Two new seven-figure entries from Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG have blasted their way into the elite hypercar category, says Brett Berk...
The quest for superlatives is ingrained in the American spirit. So it follows that a term for a vehicle that raises the bar on the supercar needed to be invented. This new class of road-legal racer combines outrageous power with astounding grip, plus state of the art technology and aerodynamic aides. It also comes with extremely limited weight and production numbers, and extortionate price tags. Welcome to the world of the hypercar.
Million dollar vehicles like the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder, and McLaren P1 helped to formalise this category some years back. Now two new entrants have joined the ranks. They both achieve similar aims – quadruple digit horsepower; mind bending acceleration – but in very different ways.
The Aston Martin Valkyrie (pictured top) is intended to dominate the road. Built with Adrian Newey, chief engineer for Formula One championship winning team Red Bull Racing, the two-seater combines the elegant and restrained design for which the British brand is known with the extruded aerodynamic sculpting associated with F1 race cars. But instead of a small screaming engine, the Aston relies on a honking 6.5 litre V12 (and a boosting electric motor) to produce its 1,130hp and 250mph-plus top speed.
Mercedes’ F1 team capped Red Bull’s winning streak a few years ago and has dominated the sport ever since. Capitalising on this, its Project One, developed with AMG, is closely related to its current F1 racer, featuring a similar tiny, extremely high-revving 1.6 litre turbocharged V6 and battery-powered hybrid propulsion system. The styling reflects the team’s technical triumphs in a compelling and contemporary idiom.
What can possibly follow the hypercar? We’ll have to wait and see. Though their production runs are already sold out, these vehicles will not be available to their patient, well heeled owners until 2019.
Mercedes-AMG Project One
Price: $2.8 million
Powertrain: 1,022hp (700hp V6-Turbo, two 161hp electric motors)
Worldwide production: 275
Aston Martin Valkyrie
Price: $2.5 million
Powertrain: 1,130hp (1,000hp V12, 130hp electric motor)
Worldwide production: 150