Mercedes-AMG’s long-awaited ONE hypercar has finally been revealed in its production guise.
First unveiled in pre-production format as Mercedes’ answer to Aston Martin’s Valkyrie, the ONE was originally due to be launched in 2019, only to be repeatedly delayed by the pandemic, tightened European emissions restrictions, and the general issues one would expect of making a Formula 1 engine road-legal. After an extended period of time on the shelf, Mercedes confirmed last October that the ONE would finally make its production debut in 2022.
In arguably the closest collaboration between Mercedes, its Affalterbach performance division, and the Silver Arrows’ High Performance Powertrains division to-date, the ONE is powered by the same 1.6-litre turbocharged hybrid V6 at the heart of its Formula 1 challenger (Mercedes states that response, especially from idle, is faster than a naturally-aspirated V8). This is mated with a seven-speed automated manual gearbox, developed specifically for the ONE, which drives the rear axle. Connected to the ICE side of the powertrain is a 8.4kWh battery – also developed by the F1 team, and which can also be found in Mercedes-AMG’ GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE – that feeds four electric motors, two of which power the front wheels.
Of the remaining two electric motors, one – the F1-derived, 120 kW MGU-K – is connected directly to the engine via the crankshaft. The second – a 90 kW MGU-H – drives the turbocharger directly, and is effectively there to improve throttle response.
Combining 574 hp from the ICE V6 (which, incidentally, revs up to 11,000 rpm), the 326 hp produced collectively by the twin electric motors at the front (MGU-FL and MGU-FR), and the 163 hp and 122 hp created by the MGU-K and MGU-H respectively, combined power is a spine-jangling 1,063 hp. Mercedes claims that this sheer grunt, in collaboration with the 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive setup, allows the ONE to sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 2.9 seconds, 0-200 km/h in seven seconds, and 0-300 km/h in 15.6 seconds en-route to a 352 km/h top speed.
Though the ONE can also be driven in pure electric mode, the compact battery means estimated range is a comparatively just 18.1 km (admittedly, the electric motors harvest energy under braking to top up the battery on the move). Charging takes just 2h 20m, but to preserve range, the battery features “innovative direct cooling,” which keeps the lithium-ion pack at an optimum, 45-degree operating window.
Like the powertrain, the carbon fibre monocoque underpinning the ONE is also F1-derived, and into which, the V6 and seven-speed gearbox have been integrated as load bearers to increase rigidity. Five-link suspension features at both the front and rear, as do adaptive dampers that work in tandem with three-way ‘Comfort’ (…really?), ‘Sport,’ and ‘Sport+’ drive modes.
At the other end of the suspension are newly developed, 10-spoke, centre-locking aluminum wheels – 19-inch at the front, 20-inch at the rear – that also feature carbon fibre, ‘partial covers’ to improve the aerodynamics.
While the bodywork is similar to its conceptual forebear – first unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2017 – every aspect has been updated in a bid to further improve the One’s performance. Consequently, the bodywork, built from carbon fibre and composite plastic, has been developed to generate maximum downforce, hence engine-cover fin, two-part rear diffuser, and active aerodynamic accoutrement like the two-piece rear wing and louvres mounted atop the front wheel arches.
Other notable elements include the roof-mounted airbox, large ducts in the nose, and large extractors in the rear wheel arches, all of which either feed cooling air to, or extract hot air from, the mid-mounted engine. Deft use of carbon fibre both inside and out, plus weight-saving ‘microfibre cloth’ in the cabin, means the One also tips the scales at 1,695 kg.
Unlike its F1 ‘counterpart,’ the One comes with ABS as standard – something of a relief if you’re covering the length of a soccer field in just over a second at full chat – and a three-way traction control program, the latter of which works in tandem with the aerokit: select ‘Highway,’ for example, and the wheel arch louvres close, the active flaps on the front diffuser are disconnected, and the rear spoiler is retracted; select ‘Track,’ and the louvres open, the vehicle lowers (37 mm at the front, 30 mm at the rear), and the front diffuser and rear spoiler extend for maximum downforce, up to five times that of ‘Highway’ mode. A lifter embedded in the front axle means owners need not worry about scraping that carbon splitter on road humps.
There’s even an F1-esque Race DRS button that closes the louvres and retracts the rear wing entirely to maximize straight-line speed. Bear in mind, downforce is slashed by 20 per cent during this operation, and the system automatically deactivates when the brakes are pressed.
Speaking of which, the One features a ‘weight-optimized’ AMG Carbon Ceramic brake package – six-piston, 398 x 38 mm at the front; four-piston, 380 x 34 mm at the rear – designed to last longer and withstand higher temperatures. In a neat touch, the nine air vanes on each wheel funnel cooling air directly to their respective brake discs.
Inside, the fixed-back AMG sports seats can be reclined from 25-degree angle to a more ‘leisurely’ 30-degrees, though the seats themselves are mounted in-place for better weight distribution. Thus, the F1-style race steering wheel – into which a sequence of ‘shift lights’ have been incorporated – and pedal box and electronically and mechanically adjustable respectively.
While the cabin is suitably sparse – the slim dash prioritizes maximum visibility, and even the carbon fibre transmission tunnel is a functional part of the support structure – two, 10-inch screens have been incorporated for the driver display and the infotainment system. The latter also doubles up as a rear-view mirror, given the limited visibility of the opaque engine cover.
A limited-run edition, the Mercedes-AMG ONE will be available to just 275 customers, and only after each has forked over a staggering, reputed £2.5 million (around $3.95 million). You’ll not be in the least bit surprised to hear that all examples have now been spoken for.
Presented this week, 55 years after AMG’s foundation in June 1967, the ONE will make its dynamic debut at the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed.