2004 Chrysler ME 4 12
Worlds Fastest Cars
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
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.")
The 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
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
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 uncomfortable.