F1-based powertrain to propel two-seater to 124mph in 6.0sec and beyond 218mph
11 September 2017

Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance car division has joined the exclusive ranks of high-end hypercar manufacturers with the unveiling of a spectacular new 992bhp-plus coupé known under the working title Project One. 

Opinion: the Mercedes-AMG Project One was worth the wait

The advanced new model has been conceived to provide a direct link between the German car maker’s Formula 1 racing activities and its road car division. It is powered by 
a heavily reworked version
 of the turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 petrol engine and electric motor set-up used by the W08 race car, as driven by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. 

Q&A: we put our burning questions to the Mercedes-AMG Chief Executive 

The car was launched at a Mercedes event the night before the Frankfurt motor show, where it was driven onto stage by three-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton. Speaking about the electrified car at the event, Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche said: "This vehicle will make all the performance cars at Mercedes and AMG look small. In 40 years I have never witnessed as much hype at Mercedes as there was with this car. After we showed the silhouette at Paris we had calls the next day to buy them.

"AMG's future does not depend on petrol, but on hybridisation and electrification too. This car gives an outlook for the future of AMG. Our task is not just to reinvent the automobile but to redefine mobility."

Hamilton added: "No-one's really done this [making a race car for the road] until now."

Performance figures quoted by Mercedes-AMG put the carbonfibre-bodied Project One’s 0-124mph time at 6.0sec and its top speed at more than 218mph. However, Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers says final certification has yet to be carried out on the new coupé because there is still a further 18 months of development before the first customer cars are due to arrive.

“The hypercar is the most ambitious project we have ever undertaken,” Moers told Autocar. “It represents a highlight in the strategic development of Mercedes- AMG. We call it a concept, because obviously we don’t have any certified data for things such as emissions and so on [at the moment]. The finished car will be pretty similar.” 

The new coupé features an electrically powered front axle that provides it with four-wheel drive in its more performance- oriented driving modes. 

A sizeable lithium ion battery mounted low within its carbonfibre body structure is intended to provide the sleek two-seater with a claimed electric range of up to 16 miles in front-wheel-drive E-mode. This will allow the hypercar
 to perform short journeys
 at a limited speed with zero emissions by negating the need to engage the petrol engine. 

Recharging the battery is performed both on the run using kinetic energy created under braking and coasting and by plug-in means via an 800V electric architecture. 

The Project One was revealed in concept car guise at a media reception on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show. The production version will be made in a limited run of just 275 examples. The first car 
is scheduled to be delivered during the second quarter of 2019, according to Moers. 

Despite the car’s price of €2.27 million (£2.08m at current exchange rates) and plans for left-hand drive only, the order book for the most extreme Mercedes-AMG model yet is claimed to be fully subscribed.

 

Engineering for the hypercar is being carried out in a joint programme between AMG in Affalterbach, Germany, its High Performance Powertrain sister company located in Brixworth and the F1 team in Brackley. 

“It elevates the standard for what is technically possible to a whole new level with a combination of performance and efficiency that is the absolute benchmark,” 
said Moers. 

Having already revealed the car’s driveline and chassis at the Nürburgring 24-hour race in April, AMG has now confirmed that the first in a series of running prototypes of the Project One has hit the road in testing. 

The styling of the Project One has been heavily influenced by the cooling requirements of its F1-sourced driveline and aerodynamic needs. It is based on a carbonfibre monocoque structure and every air intake and panel has been designed to maximise the throughput of air and the generation of downforce. A large wing deploys from the very rear of the bodywork at a set speed to enhance downforce. 

Inside, the Project One provides seating for two in what Moers described as a “highly functional” interior that borrows various features from the snug cockpit of the W08 race car. Included is a digital instrument display. There’s also a newly developed steering wheel with LED lights signalling the engine revs together with controls for the individual drive modes and suspension settings. A digital display takes the place of the interior mirror, providing real- time video of the rear view via a so-called MirrorCam function. 

