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Mercedes-AMG Project One revealed: the ultimate hypercar?

Published: 11 September 2017

► AMG’s hypercar revealed in show car form
► 
An 1086bhp F1-powered present for AMG’s 50th
► Concept version at 2017 Frankfurt motor show 

If your brand’s cars are dominating the world’s Formula 1 circuits, it makes sense to celebrate. Timed to coincide with AMG’s 50th anniversary, this one hell of a celebration from Mercedes.

This is the Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar, having its world premiere at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show in show car form. It’s perhaps as close as a modern road car can get to the mythical ‘Formula 1 car for the road’ maxim, as it features a 1086bhp hybrid powertrain closely related to the one you’ll find in Lewis Hamilton’s Grand Prix challenger.

It’s important to note that this is a concept car, rather than the final production model – first cars will be delivered in early 2019.

How fast is the AMG Project One?

Top speed is quoted at ‘beyond 350kph (217mph).’

Use the Race Start function and Mercedes claims 0-124mph in ‘under six seconds.’

Does this car really have an F1 hybrid powertrain, or is that just marketing talk?

Something very close to one, at least. The engine bit of the equation is a 1.6-litre single-turbo V6, closely related to that found in Lewis’s F1 car and engineered by Mercedes’ F1 powertrain plant in Brixworth. It revs to no less than 11,000rpm - lower than the F1 engine, due to lower-octane pump fuel, but still Pretty Good Going for a road car engine. It generates 603bhp (from a 1.6!).

Unlike an F1 car, the hypercar is all-wheel drive, with torque vectoring helping to translate all that power in a direction of the driver’s choosing.

In addition to the V6, there are four electric motors. Two drive the front wheels, then there’s a further 120kW one attached to the V6 engine’s crank, and an 80kW one is fitted within the turbocharger itself. This last one, designed to cheat turbo lag and called MGU-H (motor generator unit - heat) in F1 terminology, can rev as high as 100,000rpm.

AMG Project One at Frankfurt 2017

The front wheel motors help with torque vectoring to trim the car’s line and sharpen turn-in response. Each has its own single-speed gearbox.  Engineering the electronics to control each of these motors is no small feat…

The powertrain needs five different cooling circuits, for engine, transmission, batteries, electric motors and charge air.

Gearbox?

A hydraulically actuated eight-speed automated manual paddleshift, by motorsport specialists Xtrac.

Is this a proper hybrid with an EV mode?

Fully charged, expect a pure electric range of approximately 15 miles. It can set off with the front motors doing the bulk of the driving, and the electric motor on the crankshaft supporting for bursts of acceleration. Use a bit more throttle and the V6 will fire up automatically.

KERS-style energy recovery features on the front wheel motors, too .When coasting off-throttle, the system switches back to electric drive on the front axle to recuperate energy, fed back into the batteries.

AMG Project One at Frankfurt 2017

How powerful is the AMG hypercar? And how long will it last between service intervals?

Add the motors’ combined efforts to the V6’s 603bhp and you’re looking at 1086bhp total – with an extra 48bhp in overboost mode making for 1134bhp altogether.

Given that the car won’t weigh much more than 1200kg (420kg of that being the four battery packs and the electric motors) it’ll be Quite Quick – 0-62mph should be done and dusted in less than 3sec.

You’re looking at around 30,000 miles before the engine needs maintenance – a figure that’s easier to swallow when you consider that an F1 engine is designed to be rebuilt every four to five races.

AMG Project One hypercar

Technical details

Structure
A steel platform supports the carbonfibre monocoque chassis,with transverse pushrod-operated suspension. The rear suspension bolts straight to the transmission, F1-style, while the front suspension is attached to a small subframe.

Wheels
Ten-spoke magnesium wheels with drag-reducing ‘aero blades’, wearing Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres specifically designed for the car. They measure 285/35 R19 at the front, and 335/30 R20 at the rear. 

All four wheels steer, by the way…

Interior
The seats are fixed, the pedals aren’t. The steering column is adjustable, as are the seat backrests – they’re not fixed buckets, or not as standard, at least. There’s a reversing camera on the roof, displayed in the rear-view mirror.

It’s understood that the package was extended three times – not least because Mercedes top brass Dieter Zetsche and Ola Kallenius are tall, and the legroom, headroom and visibility had to be signed off by the board.

AMG Project One hypercar

There are two LED monitors, one in the centre stack and one in front of the driver.

Storage space is mostly limited to door pockets and recesses behind the seats.

Safety
As many as 12 pre-production prototypes will be crash-tested in the EU and US.

The hypercar will feature at least four airbags, maybe more, and the monocoque is very strong.

Rivals?

The Project One is a more track-focused kinda car than the Bugatti Chiron. In a more similar vein, Aston Martin’s Valkyrie and McLaren’s BP23 will be on the scene by 2019 too.

Click here for all the new cars from the 2017 Frankfurt motor show

Mercedes-AMG Project One specs:

Rear-wheel drive

1.6-litre V6 with direct injection, four valves per cylinder, four overhead camshafts and electrically boosted single turbocharger, electric motor connected to the crankshaft

Displacement

1,600 cc

Rear-wheel drive output

> 500 kW

Front-wheel drive output

2 x 120 kW

System output

> 740 kW (> 1,000 hp)

Electric range

25 km

Drive system

Variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive with hybrid-drive rear axle, electrically driven front axle and torque vectoring

Transmission

Automated AMG SPEEDSHIFT 8-speed manual transmission

Acceleration 0-200 km/h

< 6 secs.

Top speed

> 350 km/h

AMG Project One hypercar

By James Taylor

CAR's online editor, automotive design graduate, Radical champ

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