What can we expect from the Mercedes-AMG Project One concept car?

There were colourful lights, music and dancers on a vast floodlit platform at Frankfurt’s International Motor Show.

The audience of luxury car enthusiasts and global motoring journalists were assembled for the unveiling of a special prototype from Mercedes.

“I think you know what’s coming,” said the flamboyantly moustachioed Mercedes-Benz head Dieter Zetsche into his microphone.

All image credits unless stated: Daimler

But did we? There’s a lot of unknowns with concept cars, so what can we really expect from the Mercedes-AMG Project One?

Launched with a sprinkling of stardust

A sudden, momentous engine noise came from backstage, as the automobile behemoth’s new concept car was driven slowly into view.

The driver’s door swivelled spectacularly outwards and upwards, and three-time World Formula One Champion Lewis Hamilton stepped out to an ovation.

Hamilton was the perfect person to support the launch of the astonishing Project One. At the launch he demonstrated how this hybrid hypercar is designed to take Formula One performance from Grand Prix circuits, and transform it for roads around the world.

Formula One performance for the open road

The Project One doesn’t just take inspiration from Hamilton’s Mercedes F1 car, it’s practically the same – with a few small tweaks made to core features for comfort on the open road.

It offers sensational track-style performance on normal roads. While many sports cars boast of reaching 60mph from a standstill in six seconds, Project One is set to reach 124mph in the very same time.

The key technical feature is that it uses the same 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engine as Hamilton’s F1 car. Many manufacturers have previously tried to create a racing car for the road. Some have come very close. But, here the Mercedes and AMG designers have found success in virtually fitting a body and two seats to the F1 chassis.

To give you a taste of the action, this is a road-legal car with an engine that will rev to a staggering 11,000rpm. Like the F1 machine, Project One’s drivetrain includes four electric motors which, together with the petrol V6, can produce ‘in excess of 1,000bhp’ and a top speed ‘above 217mph.’

Only 275 models of the car are due to be built in 2019. These have all been snapped up and sold already, before buyers have had the chance to see the car. The cost? A cool £2.4 million each!

Technological superiority ready for 2019

 The advanced engineering of the Project One includes rechargeable air-cooled lithium batteries, adjustable suspension, carbon ceramic brakes, and adjustable traction control.

Project One can even operate in electric-only mode, essentially becoming a four-wheel drive electric supercar (albeit with a range of just 15 miles.)

Drivers have the ability to switch between driving modes that range from settings used by Hamilton to a reduced-power ‘everyday’ mode.

There may be two carbon-fibre adjustable bucket seats inside but the driver’s controls retain the general look and feel of a track car. All major controls are placed on the rectangular steering wheel within a thumb’s reach, including paddles to shift the eight-speed gearbox. Expecting to see commonplace wing mirrors? Instead, cameras display views on three screens that also feature vital driving information!

Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG, says “Project One is the hottest AND coolest car we have ever designed. It combines our design philosophy of sensual purity with the performance of our Formula One racing cars and is the perfect embodiment of performance luxury.”

Image credit: istockphoto.com/BondMatia

Excitingly for car lovers and tech enthusiasts across the globe, Mercedes bosses are currently planning to unleash the car on the Nürburgring, where they claim it’s likely to break the lap record set by a Porsche 956 race car in 1986.

I, like many other car enthusiasts, wait with baited breath to see this world class concept car become a reality.

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