Just a year ago, Mercedes confirmed plans to build a hybrid hypercar to compete with the likes of the Holy Trinity. One could argue that they were quite late to the party, given that the other three cars have been out for years, but the Project One is shaping up to be more than interesting enough to make up the difference.
ON THE OUTSIDE
We know pretty much nothing. The image you see above is the most we’ve seen from Mercedes, who have otherwise remained incredibly tight-lipped about the styling of the Project One. We know it’ll probably have two seats and look as much like an F1 car as Mercedes is allowed to make it, but otherwise it’s anybody’s guess. It will likely have two seats, four wheels, and perhaps a wing which may go up and down.
ON THE INSIDE
Here’s where the party starts. The Project One’s headlining feature is the absolutely tiny 1.6L, turbocharged V6 engine powering the rear wheels, supplemented by two 161-hp electric motors spinning the front wheels. The total of at least 1,000 hp (no exact number has been given) is enough to propel the car to 217 mph. The engine is closely related to that in the Mercedes F1 car, giving it an astronomical 11,000rpm redline; it’s not gonna be hard to annoy your neighbors with this one.
One fun note: since the front electric motors are independently operated, it’s not outside the realm of possibility for Mercedes to allow drivers to shut the front motors off and instead have a fully rear-wheel drive car. Rimac did something similar with the Concept_One, allowing drivers to shunt power from the back to front manually, meaning you could have an entirely front-wheel drive car if you wanted, and both the new M5 and E63 AMG S allow drivers to disable the AWD at will.
Of course, the downside of that engine is one of the most ridiculous maintenance schedules of any car on the market. We’re talking Veyron levels of ridiculous. That’s because the engine is only able to go 31,000 miles, or 50,000 km between rebuilds.
Not services. Rebuilds.
All those revs from those tiny little cylinders really take their toll, and the engine will likely be under insane amounts of stress most of the time. Of course, the Project One’s target audience won’t really care about such trivial matters as completely rebuilding your road-going race engine in half the time it takes for most cars to require a timing belt service. Not to mention that the people who buy this car won’t exactly use it as a daily driver.
Only 275 customer units will be made, with around 50 of those headed to the US, meaning you’ll probably never see one on the road – a fact for which your eardrums will be thankful. Now all that’s left is to give it a sweet set of gullwing doors.