Brad Leach | Sep 6, 2016

This alone is justification for a plane ticket to the Paris Motor Show – the Mercedes-AMG R50.

Forget ‘Supercar’, the European press is calling the R50 a ‘Hypercar’.

At this stage, official word from Mercedes-Benz is of course ‘donuts’ but that hasn’t stopped the media rumour mill from hitting maximum volume.

Word is the AMG R50 – the ‘50’ because 2016 is the 50th Anniversary of AMG - is at this stage only a concept car and, if the ‘Benz board does green light production by AMG, we’re talking a total number of cars well under 300 units.

But this is a car which Mercedes-Benz needs – an AMG rival for the likes of Aston Martin’s AM-RB 001 (being jointly developed with the Red Bull F1 team), McLaren P1, La Ferrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder.

Intense work in the Mercedes AMG F1 team’s carbon fibre autoclave is claimed to have the R50 hitting the road weighing no more than 1300kgs which would give it a significant advantage on that front.

And we hear British sports car specialist Lotus has been enlisted to provide expert chassis tuning.

Then there is the matter of the powerplant and - apart from a consensus that 970kW is on the agenda (750kW is a ‘must-have’) - there are two schools of thought for the Mercedes-AMG R50 and both are coming from Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains.

The obvious one is a detuned and less exotic version of the turbocharged 1.6-litre hybrid engine developed for the all-conquering Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team. There’s an obvious marketing chop-out from using the same engine as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Others reckon AMG’s terrific turbocharged 2.0-litre engine could be honed to deliver the requisite 970kW and work with three electric motors (two at the front and one installed in the gearbox housing). Either way, with a car tipping the scales under 1300kgs and delivering 1,300 horsepower in the old language, a zero to 100km/h time starting with a low-2 figure would seem obvious.

Also seemingly obvious are active aerodynamics (a road-going version of F1’s DRS system and a ground-effect underbody as well as moveable front flaps) and active suspension.

As for the interior, the European media seems transfixed on a two-seater with the driver and passenger seated in a reclined race-car style position and cocooned in inflatable racing car seats, no instruments apart from a head-up display and LED rev-counter and most functions operated F1-style via a myriad of buttons and dials on the steering wheel.

Image, top of page: 2015 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Race Car

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Mercedes-AMG | Concepts | Paris

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