Mercedes-Benz has been reaching beyond its performance luxury bracket the past few years, but none of the brand’s models have made as big a statement as the Mercedes-AMG Project One.
At the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes-AMG revealed its most ambitious production vehicle ever. The term “race car for the road,” is tossed about haphazardly, but the Project One has far more in common with a Formula One car than a Toyota Camry. In fact, the limited-production supercar pulls its powertrain – a 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 – directly from Mercedes’ championship-winning F1 cars.
Wedged behind the driver, the turbo V6 revs to a production-car-first 11,000 rpm (which rivals most sport bikes). Assisting the gas-powered engine is a quartet of electric motors: one at each front wheel, one mated to the V6, and one dedicated to spooling the turbocharger. The resulting output is a whopping 1,000 horsepower and a top speed in excess of 217 mph.
“Our highly efficient hybrid assembly stems from motor racing and the electrically powered front axle generates a fascinating mixture of performance and efficiency,” says Ola Källenius, Member of the Daimler AG Board of Management. “It takes your breath away.”
The efficiency portion comes down to kinetic energy recovery (from braking and turbo-fed exhaust gases) and the benefits of a plug-in hybrid charging system. The supercar can even drive in all-electric mode via the two motors at the car’s front.
Transferring power to the rear wheels is an “automated eight-speed manual,” which can operate in automatic mode or be shifted via steering wheel-mounted paddles. Like an F1 car, the engine and transmission are load-bearing parts of the chassis to improve rigidity. Other performance highlights include pushrod suspension, center-lock aluminum wheels with carbon-fiber aerodynamic covers, and carbon-ceramic brakes.
The Project One’s exterior was sculpted by aerodynamics, and though it isn’t the prettiest thing we’ve ever seen, it will definitely attract attention at any car meetup. Inside, the cabin features a pair of narrow bucket seats mounted towards the center of the car. The steering wheel controls most vehicle functions (also like an F1 car), but a pair of 10.0-inch screens add a touch of tech and styling.
Don’t expect to see the Mercedes-AMG Project One on public roads until 2020 (if at all). With only 275 units scheduled for production at $2.72 million each, you may only see one of these bad boys at an auto show or museum.