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Mercedes-AMG Project ONE revealed. Image by Mercedes.

Mercedes-AMG Project ONE revealed
F1-derived hybrid engine, 1,000+hp, the Mercedes-AMG Project ONE doesn’t do things by halves
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What's all this about?

The Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. You can look at it as corporate one-upmanship, engineering can-do or merely a response to customers who've been asking AMG boss Tobias Moers for an AMG that rightfully has hypercar in its title. 2017 is the 50th anniversary of AMG being formed, too, so what better way to celebrate than building a limited edition hypercar with some real links to the company's impressive, and hugely successful Formula One operation?

So what's powering it?

A 1.6-litre V6, which if you're up to speed on your F1, is exactly the unit that powered Lewis Hamilton to his 2015 championship. To that high revving (just 11,000rpm here, a bit down from the racer to give it some longevity) V6 there are no less than four additional electric motors, one of which powers the turbos, a pair on each side of the front axle and a further one on the crank. Their combined efforts promise in excess of 1,000hp, immediate throttle response and performance that's other-worldly. AMG currently quotes a 0-124mph time of under six seconds and a top speed in excess of 217mph.

The two motors on the front wheels give it four-wheel drive with torque vectoring, while the combination of the electric motors and the Project ONE's batteries gives it around 15 miles of electric-only range.

F1 cars aren't four-wheel drive though?

No, but then AMG is saying that for all its ridiculous anticipated performance it's still a road car, which in itself causes some headaches. We wouldn't want to be the person dealing with getting the Project ONE through today's strict emissions regulations, and cooling that powerplant is going to be interesting, too. Then there's the noise. Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche admitting that the 125 decibels inside the cabin will need to be toned down significantly.

Sounds like it's a work in progress then?

Yes. What was rolled out on stage in Frankfurt, by Lewis Hamilton himself, remains very much a show car, as the engineering work on the car proper still ongoing. As a signal of intent though it's impressive, and the styling and interior look finished, at least.

Ah, yes, the styling, talk us through that...

The Project ONE was very much the talk of the show and social media, with much of the chatter surrounding how it looks. For something rocking 1,000+hp and F1 tech it's undeniably a touch conservative. It lacks the overly technical lines of those hypercars that precede it, or indeed its most obvious future rival - the Aston Martin Valkyrie.

That's perhaps deliberate as, with the odd exception, Mercedes-Benz isn't really a brand associated with in your face styling and pouting, aggressive looks. It's a touch understated then, although we're sure when those wing-top flaps up front open and the rear spoiler is in its most hardcore setting, it'll have menace to match its extraordinary performance.

The interior looks largely finished, too, featuring the sort of button-festooned cut-off steering wheel of your F1 or Michael Knight fantasies, and a pair of screens very much in keeping with how Mercedes-Benz interiors look these days. There's not going to be a great deal of room for luggage, but then owners will have a fleet of other cars, helicopters and planes if they're not travelling light.

When will it be ready?

Nobody's really saying, although we'd anticipate it to be on the road in the next 18 months, even if the likelihood is you'll never see one out and about. That's because Mercedes-AMG only plans a run of 275, and they're apparently all already all sold, even with the rumoured price being comfortably north of £2.5m.

How does a 1,000+hp hypercar fit in with Merc's green posturing at the Frankfurt show?

Sat across from Tobias Moers we asked him exactly that, and the answer was pretty revealing. The power pack in the Project ONE is the most efficient in the Mercedes-Benz line-up. Seriously.

Its thermal efficiency is in excess of 40%, which is exceptional, the byproduct of producing all that performance is also efficiencies - F1's regulation of fuel allowance meaning it has to be an engine that's both ridiculously powerful but relatively parsimonious.

As an engineering can-do it's all rather incredible, the engine featuring tech like pneumatically operated valves, regenerative brakes that are able to scavenge as much as 80% of the energy used to stop the Project ONE, while that electrically powered turbocharger spools up immediately to 100,000rpm to give lag-free response.

It's all very clever, and the most tangible, relevant link surrounding F1 technology transfer between racetrack and road, even if here it's in a tiny build special that'll be bought by a handful of incredibly wealthy collectors.

Kyle Fortune - 14 Sep 2017

Earlier articles featuring 2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE

2017-09-02: Mercedes-AMG Project One teased

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. Image by Mercedes.

2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. Image by Mercedes.2017 Mercedes-AMG Project ONE. Image by Mercedes.

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