We’re still waiting to find out more about the Mercedes-AMG Project One – as in how much more than 1,000 horsepower the hybrid hypercar’s Formula One-derived powertrain will be able to punch out.
For now, we’ll have to settle for rudimentary details and know that whatever the final figure comes in at, the next special edition developed specifically by and for AMG will be obscenely quick, somewhere in the 2 second 0-to-60 range, with a top speed expected to reach 350 km/h, or about 220 miles per hour.
First unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show and originally intended to hit the road late last year, part of the celebration of AMG’s 50th anniversary, the project fell behind schedule and appears to have been further delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Exactly when it will now be unveiled is still unclear though the automaker hints that with the “final” version of the drivetrain now being put through its paces, it is “ever closer to production.”
Why is it taking so long? There’s no question this is the most complicated project ever undertaken by AMG, especially from a powertrain perspective.
“The adaptation of a complete Formula1 drive unit for a road-legal hypercar is a tremendous undertaking,” the German performance brand said in a release accompanying this images of the Project One in testing
“This adaption will result in new standards being set for performance in a road-going vehicle,” no easy trick trying to balance its track heritage with the need to ensure it can handle day-to-day driving duties that will likely include spells caught in traffic.
The drivetrain stays close to the current F1 equation, starting out with a single-turbo 1.6-liter V-6 that is closely related to what Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton sits in front of in his own race car – though it revs to “only” about 11,000 RPMs due to the difference between track and street fuels. According to some early reports, the engine is still expected to turn out more than 600 horsepower, or an astounding 375 hp per liter.
The hypercar pairs the internal combustion engine with four electric motors, two on the front axle, another on the rear. Don’t worry about the math. The fourth motor is built into that turbocharger and eliminates traditional turbolag since it doesn’t have to wait for exhaust gases to build up and spin its impeller
Dubbed an MGU-h, or motor generator unit-heat, it makes about 80 kilowatts and can rev up to a screaming 100,000 RPMs. The primary motors are believed to produce about 120 kW each, or something on the order of a collective 482 hp.
Each of the driving motors has its own single-speed gearbox and the front units can be varied in speed, slightly trimming power to one side or the other to help torque vector, or steer into a turn.
That was among the many technical challenges facing engineers working on the Mercedes-AMG Project One, notes the automaker.
“In many aspects, such as noise level, the development team ventured into uncharted territory with this project, working with great tenacity and exceptional engineering expertise to find solutions that could be developed to production maturity.”
Another challenge was working out the complexities of the hypercars active aerodynamic technology, from front louvers to the big rear spoiler.
Work has continued at both the AMG development center in Affalterbach, as well as at the Mercedes test track in Immendingen. With the program seemingly accelerating and near production-ready prototypes now being tested, the automaker confirmed it “will soon be tested on the north loop of the Nurburgring” from where we imagine plenty of additional pics will start appearing.