At the heart of the Project One is a compact, mid/rear- mounted, turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 petrol engine sourced from Mercedes-AMG’s W08 F1 car but tuned for everyday use. Developed at Mercedes-Benz’s High Performance Powertrain division in Brixworth, it is backed by four electric motors. 

One motor is used to drive the turbocharger. A further, larger motor is integrated directly into the driveshaft at the rear in a layout similar to the MGU-K (motor generator unit — kinetic) used in the current generation of F1 cars. The remaining two motors sit within the front axle, providing drive to the front wheels. 

The four-valve-per-cylinder combustion engine sets new series-production standards with an ignition cut-out set some 2000rpm higher than any existing road car’s, at 11,000rpm. The front electric motors are also claimed to spin some 30,000rpm higher than those of any current road car, at 50,000rpm. 

In an attempt to provide
the new AMG model with
the rabid throttle response typical of an F1 car, the Project One’s electrically driven turbocharger adopts a similar operating procedure as the MGU-H (motor generator unit — heat) used within the driveline of the W08 F1 car. It is claimed to reach 100,000rpm on wide- open throttle loads. 

The MGU-K converts mechanical and heat energy into electrical energy that can be stored for later deployment and the MGU-H takes heat from the exhaust and uses it to create electrical energy. 

The V6 petrol engine is claimed to produce more than 858bhp and the driveshaft- mounted electric motor contributes a further 161bhp to the rear wheels. Up front, the two electric motors deliver a combined 322bhp. The purely electric-driven front axle features a similar torque vectoring function to that developed by AMG for the earlier SLS Electric Drive

The petrol engine and electric motors deliver a combined output of more than 992bhp. Drive is channelled to the rear via a newly developed hydraulically operated eight-speed automated gearbox with remote steering- wheel-mounted shift paddles. It offers the choice of either automatic or manual modes. 

All up, the petrol engine, electric motors and gearbox are claimed to weigh 520kg. No official kerb weight for the car has been revealed but Moers said rumours suggesting it would hit the scales at close to 1000kg are premature. 

Underpinning the new hypercar is a race-grade chassis with an adjustable multi-link set-up with pushrods both front and rear — the latter attached directly to the engine block. It is allied to standard 19in front and 20in rear centre- lock alloy wheels shod with 285/35-profile tyres up front and 335/30s at the back. 

As with current AMG models, the Project One receives a switchable ESP stability control system offering three distinct modes: ESP On, ESP Sport Handling Mode and ESP Off. Braking is via standard carbon- ceramic discs supported by what AMG describes as specially developed calipers. Moers is confident owners will find it easy to enjoy driving the hypercar, contending
that you won’t have to be a superstar driver to handle its prodigious reserves or lightning acceleration. 

“You open the door, hit the start button and drive. Easy,” he said. “We have the most modern technology. The GT R is very innovative regarding ESP functionalities. The hypercar is going to have the next level. Controlling two individual motors on the front axle: we know how that works. We initially developed it with the SLS Electric Drive. Everything about torque vectoring: we know what we can do.” 

Related stories: 

Lewis Hamilton reveals the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE hypercar

What will the Project One be like to drive? 

Q&A: we put our burning questions to the Mercedes-AMG Chief Executive 

Mercedes' Project One allows F1 cars to have some road car relevance 

Our Verdict

Mercedes-AMG E 63

New hot Mercedes-AMG E-Class does the better part of what a fast saloon ought to crushingly well, but also leaves unexpected room for improvement

Join the debate

Comments
32

11 September 2017

The front bears more than a passing remblence to a certain McLaren F1!

11 September 2017
Overdrive wrote:

The front bears more than a passing remblence to a certain McLaren F1!

its like a chinese knock off of a McLaren F1 but no where near as good looking. Should have called it the Mercedes AMG PROJECT not dONE

12 September 2017
Overdrive wrote:

The front bears more than a passing remblence to a certain McLaren F1!

