Mercedes-amg Project One

Hy­per­car un­leashed

Auto Car (UK) - - CONTENTS - GREG KABLE

Mercedes-benz’s AMG per­for­mance car di­vi­sion has joined the ex­clu­sive ranks of high­end hy­per­car man­u­fac­tur­ers with the un­veil­ing of a spec­tac­u­lar new 992bh­p­plus coupé known un­der the work­ing ti­tle Project One.

The ad­vanced new model has been con­ceived to pro­vide a di­rect link be­tween the Ger­man car maker’s For­mula 1 rac­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and its road car di­vi­sion. It is pow­ered by a heav­ily re­worked ver­sion of the tur­bocharged 1.6-litre V6 petrol en­gine and electric mo­tor set-up used by the W08 race car, as driven by Lewis Hamil­ton and Valt­teri Bot­tas.

Per­for­mance fig­ures quoted by Mercedes-amg put the car­bon­fi­bre-bod­ied Project One’s 0-124mph time at 6.0sec and its top speed at more than 218mph. How­ever, Mercedesamg boss To­bias Mo­ers says fi­nal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion has yet to be car­ried out on the new coupé be­cause there is still a fur­ther 18 months of de­vel­op­ment be­fore the first cus­tomer cars are due to ar­rive.

“The hy­per­car is the most am­bi­tious project we have ever un­der­taken,” Mo­ers told Au­to­car. “It rep­re­sents a high­light in the strate­gic de­vel­op­ment of Mercedesamg. We call it a con­cept, be­cause ob­vi­ously we don’t have any cer­ti­fied data for things such as emis­sions and so on [at the mo­ment]. The fin­ished car will be pretty sim­i­lar.”

The new coupé fea­tures an elec­tri­cally pow­ered front axle that pro­vides it with four-wheel drive in its more per­for­mance­ori­ented driv­ing modes.

A size­able lithium ion bat­tery mounted low within its car­bon­fi­bre body struc­ture is in­tended to pro­vide the sleek two-seater with a claimed electric range of up to 16 miles in front-wheel-drive E-mode. This will al­low the hy­per­car to per­form short jour­neys at a lim­ited speed with zero emis­sions by negat­ing the need to en­gage the petrol en­gine.

Recharg­ing the bat­tery is

per­formed both on the run us­ing ki­netic en­ergy cre­ated un­der brak­ing and coast­ing and by plug-in means via an 800V electric ar­chi­tec­ture.

The Project One was re­vealed in con­cept car guise at a me­dia re­cep­tion on the eve of the Frank­furt mo­tor show. The pro­duc­tion ver­sion will be made in a lim­ited run of just 275 ex­am­ples. The first car is sched­uled to be de­liv­ered dur­ing the se­cond quar­ter of 2019, ac­cord­ing to Mo­ers.

De­spite the car’s price of €2.27 mil­lion (£2.08m at cur­rent ex­change rates) and plans for left-hand drive only, the or­der book for the most ex­treme Mercedes-amg model yet is claimed to be fully sub­scribed.

Engi­neer­ing for the hy­per­car is be­ing car­ried out in a joint pro­gramme be­tween AMG in Af­fal­ter­bach, Ger­many, its High Per­for­mance Pow­er­train sis­ter com­pany lo­cated in Brix­worth and the F1 team in Brack­ley.

“It el­e­vates the stan­dard for what is tech­ni­cally pos­si­ble to a whole new level with a com­bi­na­tion of per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency that is the ab­so­lute bench­mark,” said Mo­ers.

Hav­ing al­ready re­vealed the car’s driv­e­line and chas­sis at the Nür­bur­gring 24-hour race in April, AMG has now con­firmed that the first in a se­ries of run­ning pro­to­types of the Project One has hit the road in test­ing.

The styling of the Project One has been heav­ily in­flu­enced by the cool­ing re­quire­ments of its F1-sourced driv­e­line and aero­dy­namic needs. It is based on a car­bon­fi­bre mono­coque struc­ture and ev­ery air in­take and panel has been de­signed to max­imise the through­put of air and the gen­er­a­tion of down­force. A large wing de­ploys from the very rear of the body­work at a set speed to en­hance down­force.

In­side, the Project One pro­vides seat­ing for two in what Mo­ers de­scribed as a “highly func­tional” in­te­rior that bor­rows var­i­ous

fea­tures from the snug cock­pit of the W08 race car. In­cluded is a dig­i­tal in­stru­ment dis­play. There’s also a newly de­vel­oped steer­ing wheel with LED lights sig­nalling the en­gine revs to­gether with con­trols for the in­di­vid­ual drive modes and sus­pen­sion set­tings. A dig­i­tal dis­play takes the place of the in­te­rior mir­ror, pro­vid­ing re­al­time video of the rear view via a so-called Mir­ror­cam func­tion.

