Mercedes-AMG has revealed that its upcoming hypercar, with the working title Project One, will be able to hit speeds of over 350kph.
Expected to make its official debut at the Frankfurt motor show, the German manufacturer also sent out new images teasing the hypercar’s muscular silhouette along with a few of its styling cues.
The first teaser gave hints to the front of the new flagship Mercedes-AMG model for the first time, from its distinctive LED headlights, each incorporating three separate U-shaped elements, to the vertical wing element mounted low down on the outer left of the front end. The front spoiler provides further indication that the Project One will receive a race-grade aerodynamic package.
The teaser also provides hints for the two-seater’s width and a wide indent with a large air vent meant to cool the engine.
New teaser images showcase the rear of the hypercar with its tail-lamps and exhaust revealed for the first time and the interiors, which feature the car's F1-inspired steering wheel, digital dashboard and cabin shape.
Mercedes-AMG’s hypercar will be powered by an F1-based petrol-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain that operates in conjunction with four electric motors with a total power output of over 1000hp in its most performance-oriented driving mode.
The powertrain is a heavily retuned version of the electrically turbocharged, 1.6-litre, V6 that powers the Mercedes-AMG W08 EQ Power+ F1 race car driven by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the 2017 F1 World Championship.
Like the Mercedes’ F1 car, the upcoming all-wheel-drive road-going hypercar features both MGU-K (motor generation unit – kinetic) and MGU-H (motor generation unit - heat) functions as part of a complex Energy Recovery System (ERS) around the mid-mounted petrol engine at the rear.
The MFU-K develops 136hp and acts as an electric motor under acceleration and a generator to recuperate kinetic energy under braking. The 80kW MGU-H is used to electrically power the petrol engine’s turbocharger for instant response and convert heat from the turbocharger into electrical energy for storage in the new car’s sophisticated battery. The combustion engine and the rear-mounted electric motors provide drive exclusively to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automated manual gearbox that also acts as a structural bearing element supporting a five-link rear suspension featuring pushrod style springs and dampers.
The front wheels of the hypercar can be driven individually by two electric motors and a pair of fixed ratio gearboxes mounted within the front axle assembly, with torque distributed selectively to the wheel with the most grip. The layout is similar to that of the pure-electric Mercedes-AMG SLS Electric Drive and is called AMG Toque Dynamics.
The front-mounted electric motors deliver a combined 326hp exclusively to the front wheels, providing Project One with a claimed all-electric range up to 26km according to Mercedes head honcho Tobias Moers. When required, the MGU-K can also provide electric drive to the rear wheels, essentially providing the Project One with pure-electric four-wheel-drive capability.
The battery is based on the same lithium ion cell technology found in the Mercedes-Benz F1 car. Boasting four times the energy density as the battery used in the race car, it is mounted low towards the front of the floor structure, endowing it a favourable front-to-rear weight distribution and low centre of gravity.
The advanced new plug-in hybrid system is claimed to weigh 420kg, with the batteries adding a further 100kg. Moers is mum on Project One’s kerb weight but admits earlier claims that it will be under 1000kg are premature. “There are a lot of regulatory factors to consider. We have to build in all the safety features, including crash structures,” he says.
Engineering for the hypercar is being carried out in a joint programme between AMG in Affalterbach, Germany and its High Performance Powertrain sister company located in Brixworth, England. Moers claims it achieves a thermal efficiency of 43 percent. By comparison, the thermal efficiency of AMG’s existing twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 is put at 25 percent.
Assembly of the production version of Project One is planned begin at AMG’s manufacturing headquarters at Affalterbach during the third quarter of 2018, before deliveries start late next year.
Moers says AMG is developing a special programme to support buyers of Project One, although he suggests the new car will not be as difficult to drive as many anticipate: “Because of the F1-derived technology used by the new car, prospective buyers have been asking if they will require a support crew or dedicated lubricants to run it. My answer is always no. It will be a street car. You keep it plugged in the garage. You fill it with fuel. That’s it.”