The insider said the new model – the existence of which has been rumoured for several months – was now moving into stages of physical development. He added that the car (imagined by Autocar in the rendering above) will feature a Mercedes F1 hybrid powertrain redeveloped for the road and engineered at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, where F1 racing engines are also made.
It is not yet known whether the F1 engine’s 1.6-litre capacity will be retained or if the road engine’s block will be bored out for improved reliability. The racing engine’s 15,000rpm rev limit will almost certainly be significantly reduced for the same reason.
The car’s chassis and body will be built around an F1-style carbonfibre monocoque, with software and hardware for its systems that take influence from the F1 team’s F1 W07 race car. The results will make for a car that should rival Aston Martin’s similarly focused AM-RB 001, which also benefits from F1 technology and construction know-how.
Pricing for the Mercedes will most likely be similarly stratospheric; a figure of around £3 million has been mooted.
This week’s new information supports earlier comments revealed to Autocar, which suggested an F1 powertrain was being considered for use in a Mercedes hypercar earlier this year. “We have the most energy-dense hybrid pack in existence,” said one insider in April. “It would make a great deal of sense to harness that technology for the road.”
Our source’s suggestion of involvement from Lotus relates to road car chassis set-up. The information was supported with claims that the Norfolk car maker had been involved with the final chassis tuning for another recent Mercedes performance model.
Autocar has contacted Mercedes and Lotus for comment on the claims, but neither has yet offered any official response.
Interestingly, our source also revealed that secret development of a mid-engined rival model built by BMW had been shelved. The car was being designed to feature a twin-turbocharged V8 engine and would have been billed as a modern-day M1.
"It's such a pity it didn't go into production,” the source said. “It would have blown a lot of rival cars away."