At the heart of the Project One is a com­pact, mid/rear­mounted, tur­bocharged 1.6-litre V6 petrol en­gine sourced from Mercedesamg’s W08 F1 car but tuned for ev­ery­day use. De­vel­oped at Mercedes-benz’s High Per­for­mance Pow­er­train di­vi­sion in Brix­worth, it is backed by four electric mo­tors.

One mo­tor is used to drive the tur­bocharger. A fur­ther, larger mo­tor is in­te­grated di­rectly into the drive­shaft at the rear in a lay­out sim­i­lar to the MGU-K (mo­tor gen­er­a­tor unit — ki­netic) used in the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion of F1 cars. The re­main­ing two mo­tors sit within the front axle, pro­vid­ing drive to the front wheels.

The four-valve-per-cylin­der com­bus­tion en­gine sets new se­ries-pro­duc­tion stan­dards with an ig­ni­tion cut-out set some 2000rpm higher than any ex­ist­ing road car’s, at 11,000rpm. The front electric mo­tors are also claimed to spin some 30,000rpm higher than those of any cur­rent road car, at 50,000rpm.

In an at­tempt to pro­vide the new AMG model with the ra­bid throt­tle re­sponse typ­i­cal of an F1 car, the Project One’s elec­tri­cally driven tur­bocharger adopts a sim­i­lar op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure as the MGU-H (mo­tor gen­er­a­tor unit — heat) used within the driv­e­line of the W08 F1 car. It is claimed

to reach 100,000rpm on wideopen throt­tle loads.

The MGU-K con­verts me­chan­i­cal and heat en­ergy into elec­tri­cal en­ergy that can be stored for later de­ploy­ment and the MGU-H takes heat from the ex­haust and uses it to cre­ate elec­tri­cal en­ergy.

The V6 petrol en­gine is claimed to pro­duce more than 858 bh­pandt he drive shaft mounted electric mo­tor con­trib­utes a fur­ther 161bhp to the rear wheels. Up front, the two electric mo­tors de­liver a com­bined 322bhp. The purely electric-driven front axle fea­tures a sim­i­lar torque vec­tor­ing func­tion to that de­vel­oped by AMG for the ear­lier SLS Electric Drive.

The petrol en­gine and electric mo­tors de­liver a com­bined out­put of more than 992bhp. Drive is chan­nelled to the rear via a newly de­vel­oped hy­drauli­cally op­er­ated eight-speed au­to­mated gear­box with re­mote steer­ing­wheel-mounted shift pad­dles. It of­fers the choice of either au­to­matic or man­ual modes.

All up, the petrol en­gine, electric mo­tors and gear­box are claimed to weigh 520kg. No of­fi­cial kerb weight for the car has been re­vealed but Mo­ers said ru­mours sug­gest­ing it would hit the scales at close to 1000kg are pre­ma­ture.

Un­der­pin­ning the new hy­per­car is a race-grade chas­sis with an ad­justable multi-link set-up with pushrods both front and rear — the lat­ter at­tached di­rectly to the en­gine block. It is al­lied to stan­dard 19in front and 20in rear cen­tre­lock al­loy wheels shod with 285/35-pro­file tyres up front and 335/30s at the back.

As with cur­rent AMG mod­els, the Project One re­ceives a switch­able ESP sta­bil­ity con­trol sys­tem of­fer­ing three dis­tinct modes: ESP On, ESP Sport Han­dling Mode and ESP Off. Brak­ing is via stan­dard car­bon­ce­ramic discs sup­ported by what AMG de­scribes as spe­cially de­vel­oped calipers.

Mo­ers is con­fi­dent own­ers will find it easy to en­joy driv­ing the hy­per­car, con­tend­ing that you won’t have to be a su­per­star driver to han­dle its prodi­gious re­serves or light­ning ac­cel­er­a­tion.

“You open the door, hit the start but­ton and drive. Easy,” he said. “We have the most mod­ern tech­nol­ogy. The GT R is very in­no­va­tive re­gard­ing ESP func­tion­al­i­ties. The hy­per­car is go­ing to have the next level. Controlling two in­di­vid­ual mo­tors on the front axle: we know how that works. We ini­tially de­vel­oped it with the SLS Electric Drive. Ev­ery­thing about torque vec­tor­ing: we know what we can do.”

OF­FI­CIAL PIC­TURES

Aero­dy­namic and cool­ing needs have dic­tated the shape

Car’s pow­er­train and chas­sis were re­vealed in April

Rear axle is driven by F1-based V6 and one electric mo­tor

Large rear wing de­ploys at speed to in­crease sta­bil­ity

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