Coming to think of it, the McLaren looks better proportioned. This reminds me more of a Noble M600

13 September 2017

I wouldn't buy anything with an engine made in Brixham, although funnily enough Dagenham used to get its limestone from there to make steel.

11 September 2017

Quote Autocar "The V6 petrol engine is claimed to produce more than 858bhp"

I doubt they're getting that amount of power from a 1.6 V6 tuned for everyday use that's about as much as the ICE in Mr Hamilton's Sunday afternoon runabout. His car is reputed to have about 1000 bhp and 161 of that is electric.

 

11 September 2017

858bhp from a 1.6!!! That's some tasty witchcraft they're using. Amazing.

This looks great. The Mclaren F1 was the first thing I thought of too and much as it really pains me to say it, this looks better and more resolved than the RB Aston.

It looks like a proper road car (and a good looking one too - albiet totally bonkers). The Aston looks just like a Le Mans racer with the stickers removed by comparison.

The race fir the ultimate hypercar is on between Mercedes and Aston. Who would have though the big three, and especially Ferrari, wouldn't be involved. The new Mclaren is shying away fro the fight too. Strange days...

11 September 2017
jmd67 wrote:

858bhp from a 1.6!!! That's some tasty witchcraft they're using. Amazing.

This looks great. The Mclaren F1 was the first thing I thought of too and much as it really pains me to say it, this looks better and more resolved than the RB Aston.

It looks like a proper road car (and a good looking one too - albiet totally bonkers). The Aston looks just like a Le Mans racer with the stickers removed by comparison.

The race fir the ultimate hypercar is on between Mercedes and Aston. Who would have though the big three, and especially Ferrari, wouldn't be involved. The new Mclaren is shying away fro the fight too. Strange days...

You must must have a very short memory because I seem to remember a trio named the holy trinity. They came three years before this thing. Even though this has a three year advantage it doesn't look like it moving the game on in any sense but the Aston on the other hand looks like a track weapon that will probably smash most track records for a production car around big named circuits.

As for McLaren, they will be joining the party very soon with a natural successor to the F1 that will have a three seat layout like the F1 and a rumoured 1200bhp. It won't be as track focused as the P1 more of a Hyper GT. That when Aston Valkyrie should be worried

12 September 2017
jmd67 wrote:

858bhp from a 1.6!!! That's some tasty witchcraft they're using. Amazing.

For a racing car engine, not really and this is what sort of engine this car has.

12 September 2017

Racing car engines only last a few hundred miles between rebuilds. Those figures are insanne for a road car. Most of these cars do very low mileages but I'm assuming that it should last 60k or so before major work is carried out. If not wichcraft then it's very close to it...

11 September 2017

That is utter rubbish. Mercedes have done some reasonable cars in recent years. They have even been a bit exciting. This maybe very fast and well engineered but is as boring as a vist to David Coulthards trophy room... No offence David it's just a joke ;-) seriously though Mercedes you missed a big opportunity to some thing exciting and treat it like it really had been derived from the multiple world championship winning formula one team. The LaFerrari and Porsche 918 are so much more attractive. Even the McLaren is more  appealing and that has some contrived details

 

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Genesis G70
    First Drive
    22 September 2017
    Based on the Kia Stinger, Genesis' new G70 saloon shows plenty of promising signs that it could be a hit in Europe
  • Lamborghini Aventador S
    First Drive
    22 September 2017
    Still visceral and dramatic as ever, but does the vast number of mechanical changes and tweaks help make the Lamborghini Aventador S more engaging?
  • Renault Koleos
    Car review
    22 September 2017
    Renault’s new crossover sees the Koleos name return, attached to an SUV of a quite different stripe
  • Nissan X-Trail
    First Drive
    21 September 2017
    On our first chance to get the facelifted Nissan X-Trail on UK roads, the petrol proves a viable alternative, although for outright pulling power the 2.0 dCi is the better bet
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio 2.2d 210
    First Drive
    21 September 2017
    Most powerful diesel version of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is swift and more frugal than its closest rivals, but makes less sense than the range-topping petrol version