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.
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.
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.