“We Were Drunk When We Approved the Mercedes-AMG ONE Hypercar,” Says Kallenius

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The Mercedes-AMG ONE has been giving a massive headache to the Mercedes head honchos and engineers. They have been trying to get the company’s first hypercar ready since 2016 and still they haven’t nailed it. Ola Kallenius shocks with quite a statement.

Mercedes claimed they would launch the most powerful series production in about three years’ time. But that was five years ago, at the Geneva Motor Show. The concept that previewed the model in 2017 gave no clue that the project would turn out to be next to impossible.

Come 2022, and the 275 customers that paid 2.75 million euros to get the ONE home are still waiting for it. Some even found consolation in buying the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series P One Edition. All they’ve got so far was delay after delay after delay.

The drivetrain proves to be much too sophisticated. A 1.6-liter turbocharged  engine, developed in Brackley, together with four electric motors should bring a total output above the 1,000 horsepower mark. But the rev meter is about to blow up even when the engine idles and the KERS energy recovery system, inspired by Formula 1, isn’t that easy to work with either in a street-legal car.

And wait, there is more. The combustion engine is still a work in progress. Besides the emissions regulations it is making efforts to comply with, the sound regulations are also a headache. The exhaust sound is not tamed enough for public roads in the European Union and the United States.

Mercedes CEO regrets the moment the board greenlighted the AMG ONE

One more hurdle was the change of leadership at Mercedes-AMG. Tobias Moers left Affalterbach to join Aston Martin. AMG appointed Phillip Schiemer in his place. But things are far from going the right way and the company’s CEO, Ola Kallenius, knows it. He admitted it in an interview with Autocar.

“I will have to go back to check the meeting minutes, but I’m sure we were drunk when we said yes,” Kallenius slams the decision. “The team at AMG and the High Performance Powertrain Formula 1 arm came to us and said: “We’ve got this great idea. Let’s put a Formula 1 engine into a road car,” he recalls. Those who chose to greenlight the project had no idea that was just the beginning of the tribulations.

The Mercedes-AMG ONE turns out to be a black hole in times the car industry is in chase of consumption, emissions, and financial efficiency.