How the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Works

The ME Engine

The ME's all-aluminum, quad-turbo, 6.0-liter V-12
The ME's all-aluminum, quad-turbo, 6.0-liter V-12
Photos courtesy DaimlerChrysler

Like most high-performance cars, the ME was built around the engine. The designers started with a twin-turbo V-12 AMG engine, and then put it on steroids. Adding two more turbochargers to the 6.0-liter aluminum power plant cranks the air pressure being pumped into the cylinders to 20 psi.

The electronic, sequential, multipoint fuel-injection system measures the exact amount of fuel needed for each cylinder. A dry-sump oil system helps keep the center of gravity low (and allows the ME to keep its supercar-requisite low profile) and improves performance. With a 9:1 compression rate, the ME operates properly on premium-unleaded gas. Higher compression rates, like the 12:1 ratio typical of race cars and other supercars, generate more horsepower, but they require very high-octane racing fuel.

All those high-tech parts give the car an impressive 850 hp at 5,750 rpm -- close to the 1,000 hp available in the record-setting Bugatti Veyron. Since the car weighs under 3,000 pounds (1,361 kg), the ME's power-to-weight ratio is .295 hp per pound of weight (or 3.4 lbs/hp). It cranks out 850 lb-ft of torque between 2,500 and 4,500 rpm. Each liter of displacement produces a maximum of 142 hp. Every one of those numbers is an eye-opener, even when compared to other supercars.