Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Works

        Auto | Concept Cars

Supercar Frame and Shape
The ME sports a futuristic, carbon-fiber body.
The ME sports a futuristic, carbon-fiber body.
Photo courtesy DaimlerChrysler Photo courtesy DaimlerChrysler
The ME sports a futuristic, carbon-fiber body.
The ME sports a futuristic, carbon-fiber body.
Photo courtesy DaimlerChrysler Photo courtesy DaimlerChrysler

The ME Four-Twelve looks as fast as it is. Its shape is similar to many supercars because the mid-engine design and aerodynamic necessities of going over 200 mph tend to force cars into an "ideal" high-performance configuration.

The engine is mounted to a chrome-moly frame, a steel alloy made of chromium and molybdenum originally developed for use in high-temperature environments within power plants. This sub-frame is attached to the main chassis, a monocoque tub made of a carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb. Monocoque is French for "single shell," and means that the chassis is built from a single "tub" with no internal support framing. The structural strength comes entirely from the shell itself. This tub is combined with carbon-fiber bodywork to give the ME Four-Twelve its shape. Aluminum crush zones make the car safer in the event of an impact. This structure not only looks like something from the year 3030, it is also very light and rigid -- very desirable qualities in a high-performance car.

In terms of pure numbers, the ME is 44.9 inches (114 cm) tall, 78.7 inches (199.9 cm) wide and 178.8 inches (454.1 cm) long. It only seats two, but you probably wouldn't be taking the kids to grandma's for Thanksgiving dinner in this car, so it's not much of a drawback.

Photo courtesy DaimlerChrysler

The body is shaped not just to look good, but to aid in performance as well.

The computer-controlled active rear spoiler adjusts itself depending on speed and wind conditions, creating up to 925 lbs of down force at 186 mph. That serves to stabilize the car, increase traction, and aid in high-speed cornering. The rest of the body also creates down force, while underside components are designed to reduce lift from air getting under the car. While creating all this down force, the aerodynamic shape also directs air to the engine compartment, keeping that 850-hp beast cool.