Unveiled at an event on the eve of the show by Mercedes F1 star Lewis Hamilton, the Project One is designed to bring the technology created by the brand’s Grand Prix team to road cars. Its all-wheel-drive powertrain is a reworked version of the F1 unit, combining a 1.6-litre V6 turbo petrol engine with four electric motors.
The mid-mounted engine reaches speeds of 11,000rpm while the two electric motors in the front axle can reach a remarkable 50,000rpm. The car is so fast that instead of the usual 0-62mph time its makers quote a 0-124mph time, of a mere six seconds, and a top speed of more than 218mph. Complete figures are to be announced as the car still has more than a year’s development ahead of it before going on sale.
The car uses a lithium-ion battery pack that can be recharged by kinetic energy recovery from braking and coasting, and by more traditional plug-in methods. Project One will also be able to undertake short journeys, up to 16 miles, in all-electric mode as a front-wheel-drive car.
According to Mercedes-Benz chairman Dr Dieter Zetsche, the Project One is the realisation of a long-held dream of engineers to bring motor racing technology to the road. “Motorsport is not an end in itself for us – faced with intense competition, we develop technologies from which our production vehicles also subsequently benefit,” Zetsche says. “We are drawing on our experiences and successes from three constructors’ and drivers’ world championships to bring Formula 1 technology to the road for the first time.”
Mercedes intends to make just 275 examples of the Project One, at a price equivalent to around £2.08 million, and apparently all are already reserved. First customers should see their cars by mid 2019.