by Karl Furlong
It's been almost five years since the Mercedes-AMG ONE - or Project ONE - was first revealed at the 2017 International Mobility Show in Germany. Conceived as a halo hybrid hypercar with technology derived from Formula 1, Mercedes hasn't denied the fact that figuring out how to adapt the One's phenomenal powertrain for use on the street has been extremely challenging. Now, the long-awaited hypercar has finally been revealed in production form. Devastatingly, all 275 models earmarked for production have not only been sold, but won't be seen on American roads. Mercedes-AMG was unable to comply with US road standards without compromising the car's performance, so we can only appreciate this brute from afar.
Producing 1,049 horsepower from the combination of a 1.6-liter V6 engine and four electric motors, AMG has managed to surpass the promised 1,000-hp mark. That is remarkable for a car it claims can be driven for around 11 miles on electric power alone. Set to challenge the creme de la creme from Koenigsegg, McLaren, and Ferrari, let's delve deeper into the complex hypercar.
Originally intended to come out in 2019, the Mercedes-AMG ONE's original release date has long come and gone. It's finally been revealed in production form, however, and it will be seen in public for the first time at the Festival of Speed at Goodwood in June 2022.
Sadly, Mercedes recently confirmed that due to strict US road standards, the AMG ONE won't be sold here. Doing so would've required too much of a compromise in terms of the car's overall performance and driving character.
The Mercedes-AMG ONE's price doesn't matter at this point as all 275 examples slated for production have already been accounted for. At around $2.7 million MSRP each, we wouldn't be surprised to see lightly used examples of the ONE sell for much more than this when it eventually goes on sale overseas. The car's positioning as the ultimate AMG and its exclusivity will no doubt push up the cost in years to come, and if anyone manages to import it into the States at some point in the future, it'll likely be worth even more here.
Rivals will include extremists like the Koenigsegg Regera - itself a manic hybrid. Although the likes of the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport will cost even more, this is more of a comfortable GT that won't match the AMG One's agility on a track.
Low, long, broad, and with complex active aerodynamic systems in place, the Mercedes-AMG ONE hypercar's exterior shares a lot with the original show car and looks built for speed. The wheel arches are notably large and the rear end is extended, all emphasizing the mid-engine concept. Mercedes-AMG carefully designed elements like the air outlets in the front fenders and the colossal rear spoiler to keep the ONE glued to the ground at all times. The F1-style air intake above the roof and the vertical shark fin are other notable features, the latter improving lateral stability at high speeds. There are active louvers above the front wheel arches, as well as NACA air inlets.
At the back, there is a large central exhaust outlet derived from Formula 1 cars and an enormous diffuser arrangement. The taillights have three diamond-shaped lighting elements that complement the graphic design of the AMG brand logo. Naturally, the car looks especially jaw-dropping when the doors open diagonally forwards and upwards.
The active aerodynamic systems function differently depending on which drive program is selected between Highway, Track, and Race DRS (Drag Reduction System). In the Highway setting, the rear wing is retracted, while Track lowers the car, extends the wing fully, and boosts total downforce up to five times. For high speeds, Race DRS closes the louvers.
The 10-spoke forged aluminum wheels with center lock are a new development. They measure 19 inches in front, 20 inches at the back, and have radial carbon-fiber partial covers. These wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R M01 tires developed specifically for this car. On the rear left side, there is the charging socket for the hybrid battery, while the fuel filler cap is on the opposite side.
The Mercedes-AMG ONE's colors aren't known yet but the pictures here show off a silver car with blue detailing.
The Mercedes-AMG ONE's dimensions have finally been revealed and the result is a car that's significantly longer than a Bugatti Chiron, but also taller and narrower. The AMG One measures 187.2 inches in length, 49.6 inches in height, and 79.1 inches in width. It rides on a 107.1-inch wheelbase. Mercedes-AMG has specified a DIN curb weight figure of 3,737 pounds. The carbon-fiber monocoque body, lightweight titanium rear silencer, and special battery all contribute to keeping the weight down.
