It seems as if talks of BMW building a supercar will never cease. Every time the topics of the BMW M8 or M1 come up, the conversation almost always leads to BMW building a supercar, or never building one. Fans are obsessed with this idea and have been begging BMW to do so for a long time. Turns out, Mercedes-AMG seems to have heard similar calls from its fanbase and it’s making a supercar. Except that the folks in Affalterbach are taking it one step further and making a hypercar instead. This Mercedes-AMG Project One has been unveiled and will make its debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show later this week.
Some will argue that the BMW i8 is a supercar, as it sports an exotic powertrain that’s mounted in the middle of the car and it uses a carbon fiber tub, like a McLaren. It also has crazy doors and wild looks. Though, it isn’t particularly super. This Mercedes-AMG Project One will have very super performance, indeed. Some would say hyper performance…Okay, I’ll see myself out.
All stupid jokes aside, this Mercedes-AMG Project One seems like it could be one of the most exciting road-going hypercars to ever hit public streets. Firstly, it looks like a proper hypercar. Maybe it’s looks aren’t as flamboyant or as pretty as the BMW i8 but it looks every bit as exciting as, say, something like the McLaren P1. It’s low, mean and angry, with scoops and gills everywhere. But the most noticeable aspect of its exterior has to be that roof-mounted intake that leads into a hilariously massive roof fin. It sort of makes the car look like Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy. It does look cool, though, and like a proper racing car.
On the inside, it looks like Mercedes-AMG decided to mix and match its Formula One car’s cabin with its road car technology. So you still get the dual screen setup of its road cars, one for the instrument panel and one for infotainment, but the rest is full-on race car. The steering wheel is basically a Formula One rectangular wheel with an airbag and it has enough switches and buttons on it to make it seem like it controls a space shuttle. Not sure what those could possibly be for on a road car but they sure look cool. The rest of the cabin is carbon fiber, with some leather here and there, and there are more fun switches and buttons that make it seem like a genuine race car cockpit. Just one from the future, of course.
To be fair to Mercedes-AMG, though, it isn’t just inspired by the Formula One car. It almost is the Mercedes-AMG Formula One car. Its powertrain is almost the same as in the car Lewis Hamilton races in. It uses a revised-for-road-use variant of the same electrically turbocharged, 1.6-litre V6 that’s used in the Mercedes-AMG W08 EQ Power+ race car. It’s also paired with two electric motors, a MGU-K (motor generation unit – kinetic) and MGU-H (motor generation unit – heat), as well as a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), just like the Formula One car. All of that power is send through an eightpseed SPEEDSHIFT automated transmission to the rear wheels.
The biggest difference, though, between the Project One and the F1 car is the fact that the former is all-wheel drive. So while that F1-derived hybrid powertrain sends power to the rear wheels, there will be two electric motors at the front that power the front wheels. That gives it real-time torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, just like the BMW i8, only more powerful. Total system output power is said to be over 1,000 hp. That allows it to get from 0-124 mph in under six seconds and will have a top speed of 217 mph. That’s remarkably quick.
This new Mercedes-AMG Project One is the exact sort of car BMW fans wish their favorite brand would make. Admittedly, it’s a bit easier for Mercedes-AMG to do, as it already has a Formula One team in place. BMW doesn’t, so this sort of tech would be very expensive to make without such a team. However, it is really impressive and its presence might spring BMW to attempt a supercar in the future.