In Depth

Mercedes-AMG One vs. Aston Martin Valkyrie and McLaren Speedtail: what sets them apart?

The three multi-million pound hypercars are about to take the industry by storm

While the motoring world is moving towards driverless technology for the mass market, three manufacturers are busy developing hyper machines that are set to become some of the fastest cars ever made. 

Aston Martin announced its intentions to build a road car capable of lapping a circuit as fast as a Formula 1 machine back in 2016. The company later revealed the limited-run model would be called the Valkyrie. 

In September 2017, Mercedes-AMG took the covers off its Formula 1-engined One hypercar – formerly known as Project One – in front of thousands of people at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Fast forward to October of this year and McLaren unveiled its long-awaited Speedtail. The new hypercar is a three-seater inspired by the company’s F1 supercar of the early 1990s. 

Fans have tried drawing comparisons between the three hypercars, which all boast flagship status and seven-figure price tags.

But under closer inspection, the trio of speed machines are far more different than they at first appear. 

Design
McLaren Speedtail

These are three different hypercars with three very different designs. 

The most track-focused model of the trio is the Valkyrie. It’s been penned by famed Red Bull Racing Formula 1 designer Adrian Newey whose machines have clinched multiple F1 titles over the past two decades. 

The car has a very aggressive design and appears to have barely enough bodywork to cover its mechanical underpinnings. Two large air ducts run underneath it to help improve downforce at high speeds, as does a small carbon fibre wing that hangs from the front bumper. 

At the back, a large carbon fibre diffuser sits below the Valkyrie’s body-wide rear wing. This moves automatically to provide optimum downforce at all times. 

The Mercedes-AMG One, meanwhile, has a slightly more subtle look than the Aston. The One appears to be marginally larger than the Valkyrie and has  fewer carbon fibre winglets than its rival in order to help generate downforce at high speeds. 

Still, the Mercedes has a host of electronically controlled winglets across its bodywork designed to improve high speed grip. A small carbon fibre fin runs down the centre of the engine cover.

McLaren calls the Speedtail a Hyper GT because it would be more at home cruising on the Italian Riviera than speeding round a race track. 

The vehicle’s sleek design is devoid of the wings found on other hypercars. This reduces drag and allows the car to reach a higher top speed than its competitors. There are some electronic winglets at the rear. These merge seamlessly into the vehicle’s carbon bodywork. 

Performance

Each manufacturer has its own idea as to what makes the ultimate hypercar engine.

Mercedes-AMG’s engine configuration is arguably the most radical of the trio. The One uses the same 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 hybrid engine that powered Lewis Hamilton to win the 2015 F1 championship.

The engine, assembled at the company’s F1 facility in Brixworth, is connected to four electric motors. With the two systems combined, Car magazine says the One produces 1,086bhp and revs up to 11,000rpm – only 1,000rpm less than Hamilton’s F1 machine. 

Much like the One, Aston Martin has also opted for a high-revving engine with roots in Formula 1. According to Top Gear, the Valkyrie’s 6.5-litre motor is similar to the 2.4-litre V8 engine used in the Williams FW32 F1 car from 2010. 

Details are scarce but the motoring site expects the hybrid V12-engined Valkyrie to produce roughly 1,000bhp. 

Meanwhile, McLaren’s Speedtail looks set to match the power output of the One and Valkyrie as its hybrid systems produce 1,036bhp. The British supercar maker has yet to announce the Speedtail’s engine configuration, but Evo expects it to fit a version of its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 motor.

McLaren says the Speedtail is capable of reaching a top speed of 250mph, surpassing the One’s claimed maximum velocity of 217mph. 

Interior and technology
McLaren Speedtail

There’s not a lot to say about the Valkyrie’s cabin as the hypercar is more focused on setting record-breaking lap times at race tracks than comfortably taking two occupants to the south of France.

Dubbed “ruthlessly efficient” by Top Gear, the Valkyrie’s cabin features an “F1-style wheel riddled with buttons.” There’s a digital display behind the steering wheel, along with two touchscreen panels located either side.

The One’s interior is similar in many ways to the Valkyrie’s, although the Mercedes seems to offer more space for occupants than the Aston. 

Drivers get a bespoke steering wheel covered in carbon fibre. This comes with a strip of LEDs running along the top of the wheel, which gives a reading of the engine revs, says Autocar. There’s a digital display behind the wheel and a touchscreen above the centre console.

The Speedtail’s cabin is more akin to a grand tourer than a stripped-out racing machine. Leather trim covers the car’s interior, while metal highlights can be found on the doors and footwells. 

The driver sits in the middle of the Speedtail, with two occupants positioned either side of the central driving seat. This arrangement is inspired by McLaren’s F1 supercar of the early 1990s. But unlike the F1’s minimalistic interior, the Speedtail has digital screens and dials mounted on the roof to keep the cabin clutter-free. 

Pricing
Aston Martin Valkyrie

With Evo expecting the Valkyrie to sport a price tag of between £2m and £3m, Aston Martin’s hypercar is the most expensive car of the three. Only 99 will be made, followed by 24 track-only AMR Pro editions. 

Mercedes-AMG has already sold all 275 examples of the One. Each model costs £2.1m, according to Autocar.

While the McLaren Speedtail is the least expensive model at £1.6m before taxes, it will be made in less than half the numbers of the Mercedes-AMG One’s production run. The carmaker is only making 106 examples of the three-seater car, all of which have already sold.

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