Mercedes Benz Project One is reality!
At major auto shows around the world, there’s a bunch that’s hoe hum, some occasionally cool stuff, and then there is show-stopping. I ran into the Mercedes Benz AMG Project One at the December L.A. Auto Show press days, and it fits tidily into the latter category.
Time was, racing technology would slowly filter down to street cars, but Benz has seriously moved the bar, dropping their Formula 1 motor into a road chassis, supplemented, of course, with electric motors. The result is a technological marvel akin to the real thing, transformed for mere mortals.
A finished, running concept model of the Project One was unveiled in 2017, driven by no other than Lewis Hamilton.
An aerodynamic dream, built entirely of carbon fiber, the fin and some other parts are stolen directly from the Mercedes F1 car.
Bare bones for weight reduction, the interior is stark but looks comfortable, and I would have shanked a fellow journalist for the opportunity to jump in the driver’s seat had it been offered.
The AMG Project One will use a modified 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 from their Formula One W07 racing machine. Those modifications to the motor being due to the F1 engine, where both idle and redline exceed legal road standards…who knew there was one?
The engine itself produces about 750 HP at a stratospheric 11,000 RPM’s, but in combination with the electrical motors will crank out 1020 HP.
The drivetrain is all-wheel-drive, the front axle being driven solely by two 120 kW electric motors, batteries taken directly from the F1 car.
The trans is a single-clutch automated manual variant, and delivers the engine power to the rear wheels only. The use of a single clutch plate is meant to keep the car lighter.
Of note to prospective owners is that engine will only last about 30,000 miles and will then have to be returned to the factory to be refurbished, a sum likely equivalent to the GDP of Guatemala, but I’m betting most cars will be lucky to see 1,000 miles in their lifetimes.
At the show, Mercedes Benz technicians were keen to point out that the name would undoubtedly change, but the Project One is very close to what it will look like when it goes into production. And when I asked, 0-60 times of “a couple of seconds”, was the answer.
Owning an ultra-high performance, limited run will set you back some serious coin as the price of each of the cars hovered around $3M US. But 1000 people were offered the car, and with only 275 being built, I can only imagine what the Project One will bring on the secondary market. And yes, I use the past tense, as all of the production run was immediately spoken for.