It’s been five long years since the Mercedes-AMG Project One was revealed as a concept in Frankfurt. In between, the world went through a debilitating pandemic and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team the car is associated with scooped up a further five Formula 1 constructor’s championships and four driver’s titles.

But after what the company itself admitted was a period of hard (and painful) graft, AMG is finally ready to pull the covers off what must have been the biggest engineering project it has ever undertaken. Yes, Affalterbach’s long-awaited hypercar, simply badged the One, is ready and boasts some numbers that will make you stare wide-eyed at the screen.

The underlying premise is well-documented. Having secured three F1 title doubles by 2016, Mercedes committed to distilling its learnings into a balls-to-the-wall four-wheeled monster – one just about civil enough to wear number plates. It would be powered by the same 1.6 litre turbo hybrid V6 the sport introduced in 2014, which the company mastered so completely it took seven years to be knocked off its perch.

The arduous process to homologate an unhinged racing engine was evident by the numerous reported delays, as the company struggled to make the power unit reliable and tractable enough for road use and pass fuel economy and emissions regulations. But it has done so, and how.

Nestled under the long, finned rear end is the PU106C direct-injected six-pot that powered Nico Rosberg to his only world championship in 2016. Despite a swept volume of only 1,599 cc, it has nevertheless been able to produce 574 PS at 9,000 rpm – a stratospheric rev figure enabled by the fitment of pneumatic valve springs instead of metal ones – all on its own. That’s a specific output of 359 PS per litre.

The mill utilises the race team’s pioneering split turbocharger that places the exhaust turbine and the compressor at either ends, driven by a shaft running through the “vee” of the engine. This not only lowers the turbo’s positioning (and hence the centre of gravity) but also keeps the charge air cool, helping to produce more power. Then we get to the hybrid portion of the engine, starting with the trademark MGU-H.

Short for Motor Generator Unit Heat, this 90 kW (122 PS) electric motor scavenges energy from exhaust gasses and uses it to spin the compressor at up to 100,000 rpm, vastly increasing torque and improving throttle response – claimed to be quicker than a naturally-aspirated V8 – at lower revs. Surplus energy can also be used to power the Motor Generator Unit Kinetic (MGU-K), which in turn drives the crankshaft via a spur gear, sending another 120 kW (163 PS) to the rear wheels.

As the name suggests, the MGU-K can recuperate kinetic energy under deceleration; both it and the MGU-H can charge the high-voltage lithium-ion battery behind the front axle. While the cell arrangement and cooling system have been lifted from the F1 W07 Hybrid racer, its capacity has been expanded significantly to 8.4 kWh – more even than the new GT 63 S E Performance plug-in hybrid.

That’s because the One has two more 163 PS electric motors – adding another 240 kW (326 PS) to the mix – not found even in the F1 car, both mounted at the front and providing real torque vectoring to the front wheels. They can also power the car on their own (temporarily turning this beast into a front-wheel-drive electric car), although the range in EV mode is pretty short at 18.1 km.

The two motors make up for the power shortfall caused by homologating the V6, which involve installing an 11,000 rpm rev limit (way below F1’s mandated 15,000 rpm cap) and fitting four preheated metal catalytic converters, two ceramic catalysts and two particulate filters. These enable the engine to run on commercial super plus unleaded (that’s RON98 to you and me) and meet Euro 6 emissions standards – including the latest Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test.

All in all, the four electric motors produce 450 kW (611 PS), allowing the One to fire an incredible 1,063 PS to all four wheels. Equipped with a new seven-speed automated single-clutch gearbox, the car certainly isn’t slow, although its near-three-second (2.9 seconds, to be exact) zero-to-100 km/h sprint time is no match for the latest crop of high-power full EVs (I’m looking at you, Tesla Model S Plaid).

It’s above the tonne that the One picks up its skirt and flies. It takes just seven seconds flat for it to hit 200 km/h and 15.6 seconds to reach 300 km/h; keep your foot buried and you’ll soon reach its electronically-limited top speed of 352 km/h. Incredulously, AMG is also claiming a combined WLTP fuel consumption figure of 8.7 litres per 100 km, thanks to its plug-in hybrid capability.

The battery has a fast energy draw and utilises direct cooling technology to maintain peak performance, service life and safety, directing a high-tech coolant through each battery cell top-to-bottom. Despite the 800-volt electrical architecture (which is said to reduce cable thickness and thus weight), the car can only accept up to 3.7 kW of AC charging power, with AMG declining to provide charge times.

