Mercedes AMG Debuts Project ONE Prototype in Frankfurt

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Project ONE show car aims to bring the newest era of F1 tech to the road.

If anyone says speed is dead, use this as evidence that they couldn’t be more wrong. Debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes has pulled the covers off of their Project ONE hypercar. A car that aims to take the current era of Formula 1 hybrid technology from the main straight to Main Street, and to mark the 50th anniversary of Mercedes’ partnership with AMG.

Using a F1-derived 1.6-liter V6 engine, the Project ONE hypercar utilizes the efficiency of the F1 powertrain along with advances in hybrid technology. Two electric motors assist the gasoline engine, with one connected directly to the crankshaft and one to electrically assist the turbocharger system. Unlike most turbos, the Mercedes unit has the input and output shaft located separate from each other to make it more efficient. This configuration also allows for an electric assist for the turbo, which essentially reduces lag down to zero. Mercedes claims the throttle response is quicker than a naturally-aspirated V8 motor.

The charged-up potential doesn’t end there, as two more electric motors power each front wheel. In addition to providing a pure electric drive, the motors can push and pull the front end wherever it needs to be for vastly improved dynamic handling. And with all four motors at work from a standstill, the sprint to 200kmh (about 115 miles per hour) is done in under six seconds. Other numbers include a top speed of over 215 miles per hour and a total combined output equivalent of 1,000 horsepower.

On the outside, AMG has crafted a rather-unique front fascia, with a low and wide greenhouse for the passenger compartment. Overall the shape is smooth, with airflow rather than extreme scoops and angles as the main takeaway. Out back, a tail fin fitting of a Formula 1 car juts out from the roof towards the rear of the car and is met with an adjustable rear wing.

Interior highlights include an F1-inspired steering wheel and a simple, yet functional interior. Three screens provide the driver with all vital info (including one that replaces a rear-view mirror), but otherwise, the interior showcases the use of integral and structural carbon fiber.

What does this all mean for Mercedes-AMG? Mercedes-AMG head of management Tobias Moers gives some unique insight: “The hypercar is the most ambitious project we have ever undertaken. It marks yet another pinnacle of the successful, strategic development of Mercedes-AMG towards a performance and sports car brand. Project ONE raises the bar in terms of what is currently technologically feasible and thanks to its combination of efficiency and performance it represents an absolute benchmark. At the same time, Project ONE provides an outlook on how AMG will define driving performance in the future.”

Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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