Mercedes-AMG Project One: official “spyshots” shown

Mercedes-AMG Project One: official “spyshots” shown

Mercedes-AMG made a big splash at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year with the unveiling of its Project One concept. Fast forward another 12 months and Affalterbach is still working hard to bring the ferocious Formula 1-engined hypercar to market, but it’s released a few official “spyshots” to whet our appetites.

The company said that it has spent hundreds of hours to get the race-spec hybrid powertrain to be reliable enough for the road, simulating the world’s toughest tracks on the dynos of its High Performance Powertrains (HPP) division in Brixworth – the same company that builds the F1 team’s championship-winning engines.

Since then, the power unit has been installed on the first prototypes, which are now being run on a “secret test ground” in England (looks like the Millbrook Proving Ground to us). The car seen here is missing its lights and a few fittings – most notably the “bargeboards” aft of the front wheels – but the low slung bodywork with the massive front air intakes and LMP-style dorsal fin is as per the show car.

The facts and figures remain hypothetical for now, but here’s what we know. Underneath that fin is a 1.6 litre turbocharged and direct-injected V6 directly from an F1 car (in this case the 2016 F1 W07 Hybrid that took Nico Rosberg to his only world title), with pneumatic valve springs to enable it to spin at up to 11,000 rpm.

Mercedes-AMG Project One: official “spyshots” shown

While stratospheric for a road car, it’s significantly lower than the race car’s 15,000 rpm limit, to extend the engine’s life and allow the use of commercial RON 98 fuel. Also carried over from F1 is the split turbocharger that places the turbine and compressor on opposite ends of the engine, connected by a shaft – this enables the compressed air to be cooler as it is separated from the hotter exhaust.

Fitted to the engine are two electric motor-generator units. The MGU-H (for heat), which produces around 90 kW (120 hp), scavenges energy from the exhaust to drive the compressor, thereby reducing turbo lag – Mercedes-AMG claims the engine’s response betters that of a naturally-aspirated V8.

A second motor, MGU-K (for kinetic), is connected to the crankshaft and recuperates up to 80% of the car’s kinetic energy under braking. When called for, it delivers 120 kW (161 hp) of extra power, pushing output at the rear wheels alone to over 670 hp – routed through a new eight-speed automated manual gearbox. The engine’s thermal efficiency of over 40% betters the production record set by the latest Toyota Prius.

Mercedes-AMG Project One: official “spyshots” shown

That’s not all – another pair of 120 kW electric motors sit at the front to provide all-wheel drive and torque vectoring on the front axle. All in all, the headline total power figure stands at over 1,000 hp, propelling the Project One from zero to 200 km/h in under six seconds and onwards to a top speed of over 350 km/h.

The car is also capable of an all-electric range of 25 km thanks to the two front motors, the MGU-K and a lithium-ion battery pack aft of the front wheels. The latter is positioned in the same place as on the F1 car and uses the same cells, but is larger to provide the extra energy needed for road use. There’s still a traditional 12-volt electrical system, but the hybrid powertrain runs at 800 volts instead of the usual 400 volts.

Aside from the engine and four electric motors, the Project One also features a carbon fibre monocoque, with the engine and transmission sharing load-bearing duties à la Ferrari F50. The multilink suspension features pushrod dampers mounted transversely, preventing roll even during very quick direction changes, without resulting in an uncomfortable ride. Carbon ceramic brakes come as standard.

Forged aluminium alloy wheels measure 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the back, wrapped in 285/35-section front and 335/20-section rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres designed specifically for the Project One. The multi-spoke rollers carry carbon fibre covers with ventilation slats all around.

With all this performance, AMG boss Tobias Moers said that it is “reasonable to speculate” that the company would be aiming for a lap record, although it is unlikely to challenge for the outright record given that Porsche has recently set the marker of a blistering 5 minutes 19.6 seconds with the purpose-built 919 Hybrid Evo. The Porsche 911 GT2 RS‘s 6 minutes 47 seconds production car record is a more likely target.

The production model is purported slated for a 275-unit run – and even with a rumoured €2.17 million (RM10.9 million) price tag, all of them are reportedly sold out.

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Jonathan Lee

After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.



  • Rizqy on Sep 20, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    affordable RM100 roadtax for this 1.6L Merc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
    • Automatic Mulfunction Gearbox on Sep 20, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Inconvenient. Can only pump Petron RON100 fuel if comes to Malaysia.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
    • Pilihanraya Kalah Teruk on Sep 20, 2018 at 9:08 pm

      Malaysia is a fantastic country. BMW i8 owners also pay RM100 for road tax for their RM1.5 million ringgit cars.

      But the poor man who buys a E280 that cost RM4000 that is 20 years old still pays RM2000 for his road tax

      This is the legacy left to us by the previous inefficient Government

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
    • John Fake News Sdn Bhd on Sep 20, 2018 at 9:43 pm

      Many Proton fanboys will say this technology will go into Proton cars now

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9
      • Chandra on Sep 20, 2018 at 11:06 pm

        Nobody said that only you dreaming. Stop dreaming.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
      • Turbo on Sep 20, 2018 at 11:16 pm

        Proton persona 1.6 plug in turbo and boost 3 bar u will get 1000hp also…

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • Azman on Sep 21, 2018 at 7:56 am

        Good one! Geely only own few percent of Mercedes and Mercedes already confirm they are not sharing technology with Geely

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • Rahman Putra on Sep 21, 2018 at 7:57 am

        Every Proton sappoters always say now Proton use Volvo and Merc technology

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • matt farrel on Sep 20, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    I heard you have to rebuild the engine on this car every 50k KM..but I doubt that any of the 275 cars sold will ever reach that milestone unless the buyer is Rowan Atkinson who logged 37k miles in his McLaren F1

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • Most of limited production supercars like this will spend life as garage queens. Some owners might drive their Project One regularly, but still would take a long time to reach 50k kms mileage because they usually have other supercars to rotate between.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • stastasta on Sep 24, 2018 at 11:24 am

      looking at mileage is misleading. driving on the track puts a lot more strain than on the road.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Add A Comment on Sep 21, 2018 at 7:39 am

    The back reminds me of a Ferrari and the hood on the top reminds me of their legendary CLK GTS-GT. The one I was so excited to be able to own one when I was young… GT2

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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