Five years after the prototype was first unveiled and three years after it was initially supposed to go into production, the long-delayed Mercedes-AMG One hypercar is finally ready for primetime. It’s no secret that Mercedes struggled through the car’s development — it’s obviously hard to get a Formula 1 powertrain to work in a road car — but the final product is truly impressive.
The One uses the same 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 as Mercedes’ multiple-championship-winning F1 cars, which on its own makes 566 horsepower. The engine revs to an absurd 11,000 rpm, though the One keeps the rev limiter lower than the race car due to readily available gasoline and long-term durability. It has the same Motor Generator Unit Heat (MGU-H) system as in F1, which features a compressor turbine and exhaust gas turbine connected by a shaft that has a 121-hp electric motor affixed to it. The One’s seven-speed automated manual transmission was designed specifically for the powertrain.
But the One’s powertrain turns things up a few extra notches. There are two 161-hp electric motors on the front axle and a third 161-hp motor mounted directly on the engine and linked to the crankshaft, giving the One all-wheel drive with torque vectoring capabilities. (That makes four electric motors in all.) Total output is 1,049 horsepower, the most of any production Mercedes and more than the initial estimates. All of this is paired with an 8.4-kilowatt-hour battery pack that gives the plug-in One an electric range of 11 miles, better than the GT63 S E Performance plug-in hybrid. Surplus energy from the MGU-H setup can either be fed into the battery or sent to the other three electric motors for a performance boost.
There are six different drive mods, including a full EV mode and two different track-only setups. The One initially starts up in EV mode, with the engine not turning on until the catalytic converters have been preheated. Race Safe mode is the standard function, only using the engine when more power is needed, while Race constantly runs the engine and charges the battery. Race Plus enables the active aerodynamics, lowers the suspension and changes up the powertrain tuning, while Strat 2 firms up the chassis even further and unlocks full power from all four motors, emulating the F1 cars’ qualifying setups. Finally, an Individual mode can be adjusted to the owner’s liking.
Mercedes says the One will hit 62 mph from a stop in 2.9 seconds and reach 124 mph in 7.0 seconds, going on to a top speed of 219 mph. That bests the SLR Stirling Moss by 2 mph, making the One the fastest production Mercedes ever. It has massive carbon-ceramic brakes with ABS, and up to 80 percent of the One’s braking energy can be sent back to the battery through regenerative braking. The awesome magnesium wheels have carbon-fiber aero covers and wear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R M01 tires that were developed specifically for the One. Another innovation is the multilink suspension, which has adaptive dampers, hydraulically adjustable height and special pushrod spring struts at the direction of travel, which increases stiffness and reduces roll.
In terms of design the production One looks identical to the prototypes. Its carbon-fiber body either looks beautiful or like a weird catfish depending on who you talk to — I think it’s a lovely mix of both — and it features some wild aerodynamic solutions. There are active flaps in the nose and the front fenders have active louvers, and the two-piece rear wing also features an adjustable flap. One of my favorite features is the roof scoop that flows into a shark fin bisecting the removable engine covers, which have big NACA ducts and additional vents. Other nice details are the three-rectangle LED light signatures, which echo the AMG logo, and the painted-on Mercedes star on the hood.
The two-seat interior has very few frills. Its rectangular F1-style steering wheel has shift lights and lots of different buttons and switches, including a dial for the nine-stage traction control. The seat backs are only adjustable to two positions, but the steering column is electrically adjustable and the pedals can be mechanically moved to 11 positions. The center tunnel is part of the car’s carbon structure, and it has a storage compartment, USB ports and a few other switches.
There are a pair of 10-inch displays on the dash, one acting as the gauge cluster and the other an infotainment touchscreen above a pair of climate control vents. Unlike hypercars such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie, the One has real side mirrors instead of using cameras and more screens — that makes it street-legal in the US. There’s a camera in place of the rearview mirror though, with the screen mounted in the roof. Electric power windows and air conditioning come standard, and the One even has a special Burmester sound system.
Only 275 units of the One will be built, all of which are spoken for at a cost of nearly $3 million each. The production One will make its public debut in June during the Goodwood Festival of Speed as part of AMG’s 55th birthday celebrations. The One is the sort of once-in-a-lifetime car the likes of which will never get developed again, and it’s frankly shocking that it actually made it to production at all.
Mercedes-AMG One Hypercar Is a Beautiful Catfish With an F1 Engine
Mercedes-AMG Project One: Formula 1 power in a road car