Mercedes-Benz AMG One Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

We’re at the Nürburgring GP circuit where the engineers and support crew for the One remain engaging but seem a little nervous. First up is a ducks and drakes learning session behind a GT Black Series driven by DTM legend and AMG ambassador Bernd Schneider. He tells us his tyres will take time to warm up then immediately sets off at a pace that would probably result in a decent qualifying position in a GT3 race.

We’re in street mode, no aero deployed, but full power is available. The steering weight is delicious, the brake pedal feels weird, the noise is painful. That’s right, the car everyone thought too quiet at Goodwood is (from the inside) one of the loudest cars we’ve ever driven. The V6 combines with all the other bits to produce something that burrows behind the eardrum into your skull. For the first half lap it makes us grin. Then it hurts.

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The car understeers, but maybe that’s just tyre temperature. We pile down the main straight and the Black Series is already holding up the hypercar. The One’s transmission is in automatic mode and as it auto-blips from third to second gear the V6 just cuts and a warning flashes on the dash. We come to stop, radio Berndt and as we exchange words the engine gargles back to life without me touching any button. Weird.

When it’s actually working, what’s the AMG One like?

Forget everything you’ve experienced from a normal super-hypercar powertrain. This may not be the fastest thing out there, but it’s intense and plain wonderful and, crucially, unique. The engine is frantic above 9,000rpm, but upchanges sound slovenly, albeit without any sense of acceleration being clipped. Turns out some electricity is deployed between changes to sustain momentum.

The chassis is supple in the street mode, but firm as hell in Race. Yet all we can prise from the car is understeer – whatever we try to do the front pushes and the rear axle seems to have crazy traction. The noise is now too invasive so ear-plugs are required. Time to concentrate on the brakes which have a full suite of regenerative technology in them.

They really aren’t easy - the initial thump of deceleration is logical, but keeping them on the edge of the ABS from 100mph to a hairpin speed is tricky. And that must have something to do with the driving position, which is just plain odd.

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