The Pinnacle – Mercedes-AMG ONE
Perhaps one of the ultimate automotive ‘what if?’ questions is ‘what if a Formula 1 car was developed for the road?’. The Mercedes-AMG ONE answers that question in convincing and dramatic fashion.
From 2014 to present, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team have won eight back-to-back F1 Constructor’s Championships and seven back-to-back F1 Driver’s Championships. These commanding performances served as a spark of inspiration for Mercedes-Benz, and the first concept – then called the Project One – was introduced in 2017. The engineering needed for taming an F1 engine for street use was a towering feat, and Mercedes-AMG engineers worked closely with their F1 counterparts over the course of the ONE’s development. The 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 revs to 11,000 rpm and, on its own, produces a remarkable 566 hp. A combination of four-electric motors fill out the remaining power delivery for a total of 1,063 hp. Each of the front wheels uses an electric motor, producing a total of 326 hp and ensuring absolute traction and torque vectoring is always at-hand. The remaining two-electric motors take direct inspiration from F1 systems and work with the engine. A Motor Generator Unit-Heat (MGU-H) is coupled to the turbocharger and produces 121 hp, it works by collecting energy from heat and rotating mass, then operating to keep the turbocharger constantly spooled for maximum boost and throttle response. The final Motor Generator Unit-Kinetic (MGU-K) is coupled to the engine’s crankshaft, it works by converting energy produced during braking into electricity that can be deployed on acceleration. The lithium-ion energy storage systems are another direct adaptation from Mercedes-AMG’s F1 cars. With an 8.4 kWh capacity, its highly dense energy can be called upon instantaneously, and recuperate quickly under driving conditions. Charging can also be done via the 3.7 kW (AC) on-board charger. Drivers can expect up-to 18 km of all-electric driving range.
Similar to its F1 counterparts, the ONE’s V6 engine utilizes a robust seven-speed automated manual transmission with four carbon-clutches to send power to the rear-wheels. With extensive use of carbon for its central chassis and body, the ONE’s overall mass of 1,695 kg is exceptionally lightweight. 0-100 km/h is reliably reached in under three-seconds. Even more breathtaking, 0-200 km/h is done in seven-seconds and 0-300 km/h in under 16-seconds. Top speed is limited to 352 km/h. When first started, the ONE initially operates in electric mode. For the first while, the catalytic converters are preheated, and the V6 engine fires to life once optimal operating temperatures are reached. Drivers have a choice of six drive programs:
- Race Safe: Hybrid driving mode with all-electric start-up. The V6 engine engages when higher power is required.
- Race: Hybrid driving mode with full regenerative charging from the MGU-K and MGU-H. The V6 engine constantly operates and further replenishes the battery systems.
- EV: All-electric propulsion with range up-to 18 km on full charge.
- Race Plus: Active aerodynamics engaged, full power available from all propulsion systems.
- Strat 2: Active aerodynamics engaged with stiffer suspension, full power from all propulsion systems.
- Individual: Preferred combination of settings from the driver for road driving.
The Race Plus and Strat 2 settings are specifically meant for track-use, particularly due to dramatic suspension and aerodynamic changes the ONE undergoes. The whole body is hydraulically lowered front and rear by 37-millimetres and 30-millimetres, respectively. The active rear-wing fully deploys and works with the central fin on the engine cover to stabilize the rear of the ONE under hard braking and cornering. Above the front wheel arches are a set of active louvres. When opened, they expel pressurized air from the front wheel arches to create additional downforce and help channel this air to cooling intakes over the rear engine cover. These louvres are open mostly during cornering and braking, and close on straight-aways as part of the ONE’s Drag Reduction System (DRS) to optimize acceleration and achievable top speed.
Unlike Mercedes-AMG’s F1 cars, the ONE seats two. A ‘no styling’ approach was undertaken to emulate the uncompromised and honed functionality of the ultimate racing machinery. Both seats are sculpted directly into the chassis and can only adjust their recline angle. The driver can electrically adjust the steering wheel, and both occupants can mechanically adjust their footwells – the pedals are also mechanically adjustable for the driver. Two high-resolution 10-inch screens act as the instrument cluster for the driver and multimedia hub. A race-inspired steering wheel is at-hand for the driver. Its non-circular shape gives an unobstructed view of the instrument cluster and forward driving view, while drive modes and additional configurations are operated by buttons on the wheel. As the rear engine cover is constructed without glass, a camera is mounted at the rear of the ONE and a screen, taking the place of a traditional rearview mirror, relays footage from the rear of the ONE to the driver. Though it predominantly and proudly displays bare carbon fibre thanks to the monocoque chassis’ central tub, the rest of the ONE’s interior is thoughtfully finished in quality materials without drawing away the driver’s focus. The magma grey nappa leather seats with contrastive stitching meet tactile black DINAMICA microfibre to cosset driver and passenger, while the ventilation nozzles finished in silver shadow or dark chrome bring timeless and tasteful accents. For the confirmed 275-owners, further individualization is possible for inside and out as production of the Mercedes-AMG ONE commences in the second-half of 2022.
The culmination of expertise from Mercedes-Benz (120+ years), AMG (55+ years), and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team’s (12+ years) proudly honors the best of proven technologies and the exciting future ahead for the automobile. The engineering and dynamic achievements of the Mercedes-AMG ONE are nothing short of astounding, inspiring, and era-defining. As the automotive world continues to evolve, the ONE is perhaps among the greatest and final creations that bridge the worlds of internal combustion and electric propulsion.