2018 Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar to be unveiled at Frankfurt motor show

Mercedes-AMG hypercar

1000bhp four-wheel-drive hypercar is expected to sell out ahead of its reveal; will have a 25km electric range

The Mercedes-AMG hypercar, codenamed Project One, will be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in autumn ahead of its launch in 2018, according to AMG boss Tobias Moers. 

At the recent Detroit motor show, Moers confirmed that the upcoming model will develop 1000bhp, which is similar to the power generated by the Mercedes Formula 1 car from which the powertrain is derived. That makes it competitive with the likes of the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder and the Aston Martin and Red Bull-developed AM-RB 001

He also confirmed that the hypercar would have an all-wheel-drive system with an electric driven front axle. This will enable the front wheels to be driven individually so torque can be distributed selectively – a technology already seen in the SLS AMG Electric Drive – which is intended to make driving more dynamic. Called AMG Torque Dynamics, it is essentially extreme active torque vectoring.

Moers said less than 300 versions of the model would be made, costing around €2m, and expects all units to be sold before its reveal at Frankfurt. First customer drives will be mid-2018.

The car will have an electric range of 25km(15.5 miles) and will be one of the “most fascinating two-seaters that ever hit the road”, said Moers.

Mercedes boss Dr Dieter Zetsche added: “Our aim is for [the Project One] to be the first street legal car with an F1 engine,” he said. “Secondly, that it is perceived as the ultimate sports car. We have relatively good indications that this is possible.”

The only official visual of the model is a sketch, shown at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, with the strapline ‘Creating benchmark driving pleasure’. The image shows a large roof scoop and louvre vents on the rear upper panel confirming that it will be mid-engined. 

Formula 1 engine and tech

The model will use the 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine found in the W07 Formula 1 racer, detuned for the road.

Talking about the F1-derived powertrain, Moers told Autocar: “We have to change something for sure. 3500-4000 revs is not that great for the road.” He added: “The red line is over 10,000 even in the street legal car.”

Moers has previously talked about using the F1 powertrain: “Our F1 engine is far more durable than many people expect, and if you look at the load it must take in an F1 race compared to how it’s likely to be used in a street-legal machine, you can see it’s going to have a lot less work to do.”

Like the F1 engines, the road car’s unit will be engineered at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth, Northamptonshire.

The hypercar is also set to use both forms of energy recovery system found in modern F1 cars: the MGU-K that converts mechanical and heat energy into electrical energy that can be stored for later deployment, and the MGU-H system that takes heat from the exhaust and uses it to create electrical energy.

It is as yet unknown how the engine will be made emissions-compliant or what kind of gearbox the car will use, as an F1 transmission would need to be heavily adapted to suit a road-going application.

Development timetable

Mercedes will begin running prototypes in October this year, and Moers has previously confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will join the team of development drivers “when the time is right”.

Mercedes board member Ola Kallenius has said the powertrain should be “unique” in the market. At the time, Kallenius emphasised that despite its hardcore nature, the car will be able to be driven on the road and will not be a track-only special edition.

The car’s body will be styled around a carbonfibre monocoque similar to that used in F1, with software and technology harnessed from Mercedes’ F1 W07 racer. 

Moers said the design target for the hypercar was to create “the most efficient hypercar with an outstanding driving dynamic capability, not necessarily the most powerful”. When asked what he meant by ‘efficient’, Moers simply replied: “In every respect”, which indicates an precedented combination of power, light weight and low fuel consumption.

The Mercedes-AMG hypercar’s main rival, the AM-RB 001, was revealed in July 2016. It will also use an all-carbonfibre construction, with an F1-style carbonfibre monocoque and F1-derived performance technology. A total of between 99 and 150 cars will be built, with each costing between £2 million and £3 million. The first owners are scheduled to receive their cars in 2018. 

Mercedes-AMG confirmation

The Mercedes-AMG hypercar was originally confirmed by the company’s head of research and development, Thomas Weber on the eve of the Paris motor show in late September 2016.

“I am very excited to officially confirm: our next big thing at AMG is already in the pipeline,” said Weber. “We are going to create an AMG performance hybrid featuring our Formula 1 drivetrain technology. Under the lead of AMG, our performance companies will join forces and create the most efficient and, at the same time, the best-performing and most spectacular AMG of all time; some might even call it a hypercar.

“But no matter what you call it, it will definitely show how we will take our performance brand into the future with extremely efficient and intelligent drivetrain technology. Of course, there will be no compromises in terms of the emotional appeal of this car.”

Read more:

Aston Martin AM-RB 001 hypercar revealed – exclusive pictures

Why the AM-RB 001 could be the car that defines a decade

Source: Autocar Online

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