The 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engine with F1-derived technology and four electric motors produces 1,049 hp. Due to the complex nature of the powertrain, the manufacturer says that it's not possible to determine a combined torque output. That said, we know that the V6 on its own delivers its peak power at a stratospheric 9,000 rpm, and it can spin all the way to 11,000 rpm. Three electric motors have a combined output of 603 hp while the fourth drives the electric turbocharger rather than directly powering the car.
It's the Mercedes-AMG ONE's complex engine that has delayed the car repeatedly as engineers battle to get it to comply with emissions standards. Two injection systems are used for the V6, with the additional port injection a necessity to comply with exhaust emission limits while simultaneously achieving the engine's extremely high specific power.
The drive system comprises variable AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive with an electrically-driven front axle, torque vectoring, and a hybrid-drive rear axle. Paired with an automated seven-speed manual transmission, performance is awesome. The AMG ONE will reach 62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.9 seconds, 124 mph (200 km/h) in seven seconds dead, and 186 mph (300 km/h) in 15.6. The top speed is just over 218 mph.
How all of these parts work together is quite something. Besides the V6 being able to reach 11,000 rpm, the front electric motors have rotor revolutions of up to 50,000 rpm. Throttle response is said to be even better than that of a naturally-aspirated V8, with the motor inside the turbo eliminating any hint of lag. The fully electrically driven front axle enables individual braking or acceleration of each front wheel, improving dynamism.
The seven-speed automated manual transmission is activated hydraulically. Complementing the powertrain is a sophisticated suspension with a multi-link design at both ends. There are a total of six drive programs: Race Safe, Race, EV, Race Plus, Strat 2, and Individual. Race Plus and Strat 2 are for use on the track only, with Strat 2 enabling "full power from all motors as in Formula 1 qualifying." This mode firms up the suspension and lowers the car. At the other end of the spectrum is the fully electric EV program. The standard program is Race Safe which allows for all-electric starts and on-demand hybrid driving, only firing up the V6 when more power is needed.
An important piece of the puzzle is the high-performance battery with a capacity of just 8.4 kWh. The lithium-ion energy storage system is also derived from F1, with an advanced cooling system and 800-volt architecture to reduce cable diameters. This saves space and weight.
An all-electric range of around 11 miles isn't much, but this is a unique feature in the hypercar realm. Mercedes claims that the AMG ONE will return a combined weighted fuel consumption figure of 8.7 liters per 100 km, which translates to around 27 mpg. EPA ratings should be lower, but they'll never be published since the AMG One isn't coming to America. Still, over 25 mpg for a hypercar with this much performance is a towering achievement.
Charging of the battery is done via alternating current and the 3.7 kW onboard charger. The battery is also boosted by the engine or energy from recuperation. No charging times were indicated by the automaker.
No other Mercedes feels as close to an F1 machine from behind the wheel as this one. The Mercedes-AMG ONE's interior trades luxury for what is an exotic, racy cabin based around the driver. There is room for one passenger to sit alongside the driver, and the Mercedes-AMG ONE's seats are buckets that are integrated into the monocoque. The F1-style steering wheel stands out with its flattened top and bottom sections, and it is littered with controls for the driving modes and suspension. There are two 10-inch screens displaying the most pertinent information, the one in the center angled in the direction of the driver.
As for materials, the cabin's seats are finished in black Dinamica microfiber that will hold occupants in place. Bits of Nappa leather and door panels in high-grade carbon fiber complete the look. The AMG Motorsport seat pans can be adjusted in two positions: 25 or 30 degrees. The steering wheel is power-adjustable and the pedal box is adjustable in eleven steps. Even the passenger footrest is individually adjustable.
The Mercedes-AMG ONE's interior colors are predominantly dark, although Magma Grey seat inserts and yellow contrast topstitching do liven up the environment a bit. It remains to be seen how much customization is available to those 275 lucky customers, but the company did say other colors are available.
Because rearward visibility is impacted by the vertical rear wing, Mercedes-AMG opted not to use a traditional rearview mirror. Instead, the ONE has a MirrorCam integrated into the rear that displays real-time footage.
While the Mercedes-AMG ONE's cargo space won't concern anyone buying this car, at least there are storage compartments behind the seats for stashing odds and ends and a central compartment for a fire extinguisher.
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