Upon its release way back when, Bugatti’s Veyron appeared to be an anomaly. With its 1,000-plus horsepower and a base price of $1.7 million USD, the term “supercar” seemed too mild—too sedate—to adequately describe it. It wasn’t a mere car; it was a feat of engineering. It’s the vehicle that inspired the term “hypercar,” and everything about it was considered so extreme, it seemed as if the Veyron would go down in history as one of those once-in-a-generation wonders of the world.
But of course, when other car manufacturers saw that people were willing to drop that kind of coin on what essentially boils down to four wheels and an engine, they were quick to offer their own takes on the hypercar. Bespoke companies like Pagani made its unpronounceable Huayra; tried-and-true Aston Martin entered the fray with its artful Valkyrie; Bugatti quickly re-entered the market with its Chiron. Koenigsegg wants to one-up the whole segment by creating what it calls the first “megacar” (meaning it outputs a full Megawatt of energy): the One:1. And now Mercedes-Benz has come along with its impressive AMG Project One.
There’s a lot to love about the AMG Project One, starting with its Formula 1-sourced powertrain. The same power plant that helped Louis Hamilton clinch yet another championship is nestled right in the middle of the advanced composite chassis. It starts with a 1.6-liter V6, retuned to idle at a reasonable 1,000 rpm and redline limited to 11,000 rpm. For comparison, in the F1 car this engine idles at approximately 4,000 rpm and screams all the way up to 13,500 rpm.
A massive single turbo sits at the back of the engine and is connected to a 107-horsepower electric motor. This electric motor helps keep the turbo spinning at all times—eliminating the lag associated with most turbochargers—and also recaptures heat energy, which it sends to the battery pack for storage.
Sometimes this battery pack will send power to the 161-horsepower electric motor that sits right on the engine’s crankshaft. Much like the “push to pass” systems used in Formula 1, this electric motor gives the AMG Project One an extra boost of power — you know, like when a Lamborghini is blocking your way on the Autobahn. Straying from the F1 formula are two additional electric motors whose 322 combined horsepower help drive the front wheels. For those feeling green, these last two motors can also be used to propel the AMG Project One drive in pure EV mode, though only for 25 kilometres or so.
Measuring the total power output of a system with multiple motors is a blend of art, science, and magic. Here, Mercedes-Benz claims that the AMG Project One’s total power output is in excess of 1,000 horsepower. An AMG SPEEDSHIFT 8-speed manual transmission transfers that power to the ground for some even more impressive numbers. 0-60 times mean nothing in this world, so Mercedes-Benz is touting this car’s sub-6-second 0-124 mph (0-200 kph) acceleration time. Top speed is said to be over 350 kph, or 217 mph.
But let’s be honest: no one is really buying this car for the speed. They’re buying it for the stares. That carbon-composite bodywork is as functional as it is beautiful, its body sculpted for maximum aerodynamic performance as well as maximum boulevard domination.
The inside of the AMG Project One brings a mix of pure F1 performance and true Mercedes-Benz elegance. Two fixed, minimalist bucket seats cradle and keep occupants in place, and with their Nappa leather inlays and textile mesh insets, they also bring a fair bit of drama and style. Glass displays compliment the Formula 1-inspired steering wheel, which, like the pedals, can be moved forward and back to tailor their fit to the driver.
Mercedes-Benz has gone on record stating that they will build just 275 examples of the AMG Project One. Given its combination of exclusivity and performance pedigree, it would be safe to say that the most shocking thing about this car is its price tag of approximately $2.75 million USD. But no — what’s truly shocking about the AMG Project One is that each and every one of them is already sold.