BMW revealed one of the best looking supercar concepts of the past decade, a few years back–the BMW Vision M NEXT. It was a stunning plug-in hybrid throwback to the iconic BMW M1, with styling that perfectly honored the original’s Giugiaro-penned design, while still looking forward, toward the future of electrification. Fans were in love. I had the good fortune to see the Vision M NEXT at the 2019 Monterey Car Week and it was even better looking in the metal than in photos. Then, after all the love and hype, BMW cancelled the project. To say fans were deflated would be a gross understatement.
Now, fast forward a few years, the all-new Mercedes-AMG One is an genuine production supercar that is almost every BMW fans wanted the Vision M NEXT to become. As a BMW fan, it’s impossible for the news of the AMG One to not sting. Not only is there a car similar to what fans wanted from BMW but it comes from BMW’s fiercest rival.
The Mercedes-AMG One is actually every car enthusiast’s dream come to life, using a genuine Formula 1 engine for the road. Admittedly, it’s a bit more complicated than that in reality, and its on-paper performance figures aren’t as impressive as its specs would suggest, but it’s still an amazing machine, one that makes BMW fans wonder what could have been.
Powering the AMG One is a 1.6 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the same one used in Mercedes-AMG’s Formula 1 cars. That tiny turbo-four is paired with four (!) electric motors. One of the electric motors is used solely to power the turbocharger. The two turbines of the turbocharger, one for the exhaust gases and one for compression, are separated by a shaft and on that shaft is an electric motor that can power the turbocharger until exhaust gasses can take over.
Another electric motor is connected to the engine, to help power the rear wheels, a la the BMW i8, and two more electric motors power the front axle, one for each wheel. Total system power is 1,063 horsepower and the engine revs to 11,000 rpm. So it will feel and sound like a proper Formula 1 engine, just with all-wheel drive and an all-electric mode. Albeit, the latter can only drive the car for 11 miles, thanks to its small 8.4 kWh battery.
According to AMG, this new hybrid supercar will hit 62 mph in 2.9 seconds, go from 0-124 mph in 7.0 seconds flat, and reach a top speed of 219 mph. All of those figures are impressive but aren’t even as good as some normal, far less expensive supercars. Still, the AMG is the closest thing to an F1 car for the road as you’ll ever get.
The chassis is made entirely from carbon, as is the body, and it gets a stripped-out cabin with fixed seat bases and carbon fiber everywhere. Surprisingly, it still weighs 3,737 lbs, which is heavier than I expected a car with a 1.6 liter engine made almost entirely from carbon to weigh. I guess that’s what four electric motors and a battery pack will do.
Only 275 Mercedes-AMG Ones will be built, all of which will cost $3 million and are already bought and paid for. So any excuse from BMW that a plug-in hybrid supercar wouldn’t sell is flat-out not true. It just needs to be desirable enough. The AMG One costs more than a Bugatti Chiron and 275 people still bought it without even driving it.
BMW had the perfect–literally perfect–car to showcase its best performance technology, in the Vision M NEXT. It could have been the first-ever from-the-ground-up M car, a plug-in hybrid powertrain that fixed all of the i8’s issues, had gorgeous M1-inspired styling, and all of the best electrified technology BMW could muster. Fans would have loved it, collectors would have bought up the likely limited allocation before it even officially went on sale, and BMW would be back in the headlines as a maker of astonishing machines. Instead, we’re getting a nearly three-ton SUV with a face its mother can’t even love. At least AMG is making a cool supercar…