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Mercedes-AMG Project One First Look

This is finally it

This is finally it

For the last several years, Mercedes-AMG has been hard at work on a car that brings Formula 1 technology to the streets. Over the last year, it has endlessly teased us with little bits of information about the upcoming hypercar. After what feels like forever, though, we finally get our first look at the long-awaited $2.7 million USD Project One.

Mercedes calls this the Project One Showcar, suggesting there might be some changes between what we see here and the 275 cars that will finally be delivered to customers. But despite technically being a concept, it looks essentially production-ready. And although the design isn’t quite as out there as the Aston Martin Valkyrie, one look at that gaping front end and roof scoop lets you know the Project One will still be plenty wild. There are hints of the CLK GTR in the design, air intakes that recall current AMG cars like the E63, and a black shark fin that won’t let you forget the Project One’s racing heritage. Out back, a two-stage deployable wing, a massive two-piece diffuser, and a huge central exhaust complete the look.

Inside, the cabin is sparse by most standards. Compared to an actual Formula 1 car, though, it’s surprisingly luxurious. There’s seating for two, power windows, an infotainment system, air conditioning, and a small storage space for your phone. The Project One even has space behind the seats for storage—super practical. The seats are covered mostly in microfiber, though there are a few pieces of Nappa leather and a sports mesh that Mercedes says improves air circulation in the seat. But no matter how close to a normal supercar the rest of the cabin looks, there’s no way to miss the F1-inspired steering wheel.

The car uses a multilink pushrod suspension with adjustable coil-overs in both the front and rear of the car, which Mercedes says almost completely eliminates body roll while still providing a comfortable on-road ride. The wheels, meanwhile, are center-locking forged aluminum and partially covered in carbon fiber. Mercedes claims they improve airflow and help quickly dissipate heat from the brakes. Up front, the Project One gets 285/35 ZR 19 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, and the rear wheels are wrapped in slightly larger 335/30 ZR 20s. As you might expect, the brakes are AMG carbon ceramics.

The real story, though, is the F1-derived hybrid powertrain. Mercedes already revealed most of the relevant details when it showed off the powertrain earlier this year, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. The system pairs an electrically turbocharged 1.6-liter V-6 with a set of 120-kW electric motors to create a 1,000-hp, all-wheel-drive track monster. Mercedes says the engine’s redline is an incredible 11,000 rpm, while the motors rev all the way to 50,000 rpm.

The battery cells and the cell cooling system, meanwhile, are reportedly pulled directly from the F1 car and arranged the same way. There’s just more of them to improve the Project One’s electric range and make it a more usable road car. In fact, it has an all-electric range of more than 15 miles (24 km). That’s not enough to challenge the Chevrolet Bolt, but it’s still respectable for a hypercar.

The engine is also very close to what Mercedes uses in its F1 car, making approximately 700 hp. That power is sent to the rear wheels via a new eight-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted with paddles or driven in automatic mode. And because the turbocharger is electronically assisted, there should be practically no turbo lag.

Based on the figures Mercedes has provided, acceleration should be face-meltingly quick. The Project One’s top speed is said to be greater than 217 mph (350 km/h), which is impressive but not mind-blowing. The 0-124-mph (0-200-km/h) time, however, is said to be less than 6 seconds. That’s at least a half-second quicker than the Bugatti Chiron and absolutely insane.

Project One makes its official debut at the Frankfurt auto show this week.