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  • One promise: the Mercedes-AMG Project One.
    1

    Birth of a legend.

    It all started with a dream of bringing original Formula 1 technology to the streets. That dream is now set to become reality. Tobias Moers, head of Mercedes-AMG, presents the Mercedes-AMG Project One show car.

    Text: Hendrik Lakeberg | Photos: Benjamin Pichelmann

A hypercar.

The dream began with the customers. As Tobias Moers travelled around the world, many customers told him that they wanted AMG to do something that had never been seen before: a hypercar – bolder, faster and more powerful than anything the Mercedes-Benz sports car brand had built to date. “A high flyer,” they insisted, “a real AMG creation.” The head of Mercedes-AMG was happy to hear this, having already had similar thoughts himself. But back then in 2013, five years ago, other plans were in the works, such as the Mercedes-AMG GT. “But I never forgot about the high flyer,” Moers recalls.You could call the next part of the story a coincidence or a twist of fate.

Mercedes-AMG GT:
Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 11,4 l/100 km;
CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert: 261 g/km.1

Under Moers’ leadership, AMG unveiled its first vehicles to be developed completely independently, including the Mercedes-AMG Project One.

Under Moers’ leadership, AMG unveiled its first vehicles to be developed completely independently, including the Mercedes-AMG Project One.

The black vertical shark fin on the roof of the AMG Project One is not just a distinctive design feature.

The black vertical shark fin on the roof of the AMG Project One is not just a distinctive design feature.


Without too many compromises.

Some time later, Moers called Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) in Brixworth. HPP develops the Formula 1 engines that have made Mercedes so successful within motorsport’s premier racing discipline. In the past, Cowell had occasionally wondered aloud whether it would be possible to put a Formula 1 engine into a street-legal sports car without making too many compromises.

And now Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach made the friendly enquiry: “Can you do it?” And so it began.


The superlatives come out in abundance.

The preliminary result was presented at the 2017 IAA for the 50th anniversary of Mercedes-AMG. “It was probably the craziest idea I’d ever had,” laughs Tobias Moers in the company’s design studio. In front of him stands the experimental vehicle that emerged from this initial idea: the high flyer. AMG calls it Project One. Walking around the two-seater, Moers gives a detailed account of the sports car that is expected to make history. Bringing Formula 1 technology to the street in such an uncompromising manner has never been done before. Only 275 units are being built and all of the vehicles are already ­allocated – despite the hefty net price tag of €2.275 million. The superlatives come out in abundance when looking at the technical data too: a top speed in excess of 350 km/h, a system output of over 1,000 PS, 0 to 200 km/h in under 6 seconds. The Formula 1 engine can get to 11,000 rpm – which is also a record.


It is supported by a highly integrated and intelligently connected unit consisting of a 1.6-litre V6 hybrid petrol engine paired with a total of four electric motors: one built into the turbocharger, one in the combustion engine that works on the crankshaft, and two more on the front axle. These are the specifications.

Rather more difficult to describe is the allure – the feeling triggered by the Mercedes-AMG Project One. There is hardly a single element which is not radical in one way or another. “We are entering new territory with this vehicle,” says Moers.


Product of an unusual collaboration: the 500 kW engine is concealed under the air vents at the rear.

Product of an unusual collaboration: the 500 kW engine is concealed under the air vents at the rear.


Not a single gram of fat.

Many of the components are made of carbon fibre in order to save weight: the monocoque, the cooling system. Carbon dominates the interior and the bonnet. Some of the engine parts are so intricately designed that they were produced specifically for the vehicle on a 3D printer, in conjunction with Mercedes-Benz. There is not a single gram of fat to be found anywhere on this model. Every detail is aerodynamically optimised to ensure the vehicle glides over the tarmac as smoothly as possible. The fin, which incorporates the roof-mounted oval air inlet and extends down the rear of the car, adds an interesting touch to the elegant, droplet-shaped exterior. And more importantly, it ensures lateral stability at high speeds. The decision was made to raise the air intake slightly, rather than positioning it directly on the roof, in order to assist aerodynamic efficiency.


A calm design language.

Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG, told Moers: “If you need it like that then do it like that.” At first glance, the body of the vehicle is reminiscent of a streamlined, powerful shark, with the fin on the roof and the adjustable ventilation louvres in the front wheel arches that look like gills. A calm design language was deliberately chosen as a confident counterweight to the dizzying accomplishments of the vehicle’s highly ­advanced technology. Sitting in a bucket seat covered with soft leather – the seat back is adjustable – the driver gets to grips with the slender, F1-style rectangular steering wheel.

The rest of the interior has also been pared down to the essentials. Two screens control the infotainment system. The rear-view mirror is in actual fact a screen which displays images from a camera mounted underneath the fin. As with the exterior, the interior is not about impact, but about clean design that assists driving performance in the best way possible.


Tobias Moers and his team asked themselves a lot of questions when they were developing the hypercar. After all, transferring F1 technology directly to a road vehicle had never been done before.

Tobias Moers and his team asked themselves a lot of questions when they were developing the hypercar. After all, transferring F1 technology directly to a road vehicle had never been done before.

The spectacular rear of the hypercar looks like a high-tech mountain range. Despite the F1 engine’s incredible 11,000 rpm, the Mercedes-AMG Project One can also be driven as a normal road car.

The spectacular rear of the hypercar looks like a high-tech mountain range.


The brand’s DNA.

“We think entirely from a product perspective,” says Moers. “We organise everything according to the intended ­result.” This ­approach is embedded in the brand’s DNA. But the Mercedes-AMG Project One also ­represents a turning point. The EQ Power+ high performance plug-in hybrid drive system indicates the direction Mercedes-AMG wants to take. The combustion engine has recently been taken even closer to perfection. The challenge now is to integrate new hybrid technologies and electrotechnologies. And that’s not the only challenge: the Affalterbach-based company is a technological pioneer when it comes to Mercedes-Benz series production vehicles too.

The soul and substance characteristic of a genuine Mercedes-AMG will of course be apparent especially when the hypercar hits the Nordschleife and the world’s other race tracks, but also during everyday driving, thanks to the comfort mode. So, will it be possible to take the Mercedes-AMG Project One out on the road for a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive in the future? “Of course,” says Tobias Moers, smiling as he adds, “if anyone were to have such a crazy idea.”