This car is so mind-bendingly fast its computer will decide if you’re a good enough driver to use all of its power.
As recent Formula 1 champs, Mercedes felt a disturbance in the force when rival automaker and racer Aston Martin detailed plans for the AM-RB 001, a hypercar inspired by its racing efforts. That counted as shots fired, so Mercedes pulled the trigger and shot back with what Automobile says AMG insiders are calling the R50. In case you haven't been following the story, the R50 is going to serve as a 50th birthday present to AMG and is said to be inspired by its F1 racer that's currently dominating the competition.
For this car, lap times that rival or even beat those of Formula One racers are plausible. Starting with the engine, it seems that a turbocharged V6 is a possibility, but for now a 2.0-liter four-banger is slated to sit in this car with three electric motors (two at the front, one in the transmission) helping to pump out up to 1,300 horsepower. While these horsepower numbers are impressive, it’s almost comical that Mercedes is either stupidly or arrogantly bringing a four-cylinder hybrid to fight a hybrid V12. Knowing the Tri-Star it’s likely the latter. Drivers will dip into the hardtop Le Mans prototype racer lookalike’s low-slung cockpit through gullwing doors where their tailbones will be millimeters from the road.
In fact, drivers will sit so low that their legs will lie completely horizontal to the ground. Like a Ferrari LaFerrari, the steering wheel and pedals will be adjustable to help ensure that the center of gravity stays righted at all times. To make things more comfortable, the seats will feature inflatable bladders to shape the seat to the driver's body. Interestingly enough, this may be the first hypercar to be so fast and sophisticated that it will come with computer algorithms capable of judging a driver's skill. As the driver gets better the car will allow more intense acceleration and better manage the aerodynamics to allow for more speed through the corners. Speaking of aero features, the R50 will have a lot of them, most of which will be of the active variety.
These include front flaps and a rear spoiler that can act as an air brake, a downforce manager, and a balancer between the front and rear aerodynamic elements to keep the car as controllable as possible. Mastery of the wind is a must as the R50 is expected to weigh less than 2,900 pounds thanks to a carbon fiber monocoque. The car’s computers will be intelligent enough to bring the engine, variable suspension, torque vectoring system, and rear-wheel steering system together by identifying braking points and apexes in a corner to find the fastest line around a track. Like the Dodge Viper ACR, top speed is not the priority here. Instead, the R50 has one mission on its mind: humiliate the AM-RB 001 on every race track.
Still, it will be able to hit 220 mph flat out and accelerate from 0-60 mph in only 2.0 seconds. While we haven’t seen the R50’s face yet, we’re fully expecting it to be one of the stars of the 2016 Paris Motor Show where Mercedes is said to be announcing a production run somewhere between 25 and 250 units, whichever AMG boss Tobias Moers decides is best. It’s worth mentioning that two upper level Daimler executives are pushing for the hypercar to be all-electric or hydrogen fuel cell powered. This extra dose of details on the hypercar is just what we need to whet our appetite. For now we can only speculate on possible powertrains, that is unless AMG decides to leak some more info before Paris hits.