electronic stability program (ESP) features three modes – including full ESP OFF for track use.
In terms of its design, the Project One combines various elements from production vehicles and motorsport, including the classic mid-engine cockpit-forward concept, along with large wheel arches, a wasp waist and extended rear overhang.
A large front apron and prominent intakes give the Project One an aggressive and imposing face, while the roofline gets a touch of F1 thanks to its roof-mounted air intake that ventilates the engine bay. The front wheel arches also feature active louvres which also contribute to the hypercar’s “perfect aerobalance”.
The rear sports a vertical spoiler lip and a large two-section diffuser, highlighted by the central exhaust pipe – which has two additional small apertures, inspired by Formula 1 cars. A two-stage extendable rear aerofoil aids aerodynamic efficiency and performance at higher speeds.
Additionally, the head- and tail-lights all feature a tri-rhomboid signature, intended to echo the AMG brand logo.
The large wheel arches house staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch rear forged alloy wheels, and a new 10-spoke design with centre lock. Each centre lock unit has a radial carbon-fibre semi-cover with a specifically-developed shape to optimise aerodynamics and airflow around the wheels.
The spoke sections in each wheel also feature three flat ventilation slots to ensure heat is released from the brakes more efficiently.
The rims are wrapped in 285/35 ZR19 front and 335/30 ZR20 rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, while stopping power is provided by a high-performance carbon ceramic compound brake system.
Inside, there’s a minimalist approach to the design and switchgear. There are two bucket seats trimmed in microfibre, Nappa leather and contrasting yellow stitching, with adjustable backrests that are integrated into the monocoque. The pedals and steering wheel are also adjustable so the driver can find the perfect driving position.
Speaking of the steering wheel, its design draws inspiration from the units used in Formula One cars, featuring flattened upper and lower sections, an integrated airbag, along with an LED shift display on the upper area of the wheel.
The door panels are finished in carbon-fibre, and there are two stowage compartments on the left and right behind the seats. Power windows and air-conditioning are also standard equipment, with Mercedes-AMG reiterating that its developers never forgot about driver requirements for everyday use and convenience.
Up front are two free-standing 10-inch high-resolution displays, one in front of the driver and one on the right of the centre console, angled towards the driver. The central unit runs the company’s familiar Comand infotainment system.
Meanwhile, instead of a conventional rear-view mirror, the Project One features a screen showing real-time imagery from a rear-mounted camera system, which the company says ensures “optimum visibility”.
The Mercedes-AMG Project One is said to combine the best of both worlds, serving the purpose of an “ultimate driving machine” – interestingly, the company uses a phrase commonly associated with arch-rival BMW – while also being somewhat of an experiment to test the capabilities of performance hybrid technologies.
Other roles include furthering the development of suspension layouts and extended onboard electronics, which the company says will one day benefit series production AMG models.
Just 275 examples of the AMG Project One will be produced, with eight units confirmed across the Australian and New Zealand markets.