The ME stands for "mid-engined." The quad-turbo, V-12 powered Chrysler ME Four Twelve supercar may not only establish real-world performance records but may also set a record for lightning-quick vehicle development. It took less than one year to complete from start to finish (though we don't know what they started with).
The engine is from AMG, with 850 bhp @ 5750 rpm, with 850 lb-ft. (1150 N-m) of torque between 2500 and 4500 rpm on premium unleaded fuel. It was reportedly designed for Chrysler, but will probably be used by Mercedes in other applications (we'd expect it to appear in the Vision and perhaps the McLaren SLR). Use of the AMG engine was dictated largely by the need for high power with light weight (around 500 lb) and at reasonable development cost.
With a curb weight of just 2880 lbs. (1310 kg), the ME Four-Twelve has the weight-to-power ratio of 3.4 lbs/bhp — a new performance record. In actual Chrysler speed runs, the ME Four-Twelve goes from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 6.2 seconds, and it will blister through the quarter mile in 10.6 seconds at 135 mph. The estimated top speed of the ME Four-Twelve is 248 mph (400 km/h). The vehicle is designed and packaged to achieve outstanding thermal performance under extreme operating conditions. Its large capacity, high-efficiency engine-cooling system allows this engine to retain optimum thermal performance — a key advantage in the super car arena.
The 7-speed Ricardo Double Clutch Transmission was developed specifically for this vehicle and features the latest double wet-clutch technology and electronic control strategy. The exclusive transmission delivers uninterrupted torque to the rear wheels with 200 millisecond shift times. The double wet-clutch technology appears to come from Chrysler. (An anonymous Chrysler employee wrote, "I cannot believe that Chrysler didn't get the credit for this transaxle!!! To be fair, it fits with its replacement by the junk MB controls and system.")
Dodge ME-412 supercar conceptThe ME Four-Twelve's carbon fiber bodywork was designed to mate to a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque tub. Aluminum crush structures and chrome-moly sub-frames complete the ME Four-Twelve's rigid support structure, which complies with US federal impact regulations.
The suspension is comprised of double wishbones, aluminum control arms, horizontally-opposed coil-over dampers with electronically controlled compression and rebound tuning, stainless-steel push rods and a blade configured anti-roll bar. The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering has an overall ratio of 16:1 with 2.4 turns lock-to-lock and a turning circle of 36.0 feet.
The ME Four-Twelve braking system features massive 15.0-inch (381 mm) ventilated carbon ceramic composite disc brake rotors with six-piston aluminum mono block calipers for superior braking performance during all driving conditions. The composite discs are sixty-five percent lower in weight than comparable cast iron rotors. Wheels are cast aluminum: 19x10-inch front and 20x12.5-inch rear. Michelin high-performance radials are 265/35ZR19 in the front and 335/30ZR20 in the rear.
At just 44.9 inches tall, 78.7 inches wide and 178.8-inches long, the two-seat, mid-engine ME Four-Twelve was wind tunnel tested in Auburn Hills. The computer controlled active rear spoiler articulates rearward 100 mm to increase down-force to a total of 925 lbs. (421 kg) at 186 mph (300 km/h), while achieving a competitive coefficient of drag (Cd) of 0.358. All body openings have been optimized to achieve maximum thermal performance. Large vented front and rear wheel houses reduce lift as well as active and passive aerodynamic devices that have been implemented to provide stable vehicle performance at all speeds.
The interior is relatively spacious with 37.2 in (942 mm) of headroom, and 42.7 in (1085 mm) of legroom. A large glass roof panel extends from the windshield to the rear header. Passenger-side adjustable foot support helps keep the co-pilot in position during extreme cornering maneuvers.
This vehicle breaks the mold of the super car genre because its packaging can easily accommodate drivers in a wide range of heights. Ease of access to driving controls was a primary focus. For example, there are steering wheel mounted controls, including a column mounted F-1 racing style paddle shifter with aluminum shift paddles and centrally mounted driver controls.
Styling was done by a young and friendly Chrysler designer, Brian Nielander, who normally designs trucks; he worked directly with engineers and aerodynamics experts to shape the interior and exterior and make sure that the engineers did not make the ME-412.