WHAT WILL THE PROJECT ONE BE LIKE TO DRIVE?

Autocar - - NEWS - MATT PRIOR

Mercedes-amg doesn’t yet have a fully com­plete run­ning pro­to­type of the Project One — one where it is test­ing all of the com­po­nents to­gether in a sin­gle car — but it is, ob­vi­ously, think­ing about what the car ought to be like to drive; other than apoc­a­lyp­ti­cally fast and ab­surdly light, any­way.

And that is? Well, they won’t say, pre­dictably, but there are cues in the way that other AMGS drive. Take the GT (see p36), which is a sur­pris­ingly re­laxed car to drive quickly. AMG has quite a few rac­ing driv­ers or for­mer rac­ers in its engi­neer­ing ranks, but it knows not ev­ery cus­tomer is a race driver.

The GT R is one of the fastest pro­duc­tion cars around the Nür­bur­gring — and our test track at MIRA — but it pro­duces that time with­out the sweaty-palmed drama of some other su­per­cars. You don’t have to be Bernd Schneider to get a lot out of it.

The in­her­ent bal­ance AMG has put into the GT R is to give it a lit­tle un­der­steer, for less ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers to nudge into and know they’re at the limit, and then use the power to push through it if they’re ex­pe­ri­enced enough.

AMG’S en­gi­neers ad­mit they could have made the R faster still. But do­ing so would have made it harder to drive, which, ul­ti­mately, they think, would make for a worse car.

Which is fine: the GT is a front-en­gined, reardrive car and cars like that in­her­ently have an easy bal­ance. How do you give sta­ble char­ac­ter­is­tics to a light­weight, mid-en­gined car with 1000bhp? I think the key will be those electric mo­tors on the front axle. AMG has al­ready ex­per­i­mented with torque vec­tor­ing on the SLS Electric Drive, which had four mo­tors and could put power ex­actly where it wanted.

Care­ful tun­ing of the mo­tors’ de­liv­ery could make the dif­fer­ence be­tween Project One be­ing an ur­gently fast but shock­ingly tense car to drive fast, or an equally fast but re­as­sur­ing and faith­ful car, which more own­ers will be able to get the best out of.

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