Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes‑AMG GmbH, told CarAdvice this week that customers kept asking, ‘when is AMG doing a hypercar, a super sports car’? We now have that answer. The car is the Project One, and the time is now.
Well, in two years, realistically.
Project One is, however, a window into the future and a reinforcement – according to Moers – that F1 technology is once again relevant to road cars.
“Electrification in the performance segment is the key to the future,” Moers said. “Electrification is more sophisticated than simply another V8 or V10 or V12 engine.”
Production starts in early 2019, but Moers won’t say exactly when, and he doesn’t know when Australian cars will arrive.
“Our aim is to build one car a day, and production will run into 2020,” he said. Genuine orders for the limited run – just 275 will be built – was staggering, with Moers explaining AMG could have built many more.
“I don’t know exactly. For now, though, we are four times overbooked for that number. But, for now, that’s it. I’m not convinced we should do a track-only or a Spider, and we have to be loyal with our customers – we told them it is 275, and that’s it.”
Interestingly, AMG hasn’t quoted a 0-100km/h time for the Project One, leading some cynics to question whether it isn’t actually that fast in the traditional measurement – due, perhaps, to gearing aimed at high speeds.
“Zero to 100km/h is 2.6, 2.4 – I don’t know as of today,” Moers said. “But the 0-100km/h time, regarding AWD, electrified cars, they are so bloody fast, and zero-to-200 is really under six seconds.
“Zero-to-100 in future is redundant – with the instant torque of an electric motor, with the right ratio, it’s getting so low the times are all so similar.”
“The one and only number we released yesterday was the 0-200km/h number,” Moers said with a grin. With production some way off, it’s fair to say there’s still some detail work to be finalised with the final production version, even though the show car is a running, driving vehicle.
For example, some of the active aero doesn’t work on the show car that we saw in Frankfurt.
The Project One will definitely head to the Nurburgring at some point, though, to see just how fast it is around the famed Green Hell. “Yes, we will go there,” Moers said when asked.
Mercedes-AMG was adamant from the outset that a sophisticated and advanced driveline required an equally sophisticated and advanced body over the top of it. As such, active aerodynamics, and proper downforce at high speed were non-negotiable for the project from the outset.
“This car is the proof point that F1 technology is ready for the road,” Moers said. “There are things under the skin, and we have aero we can deploy or not deploy as needed.”
He went on to explain that active aero, along with electrification, is the key to the future. “There is still a way to go to full electric performance sports vehicles I think,” Moers said.
“So hybridisation, electrification is going to be the key in performance. Knowing that we have the most efficient combustion engine with the V6, in terms of power, knowing that we have a very successful F1 powertrain setup, it’s a great idea to have a hypercar driven by that powertrain.”
“It’s the most challenging thing we’ve ever done,” Moers said. “We even had to build a new dyno. The most sophisticated four-wheel dyno you can get.”