Mercedes-AMG Unleashes Project ONE Prototype

The gasoline-hybrid-propelled 2-seater has been conceived to directly link the German automaker’s Formula 1 racing activities and its road car lineup.

Greg Kable

September 27, 2018

4 Min Read
Mercedes-AMG plans to build just 275 copies of $3 million hypercar.
Mercedes-AMG plans to build just 275 copies of $3 million hypercar.

Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance-car division releases images depicting a prototype version of its new flagship hypercar undergoing engineering-development testing for the first time.

The 1,000-hp-plus coupe, known under the internal working title Project ONE, is planned for customer delivery during second-half 2019 following its unveiling in concept-car guise at the 2017 Frankfurt auto show.

The gasoline-hybrid-propelled 2-seater has been conceived to directly link the German automaker’s Formula 1 racing activities and its road car lineup. It is powered by a heavily reworked version of the turbocharged 1.6L gasoline V-6 and electric motor setup loosely based on that used by the W09 race car in this year’s F1 World Championship.

Initial performance figures quoted by Mercedes-AMG put the carbon-fiber-intensive Project ONE’s 0-124 mph (200 km/h) time at 6.0 seconds and its top speed at more than 218 mph (351 km/h). However, Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers says certification for the new model has yet to be completed, suggesting these early performance figures could change.

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

“It represents a highlight in the strategic development of Mercedes-AMG,” Moers tells WardsAuto. “We don’t have any certified data for things such as performance and emissions and so on at the moment, but the finished car will be pretty similar to what we showed in Frankfurt.”

The Project ONE’s compact, mid/rear-mounted V-6, backed by four electric motors, is tuned for everyday driving. One motor drives the turbocharger. A larger motor is integrated directly into the driveshaft at the rear in a layout similar to that used in the current generation of F1 cars. The remaining two motors drive the front wheels from within the front axle.

The four-valves-per-cylinder combustion engine is claimed to set new series-production standards with an ignition cut-out set some 2,000 rpm higher than any existing road car’s, at a stratospheric 11,000 rpm. The front electric motors are claimed to spin some 30,000 rpm higher than those of any current road car, at 50,000 rpm.

Mercedes-AMG says the V-6 produces more than 858 hp, and the driveshaft-mounted electric motor contributes 161 hp to the rear wheels. The two electric motors up front deliver a combined 322 hp. The electric-driven front axle features a similar torque-vectoring function to that developed by AMG for the earlier all-electric SLS Electric Drive.

The combustion engine and electric motors deliver a combined output of more than 1,000 hp. Drive is channeled to the rear via a hydraulically operated 8-speed automated gearbox offering the choice of either automatic or manual modes.

A sizeable lithium-ion battery of as-yet-unspecified-capacity is mounted low within the Project ONE’s carbon-fiber body structure, giving it a claimed electric range of up to 16 miles (26 km) in front-wheel-drive E-mode. This will allow the hypercar to make short journeys at a limited speed with zero emissions by not engaging the gasoline engine.

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Recharging of 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 production version of the most powerful Mercedes-AMG model yet will be limited to just 275 units. Despite a €2.3 million ($3 million) price tag and plans to produce only left-hand-drive models, AMG says it has received over 1,100 purchase requests.

Inside (above), the Project ONE provides seating for two in what Moers describes as a highly functional interior that borrows various features from the snug cockpit of the W08 race car.

The styling is heavily influenced by the cooling requirements of the F1-sourced driveline and need for aerodynamic downforce. It is based on a monocoque structure, with each air intake and panel described as being designed to maximize throughput of air and generation of downforce. A large wing deploys from the very rear of the bodywork at a set speed to enhance downforce.

The Project ONE also receives a switchable ESP stability control system offering three modes: ESP On, ESP Sport Handling Mode and ESP Off. Braking is via standard carbon-ceramic discs with specially developed calipers.

Included is a digital instrument display. The newly developed steering wheel features LED lights signaling the engine revs along with controls for the individual drive modes and suspension settings.

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