Concept to Production
A lot can be learned about this car by asking one very basic question: What in the world does the name mean? Although not very inspiring, the name ME Four-Twelve is certainly enlightening: It stands for the placement of the engine, which is just behind the driver (Mid-Engine), and the size of the engine (Four turbochargers on a Twelve-cylinder engine).
The ME Four-Twelve falls into a rare class of cars known as supercars -- cars designed to perform like high-performance race cars, with lightweight chassis, vast amounts of horsepower, and nimble handling. It goes without saying that a supercar costs a lot. If the ME were to go into production, it is estimated that it would cost about $150,000.
The ME started as an idea in the head of DaimlerChrysler chief operating officer Wolfgang Bernhard. Most concept cars are just flashy showroom statements about what the automaker can do. The fact that Bernhard's vision (a production prototype supercar on a par with the best Europe has to offer) put rubber to road about a year after he gave the directive is one of the most amazing things about this car.
What makes it different from typical concept cars? Chrysler designed the ME Four-Twelve from the beginning to be a realistic (albeit expensive) production model. It meets U.S. government safety regulations. The car is intended to reach its performance benchmarks on fuel you can buy at the corner gas station, not ultra-high-octane racing fuel. The interior is not only customized with climate control, a great audio system, and all the other comforts you'd expect, but it was designed with enough headroom and legroom to fit normal-sized people.
First and foremost, though, the ME Four-Twelve was designed to go really fast.