Mercedes-AMG One will not be street-legal in the United States


Mercedes-AMG finally unveiled the One, a 1,049-horsepower hypercar powered by a Formula One-derived V6, after several delays. That means customer deliveries are around the corner, but the German firm clarified that getting the model registered in America will be hard.

“While its engine has its origins in competition, constant development and refinement have left us with a difficult decision for the U.S. market. In order to preserve the unique character of its F1 powertrain, we have concluded that meeting U.S. road standards would significantly compromise its performance and its overall driving character,” AMG wrote in a letter addressed to customers and published by CarScoops.

Power for the One (pictured) comes from a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that consists of a twin-turbocharged, 1.6-liter V6 and four electric motors. This setup is somewhat surprisingly street-legal in Europe due in part to a stunningly complicated exhaust after-treatment sub-system made up of four metal catalytic converters, two ceramic catalytic converters, and two gasoline particulate filters. There’s no word yet on what it would take to make the hypercar comply with American regulations, or what effect federalizing it would have on performance.

Although the news will likely disappoint fans, it doesn’t mean that the One will never turn a wheel on American pavement. Remember: the Bentley Bacalar and the McLaren Speedtail aren’t street-legal in the United States, either, yet if you’re (really) lucky you may see one at a cars and coffee event. That’s because they can be imported and registered here through a loophole called Show or Display, a law passed in 1999 that applies to cars that meet the federal government’s definition of “historical or technological significance.” If the One falls under this umbrella, and it’s too early to tell whether it will, owners in the United States will be limited to 2,500 miles annually on public roads.

Even if slashing your way through a jungle of red tape to register a car doesn’t bother you, it’s too late to buy a One. Production is strictly limited to 275 units, and the entire run was spoken for in record time in spite of a base price pegged in the vicinity of $2.75 million.