Mercedes has confirmed that production of its limited edition ‘Formula 1 car for the road’ has begun, with the first of only 275 customer deliveries set to begin in the second half of the year.
Conceptually debuted in 2018, and officially revealed in June of this year, the One is a collaborative effort between Mercedes-AMG’s roadcar division, AMG High Performance Powertrains and Mercedes’ official F1 team to produce the fastest, road-legal Mercedes since the CLK GTR more than two decades earlier. Power – a combined 1,063 hp and an as-of-yet undisclosed torque – comes from a derivation of the 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 at the heart of the Mercedes-AMG F1 car and four electric motors – one per wheel – that produce a combined 611 hp. Over the top lies a carbon fibre monocoque and carbon/composite plastic-built bodywork, complete with F1-esque active aerodynamics.
Originally scheduled to arrive in 2019, production was repeatedly delayed due to not only the Covid-19 outbreak but also technical difficulties concerning the powertrain’s emissions and the road legality of the active aero.
But after a three-year wait, production has now begun at Mercedes’ Coventry plant in the UK, a nod to the production of the similarly volcanic McLaren-Mercedes SLR, which was also built in the UK, at McLaren’s headquarters in Woking, between 2003 and 2009.
Production of each individual One will be overseen by “over 50 specialists,” and will be conducted across 16 different assembly and testing stations, a process Mercedes likens to “the production of high-quality luxury watches.” The bodywork, for instance, is fully assembled to “create a perfectly even joint pattern,” adjusted accordingly if the panels are not flush. When everything is perfect… it’s all taken apart again so every panel can be painted and lacquered individually! Similarly, and replicating what the F1 team does with its engines, the 1,599cc six-cylinder, the electric motors, and the high-voltage battery are hot-tested at Brixworth – Mercedes’ F1 base – to eradicate any reliability concerns.
Among the final stations is the Monsoon Rain Test, where the One – as a road-legal-albeit-bloody-fast ‘daily driver’ that can hit 352 km/h and 100 km/h from standstill in 2.9s – is subjected to the same tests as your ‘standard’ EQE or C-Class.
Each completed One will only be signed off after a Mercedes factory driver pounds it around a “nearby proving ground.” Customers are then invited to AMG headquarters in Affalterbach, where each model is trucked for an official handover. I mean, that’s the least you’d expect for a US$2.75 million asking price, right?
“The Mercedes AMG ONE is the most ambitious project we have ever undertaken – from development to production,” AMG chairman of the board Philipp Schiemer explains. “It marks another high point in Mercedes AMG’s successful strategic development towards an electrified Future of Driving Performance. The production of the exclusive small series is a truly unique challenge. For the first time, the hypercar brings current Formula 1 hybrid technology almost one-to-one from the race track to the road and combines overwhelming performance with exemplary efficiency.
“We as a whole team are very proud to have now started production of the first customer vehicles.”