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AMG confirms 4WD for 1,000bhp+ Mercedes hypercar

Mercedes AMG boss reveals the secrets behind 2018’s most anticipated street-machine

Mercedes-AMG’s philosophy – though you might not think so – isn’t just about crude, unfiltered and vastly overpowered machinery. No, the company philosophy is about a balance of performance that encompasses handling, power and feel.

Try to keep that in mind as we rifle through some of the key performance parameters on one of the most anticipated street-legal machines of recent times. Because the upcoming AMG hypercar will boast more than 1,000bhp and feature a new four-wheel-drive system.

Speaking to TopGear.com, AMG boss Tobias Moers confirmed that the combined power output of his new hypercar will pack a 1.6-litre V6, MGU-H and MGU-K, together providing a nice, round, haymaker of a figure.

“It will be that exact engine from the F1 car,” explains Moers, “although we’ll have to lower the compression ratio and change the idle speed, because 3,000rpm is a little high for a street-legal car.”

It’s the full engine from Lewis and Nico’s car, though, and boasts a rev limiter in excess of 10,000rpm. When pushed on engineering this kind of power, Moers notes that “the life span of an F1 engine isn’t as bad as everyone makes out”.

All those revs and all that power and all that noise will be harnessed through a bespoke four-wheel-drive system. Moers plans on building between 200 and 300 versions of the hypercar, all – as we’ve pointed out before – built for the road. No special track versions.

“We’re currently at the stage of finalising the styling,” he told TG.com. “And this is in line with the aero. Every second day we’re having meetings about where we are and what’s next. We’re going to establish a bench at HPP in Brixworth [Merc’s ‘High Performance Powertrains’ department] in the next month and run the drivetrain on the bench.”

Moers notes that vehicle-wise, everything has pretty much been sorted out. The big challenge right now is to calibrate that monster powertrain. “The idea for sure,” explains Moers, “is to combine outstanding driving dynamics with groundbreaking efficiency.

“Because that F1 V6 is the most efficient combustion engine on the planet.”

Interestingly, this car has been on the table since last year, and it all started off as a quiet conversation between Moers and Andy Cowell at HPP. “To give you the full truth, Andy always asked me to put that Formula One engine in a road car. He always had the idea of putting it into the GT. I told him ‘forget it’.

“I always had the impression that AMG as a brand was not on the level of building hypercars, but that mindset soon changed, and I thought about starting something, just seeing if it was feasible, last year, at the end of October.”

After three months, Moers had a discussion with Mercedes boss Dr Dieter Zetsche. “I asked him if he would be supportive, and he was,” Moers notes.

With all that power, surely he’s confident of a lap record at the Nürburgring? “We’re going to sort out the rollout programme next year, it still needs a bit of time to get everything sorted out. Is it possible to go for a record? Depends on the tyres. The current lap record was set on slicks. So let’s wait…” he adds, with a smile.

Of course, embarking on something of this magnitude isn’t to be sniffed at. “In my perspective as an engineer, this is the pinnacle of what you can do. It’s the most complicated task you can put on your list as an automotive engineer.”

No doubt. We’ll see the full car in later 2017, to go on sale in 2018. Start counting down the days…

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