Mercedes-AMG Hypercar to Top 218 MPH

The $2.7 million plug-in-hybrid coupe will hit the market in late-2018.

Greg Kable

September 1, 2017

4 Min Read
Teaser shot of Project One to bow at Frankfurt auto show this month
Teaser shot of Project One, to bow at Frankfurt auto show this month.

STUTTGART, Germany – The new Mercedes-AMG hypercar, known under the working name Project One, will possess a top speed exceeding 218 mph (351 km/h), the German automaker confirms.

Word comes as Mercedes-AMG releases a teaser image of the $2.7 million coupe showing its muscular silhouette along with a series of new design cues.

The darkened image exposes the front end of the new flagship model, planned to be unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show Sept. 11, including its distinctive LED headlamps, each of which incorporates three separate U-shaped elements.

The thin headlamps are mounted well outboard on heavily rounded bodywork. The new image also reveals a vertical wing mounted low on the outer left of the front end – evidence of a race-grade aerodynamic package as promised by Mercedes-AMG Chairman Tobias Moers.

The 2-seater also sports a wide indent along its center line and is topped by a large air vent that is used to cool its Formula-One-derived gasoline engine.

The latest image emphasizes the width of Project One and shows off an oversized Mercedes-Benz badge and AMG graphic within its central front air duct.

Mercedes-AMG’s most ambitious road car to date will be powered by an advanced gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain that operates in combination with four electric motors to deliver over 1,000 hp in its most performance-oriented driving mode.

The hi-tech driveline uses a heavily revised version of the electrically turbocharged 1.6L V-6 housed in the Mercedes-AMG W08 EQ Power+ race car, as driven by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the 2017 F1 World Championship.

Like the F1 race car, the upcoming all-wheel-drive AMG road car features both MGU-K (motor generation unit – kinetic) and MGU-H (motor generation unit-heat) functions as part of a complex Energy Recovery System.

The former, developing 134-hp, acts as an electric motor under acceleration and a generator to recuperate kinetic energy under braking, with the latter rated at 80kW (107 hp) used to electrically power the gasoline engine’s turbocharger for instant response as well as to convert heat from the turbocharger into electrical energy for storage in the new car’s sophisticated battery.

Together, the engine and the rear-mounted electric motors provide drive exclusively to the rear wheels.

Channeling the Project One’s heady reserves is a an 8-speed automated-manual gearbox that acts as a structural element within the driveline at the rear of the engine, where it supports an intricate 5-link rear suspension featuring pushrod-style spring and damper units.

In a departure from the rear-wheel-drive F1 race car, the new headlining AMG model’s front wheels can be driven individually by two electric motors and a pair of fixed ratio gearboxes mounted within the front axle assembly with torque distributed selectively to the wheel with the most grip, providing the Project One with its AWD capability. It’s a layout that mirrors that of the earlier pure electric Mercedes-AMG SLS Electric Drive. Called AMG Torque Dynamics, the electronically controlled system mimics the rear-wheel torque-vectoring effect seen on less extreme AWD AMG models.

The two front-mounted electric motors deliver a combined 322 hp exclusively to the front wheels, providing the Project One with a claimed range of up to 16 miles (25 km) in pure electric mode, according to Moers. When required, the MGU-K also can provide electric drive to the rear wheels, essentially endowing it with pure electric AWD capability.

The battery used to power the Project One’s motors is based on the same lithium-ion technology found in the Mercedes-Benz F1 racer. Boasting four times the energy density as the battery used in the race car, it is mounted low towards the front of the floor structure, providing a favorable front-to-rear weight distribution and low center of gravity.

In total, the plug-in hybrid system is claimed to weigh 926 lbs. (420 kg), with the batteries adding a further 220-lbs. (100 kg). Moers is tightlipped on the Project One’s curb weight but admits earlier claims suggesting it will tip the scales at less than 2,200 lbs. (1,000 kg) are premature. “There are a lot of regulatory factors to consider. We have to build in all the safety features, including crash structures,” he says.

Production of the Project One begins at AMG’s Affalterbach, Germany, operation during third-quarter 2018, with deliveries starting late next year.

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