The numbers are truly unbelievable: 0-60mph in 2.9sec, 0-100mph in 6.2sec, standing quarter mile in 10.6sec, top speed 248mph. These are slingshot dragster times that belittle even the mighty McLaren F1, still Autocar’s favourite supercar.
Chrysler is better known for building lacklustre cars such as the Voyager MPV, boring Neon saloon and the once-trendy PT Cruiser. But it is deadly serious about building the audacious 850bhp ME412 – or Four-Twelve, according to the badge – to steal the title of world’s fastest-accelerating production car from the much-delayed 987bhp Bugatti Veyron.
‘This is a prototype, not a concept,’ vowed Wolfgang Bernhard, chief operating officer at Chrysler and former boss of AMG. He wasn’t alone among Chrysler execs keen to build it. ‘We would love to do it, because it will lift the brand,’ said Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler CEO. ‘We’ll spend the next months looking at the business plan to find the right price/volume ratio. Our aim is to build between 10 and 2000.’
That’s Zetsche’s view. Other senior executives suggest it could be from one car a month, or up to 100 cars a year, for a couple of years. It will be priced somewhere between the £100,000 Ford GT and the £425,000 Ferrari Enzo.
At the heart of the mid-engined exotic is an AMG-developed 5980cc quad-turbo version of Mercedes’ 60deg V12 that pumps out a staggering 142bhp per litre. Peak torque of 850lb ft is available from 2500-4000rpm.
All that grunt passes through a seven-speed Ricardo twin-clutch gearbox, based on the transmission developed for the Veyron, on its way to the rear wheels. The absence of all-wheel drive helps account for the low 1310kg (dry) weight, with 58 per cent over the back axle.