Drivers can configure the powertrain using the six provided drive modes. Aside from the aforementioned EV mode, there’s also a Race Safe hybrid setting that predominantly uses the electric motors, while Race keeps the V6 on at all times. Race Plus, which is meant for track use only, primes the powertrain for more power, adjusts the active aerodynamics for maximum attack, stiffens the suspension and drops the ride height by 37 mm at the front and 30 mm at the back.

But for the full experience, you’ll have to enter Strat 2, corresponding to the infamous qualifying “party mode” used by the F1 team. Here, the suspension is rock hard and the car draws maximum power from the electric motors. The self-explanatory Individual mode lets users dial in their own preferences, using the road-going settings for the engine, transmission and chassis.

While the genuine F1 engine is the centrepiece of the One, the car is more than just a bucket seat strapped to a jetpack. There’s race technology everywhere you look – a carbon fibre monocoque attached to a load-bearing engine and transmission, suspended via all-round five-link suspension with twin inboard pushrod coilovers. This arrangement minimises roll without resorting to conventional anti-roll bars, with drivers able to adjust the adaptive dampers using the Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes.

At each corner are nine-spoke forged magnesium centre-lock wheels, measuring 19 inches in diameter at the front and 20 inches at the rear. They are shod with bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2R M01 tyres (285/35ZR19 front, 335/30ZR20 rear) and hide weight-optimised carbon ceramic brakes. The latter consist of six-piston callipers and 398 mm discs at the front and 380 mm discs at the rear clamped by four pistons.

The entire body is clothed in carbon fibre panels, with styling that looks remarkably similar to the original show car. The low bubble-like glasshouse, fat shoulders and curvaceous front and rear fenders remain, as do the flat LED head- and taillights, massive air intakes, roof-mounted inlet, tall wing mirror pods and gaping rear end. Large NACA ducts on the twin engine covers feed the radiators below.

Active aerodynamics is a key feature of the One, which features flaps in the front diffuser, louvres atop the front fenders and the massive two-piece extendable rear wing, all conspiring to increase downforce and adjust the front-to-rear aero balance.

There are other appendages designed to glue the car to the road, such as the jutting front splitter and the sizeable rear diffuser, the latter housing triple exhaust pipes for the engine and turbo wastegate. The bonnet outlets, on the other hand, help vent hot air around the sides of the cockpit, freeing up fresh airflow to feed the air-conditioning and the roof scoop.

Different aero profiles are applied depending on the drive mode. On the road-biased Highway mode, the louvres and rear wing are retracted for increased efficiency, while the Track mode in Race Plus and Strat 2 opens the louvres, extends the wing fully and closes the diffuser flaps to produce five times more downforce, at speeds as low as 50 km/h. An F1-style Drag Reduction System (DRS) retracts the rear-wing flap at the touch of a button for even more vivid acceleration.

Step inside through the dihedral doors and you’ll find a pared-back cabin that maximises function. The “floating” wing-shaped carbon dashboard – outfitted with twin ten-inch instrument and infotainment displays – form an integral part of the monocoque together with the central tunnel. The padded seat pans, which is also part of the tub, are fixed, although the backrest recline can be set at either 25 or 30 degrees. The driving position can be adjusted manually using the pedal box and electrically using the steering wheel column.

The small ‘wheel is another component inspired by Formula 1, with a flat top and bottom, top-mounted shift lights, an integrated airbag and controls for the drive modes, suspension, DRS and nine-position traction control system. Elsewhere, there are solid metal “cassettes” for the air vents and window controls and a digital rear-view mirror necessitated by the lack of a rear windscreen.

Despite the slew of weight-saving measures, the fact that the One features a complicated powertrain – including four electric motors and a battery – means it carries double the mass of even the relatively tubby 2022 F1 cars, tipping the scales at 1,695 kg. At least Mercedes quotes the kerb weight with fuel and fluids, rather than the dry weight preferred by typical supercar makers.

Mercedes-AMG declined to produce pricing for the One, sticking to the “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” mantra. A rumoured tag of €2.17 million (RM10.2 million) was reported during the debut of the original show car in 2017, and the aforementioned delays and unexpected difficulties during development would have probably caused the final figure to skyrocket. Not that it matters when all units have long been sold out.