Leading up to the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the entire world was going into a frenzy about Mercedes-AMG’s brand new hypercar called the Project One.
To drum up excitement, Mercedes would slowly tease out bits of information or shadowy photos and we’d go nuts over them each time. How much power will it make? What is it going to look like? We were dying to find out all the juicy details about what would undoubtedly be the star of this year’s show and maybe even the most significant car of the year.
And when the Project One finally did debut, it was spectacular. It’s very easy to be impressed by a brand new 1,000-horsepower car that’s an absolute triumph of engineering. Mercedes even brought Lewis Hamilton to the reveal and even he was gushing about it.
But the reactions from the media and general public seemed mixed. Some criticized the car for not pushing the design boundaries enough, while others were extra harsh and even called it boring and generic.
And then the very next day, it seemed that the Project One got its thunder stolen by a very unlikely source. When the Honda Urban EV Concept made its debut, there was a collective cheer from automotive enthusiasts, one that was definitely louder than the reaction to the Project One. From its refreshingly simple, clean, and retro design to its all around cuteness, people adored this humble Honda.
“That Honda concept is LIFE,” our news editor Sam McEachern said. Jason Siu, our news writer, also begged me to “steal that s–t off the show floor.” Even the typically negative and ill-tempered people who watch our YouTube videos were overwhelmingly positive about this little Honda.
All this hype for a subcompact electric Honda concept? What the hell? In what world do people get more excited about a little economy car Honda than a new 1,000-hp hypercar?
What I think is happening here is hypercar fatigue – we’ve hit peak hypercar. Every month it seems a different automaker comes forward claiming it has created the next hypercar — and each time it happens, it becomes less and less exciting. They all have four-figure horsepower, carbon fiber everything, seemingly impossible designs, cost millions of dollars, and are usually sold out before they even debut. Although it’s huge for a brand to have cars like the Bugatti Chiron, Aston Martin Valkyrie, and Mercedes-AMG Project One to showcase their biggest strengths, act as a test bed for groundbreaking research and development, and to shine a positive light on every other car in the lineup, most people will probably never own one, let alone even see it in person. Honda’s concept was relatable, had a very strong nostalgia factor, and is simply a lot more attainable for most people. It’s something tangible that people can get excited about instead of some crazy dream that, while cool and aspirational, can seem pretty irrelevant to most folks.
The Mercedes-AMG Project One deserves all the praise in the world — it’s truly magnificent. But it seems like the refreshing Honda Urban EV Concept is the perfect antidote to hypercar fatigue.