The Mercedes AMG Project One
If you’re going to turn 50, you may as well do it in style, right? Mercedes AMG is doing just that with what one assumes is the ironically-titled Project One. As always, Project One (ahem, P1, get it?) is pitched at buyers who don’t care how much it costs and want that “F1 car for the road” vibe from their multi-million dollar/Euro/pound purchase.
What’s under the engine cover?
The AMG Project One certainly fits the bill when you discover it has a 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 hybrid. If that sounds familiar, it’s the kind of engine Messrs Hamilton and Bottas use to impressive effect in their F1 cars. Revving to a stratospheric-for-a-road-car 11,000rpm, the internal combustion engine alone generates 440Kw/603bhp. Which is rather a lot for a tick under 1600ccs.
603bhp? Is that all?
No, that’s not all. Add another four motors, all electric, to the tally, supplying a further 352kW/483bhp. The front wheels get an engine each for that all-wheel drive grip so handy on bumpy, slippery back roads. Each wheel also has its own gearbox. The electronics to make this lot behave will no doubt be a barrel of laughs to get right.
The front wheel motors also feature MGU-K (K for kinetic) style energy recovery which boosts the battery under braking.
Another 120kW motor is attached to the engine’s crankshaft for a bit of ERS boostage.
And finally an 80kW motor spins up the no doubt bucket-sized turbo. Turbo plus electric motor are known as the MGU-H (H for heat) and can spin at 100,000rpm. The point of the MGU-H is to spin the turbo up without needing exhaust gases to do it.
Getting the power to the rear wheels from the ICE is an eight speed Xtrac gearbox, with the usual paddleshift functionality because good gracious, you won’t have time for a manual.
The grand total, after overboost comes into play, is 828kW/1134bhp. That ought to do it.
Rather surprisingly, AMG reckons you won’t have to service the engine until you’ve done 50,000km/30,000mi.
This must all get pretty hot?
Oh yes. There is cooling everywhere. Five separate cooling circuits wind their way through the car. The engine, transmission, electric motors, batteries and intake all have their own cooling. The engine and turbo will generate colossal amounts of heat on their own, which is why everything has been separated. While it probably weighs more, pushing the car would be a right pain.
Okay, so it should stay cool. Is it fast?
Duh. With a target weight of just over 1200kg (a quarter of that is the electrical gear), the run to 100km/h will be out of the way in well under three seconds. Mercedes AMG says the top speed is well over 200mph (320km/h).
What’s it like inside?
Sparse. Lots of carbon fibre. A very F1-tastic steering wheel. There will be a few airbags to add to the doubtless near-unbreakable chassis and the pedals move rather than the seats. That might restrict taller folks from climbing aboard. Two screens will do media and important information duties and the thing will even be crash-tested. Twelve times! Oh the humanity.
I’m not sure about the looks, but it’s certainly dramatic. Rolling on 19-inch wheels, there are wings and scoops and extensions everywhere and it’s very, very low to the ground. The doors are dihedral like a McLaren’s and there’s even a shark fin. Most of the exterior images look like renders but the interior looks basically done.
Somewhere between “yeah right”, and “GDP of small country”, the Mercedes AMG Project One is unlikely to have not already sold out.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.