Khodrocar - Chrysler ME Four-Twelve (after mid-engined, four-turbo, twelve-cylinder)
Debuted: 2004 North American International Auto Show
Specs: mid-mounted AMG V12 quad turbo engine with 850 horsepower, 850 pound-feet (1,150 Newton-meters) of torque, seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, rear-wheel drive, 2,880 pounds (1,310 kilograms) weight.
Why We Remember It Now:
14 years later, it looks just as nice as any of today’s supercars and has the technical specifications to go up against the very best of them. The fact that it almost made it to production leaves us wondering what could have been.
The Daimler-Chrysler era is deemed by many as being a fiasco, but it did enrich the automotive world with this wonderful V12 gem, albeit only as a concept car. "The most advanced Chrysler ever built,” says the original press release from 2004, which we’ve attached at the end. Given the juicy technical specifications of the ME Four-Twelve, we totally agree with this statement as the concept used a 6.0-liter V12 engine of AMG origins and equipped with four turbochargers.
Lamborghini is bragging about the Aventador Superveloce Jota’s "best” weight-to-power ratio, but let’s keep in mind this had a whopping 850 horsepower responsible for moving just 2,880 lbs (1,310 kg). That translated into a remarkable weight-to-power ratio of 3.4 lbs (1.5 kg) / hp. Output was channeled to the rear wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch Ricardo gearbox specifically engineered for the concept.
In order to achieve such a remarkably low curb weight, carbon fiber was used not only for the bodywork, but also in the aluminum honeycomb monocoque tub. The diet also consisted of carbon ceramic composite brakes as well as a carbon fiber seat structure lowering the weight of the entire seat to merely 27 lbs (12.3 kg).
The ME Four-Twelve was really all about the astounding numbers: 0-60 mph (0-96 kph) in 2.9 seconds, 0-100 mph (161 kph) in 6.2 seconds, the quarter mile in 10.6 seconds at 142 mph (229 kph), and an estimated top speed of 248 mph (400 kph). None of these figures were ever verified as Chrysler came up with them doing projections and modeling.
The concept’s design was certainly on a par with the juicy specs sheet as the car still looks incredible even by today’s standards. The interior cabin might be showing its age a little bit - it’s a 14-year-old car after all - but with a few changes here and there, it could be brought up to date without much effort.
It’s worth mentioning the ME Four-Twelve was seriously considered for production, but ultimately the project was axed. Reports from the mid-2000s say the mid-engined supercar would’ve been way too costly to develop, so the business case for it wasn’t exactly favorable. The fact that it would have (probably) been quicker than the Mercedes SLR McLaren was also a concern as Daimler surely wouldn’t have wanted that.