Mercedes-AMG have been very hard at work on their special project, the Mercedes-AMG One. The CEO of Mercedes-Benz, Ola Kallenius also said that the board were likely drunk when they gave the green light to the project going forward. Teasers have been given to us for a very, very long time and the result? Actual Formula One tech in a road-going car, which is now finally in production.
Now, with the words “F1 Tech” in the headline the main talking point will be, well, the power! One hybrid petrol engine and 4 electric motors produce an eye-watering 1063HP, and the engine has been developed closely in collaboration with Mercedes HPP (High Performance Powertrains) in Brackley and Brixworth, the same division which develops and builds the engines for the actual Mercedes F1 cars! The electric motors have also been placed strategically- one is integrated into the turbocharger, one is installed on the combustion engine and the final two drive the front wheels.
The engine revs upto 11,000RPM and has deliberately been capped such that it doesn’t reach F1 levels and can actually be durable enough to be used on the road! Pneumatic springs have been used as opposed to mechanical springs to achieve high engine speeds. The exhaust gas and compressor turbine are connected by a shaft, which has a 90kW electric motor which drives the turbocharger draft directly at a rate of about 100,000RPM. What’s just been explained here is the F1 MGU-H (Heat), which has been modified and redesigned to be utilised in this car!
Boost pressure is maintained at all times, even when the driver doesn’t have their foot on the pedals. There is also a version of the MGU-K (Kinetic), which is positioned on the combustion engine and has a power output of 120kW, and any of the wasted energy from the exhaust is repurposed and can either be utilised to recharge the hybrid battery pack or be used to drive the MGU-K. With all these optimisations, Mercedes say that all these optimisations and the use of various technologies make this V6 engine faster than a naturally-aspirated V8. This is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox, and 0-200 can take a mere 7 seconds depending on the drive mode!
4MATIC makes an appearance here, with fully variable AWD and the rear axle being driven by a hybrid powertrain. The li-on energy storage system has shown its potential in the Mercedes F1 cars, and is used here as well. Fast energy draw and high power density mean that while on a drive, the uphill portions can be covered with ease as full power can be allocated for the purpose, while downhill driving allows for battery regeneration. A 3.7kW charger charges the battery which has a capacity of 8.4kWh which can provide for 18.1KM of purely electric range.
The car has 6 drive modes, which range from pure electric driving to a racetrack mode. These include EV, Race, Race Safe, Race Plus, Strat 2 and Individual. The eagle-eyed F1 fans might have their eyes and ears perked up at seeing “Strat 2”, for it is an F1 term which denotes full power, and is used mainly in qualifying! Strat 2 makes the suspension firm, lowers the car, activates aerodynamic features and calls for all motors to give their full power. This is a mode reserved specifically for the racetrack, and for those who wish to chase after a laptime improvement to the hundredth of a second!
The suspension is multi-link and has new push-rod technology, and works well along with the high-strength carbon fiber monocoque picked up straight from F1. The chassis is aluminium construction, and the springs and damper have been arranged in a manner such that there is no rolling, even during rapid directional changes such as during a race scenario. The aero aspect of the car has the capability to lower the chassis by upto 37mm on the front axle and 30mm on the rear axle. ABS is present, and ESP is enabled by default in all modes except the track modes, where it can be turned off. There is also an ESP Sport Handling Mode which allows for high yaw angles without compromising on safety.
There is an option between 10-spoke forged aluminium and 9-spoke forged magnesium wheels exclusively for the AMG One, and the wheels have a patented bionic design which is lightweight yet rigid. The wheels chosen are Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R M01 tyres, which have specifically been developed for the One. AMG-specific carbon-fibre ceramic high-performance composite brakes are standard, which can slow down the car from whatever speed it is travelling at to a standstill in a matter of a few metres, while also being durable enough for regular use.
The front of the car is adorned by a white AMG logo and of course the Mercedes star, while large air intakes on the left and right are complemented by U-shaped air deflectors and divided by transverse fins. Air outlets on the side of the car channel hot air to pass unhindered directly into the air intake on top of the roof. Louvers on the front wheel arches also further increase front downforce. The air intake is inspired by F1, allowing the engine to draw in fresh air when needed.
On the rear, the diffuser is a two-part system which brings aerodynamic efficiency and performance advantage as well. The rear wing is a two-piece system, and is retractable with an integrated adjustable flap. The large outlet exhaust surrounded by two smaller exhausts has also been inspired by the F1 cars.
Another highlight are the active aerodynamics. There are 3 modes- Highway, track and Race DRS. The rear wing and louvers can be retracted and deployed in a fraction of a second at just a press of a button!
The interior is also specifically designed to be minimal yet functional. The steering wheel has also been inspired and styled to be exactly like an F1 car’s steering wheel, with features like a shift light and also various buttons to engage and disengage certain functionalities of the car. There is no interior mirror- it is replaced by a screen which shows realtime footage directly onto the windscreen.
All this means that the car will be very, very unique by nature, and it’s availability will also follow suit. Only 275 models are expected to be produced, and don’t expect the pricetag to be cheap either. Considering its troubled development history, the fact that this car even made it to the production line is quite remarkable. Even before the launch, it has been touted as being in direct competition to the Aston Martin Valkyrie, which arrived on the scene first and is already well-established on its own. Regardless of all this though, the AMG One is the closest we’ll get to a proper F1 experience in a roadcar as of now!