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Mercedes-AMG Project One speeds into view

Seven Australian customers kept up to date on Mercedes-AMG Project One

20 Sep 2018

FIVE of the seven 350km/h-plus Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercars allocated to Australian customers will be shipped Down Under after production of the 275 units for global consumption starts late next year.


The two other cars are expected to be garaged overseas – presumably in Europe where deliveries will be made – so the owners can enjoy the monstrous performance of the Formula One-derived hybrid powertrain of the left-hand-drive-only two-seater on autobahns and twisty alpine passes.


Mercedes-AMG has released images of a camouflaged prototype being put through its paces in the United Kingdom where much of the powertrain development is being done.


While only a handful of still images of the test car have been made public, video and much more information is being made available to the customers on a private website where they can keep track of the development process.


Officially, the price for the Project One has not been set, but Mercedes-AMG sources at the Frankfurt motor show last year, where the Project One was revealed, quoted a price of €2.27 million ($A3.65m), placing the car at the top end of the hypercar market.


Sales of the Project One are being handled directly from Germany, where payment will be required in euros.


Mercedes-AMG says the development of Project One has moved from behind closed doors at AMG’s Brixworth development centre in the UK to the test track, although it was hard to keep the testing secret from the public because of the “characteristic F1 sound”.


That sound is mainly generated by a screaming 1.6-litre V6 F1 engine that revs to at least 11,000rpm and develops at least 740kW on the dyno.


The engine is mated with electric motors, taking the overall power well beyond 800kW. The final figure is yet to be disclosed.


Two of the motors – 120kW each – are connected to the front axles, while a large motor is connected directly to the mid-mounted petrol V6, F1 style, to drive the rear wheels.


The V6 is force-fed by an electric turbocharger, while the electricity for the motors is stored in a lithium-ion battery taken directly from Mercedes’ Petronas F1 car and mounted in the floor behind the front axle.


This hybrid powertrain is expected to push the Project One from standstill to 200km/h in six seconds.


The Project One also has a gentle side, with up to 25km of electric-only motoring.


The rear hybrid drive channels its power and torque to the rear wheels via a bespoke eight-speed automated gearbox.


Mercedes-AMG describes the development process as “highly complex”, presumably because the F1 technology needs to be tamed for the road where it needs to meet stringent emissions limits and provide worry-free motoring for customers.


“Hundreds of testing hours have already been spent to master the immense challenge of making the high-performance drive unit ready for series production,” sad in a media release with the images released today.


“The whole powertrain including all hybrid components underwent the toughest race track tests on the high-performance dyno tests of HPP's engine specialists in Brixworth.


“The successful completion of the dyno tests was followed by the installation of the highly complex powertrain into the first prototypes, which since then have been driving around unnoticed on a secret test ground in England.”


Britain’s Autocar speculates that secret test track is the Millbrook Proving Ground.


The carbon-fibre construction of the Project One is expected to result in a kerb weight of between 1300kg and 1400kg.


Despite the sky-high price of the Project One, the production run of 275 units was oversubscribed by about four times, with AMG’s best customers getting towards the front of the queue.

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