The new flagship model from Mercedes-AMG is finally here and it’s every bit as impressive and aggressive as the German automaker has hinted that it would be.
To start of, it’s 90 kg (199 lbs) lighter than the AMG GT S, meaning it weighs just 1,554 kg (3,428 lbs). Its 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine now puts down 585 PS (577 HP) and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft) of torque, which is a much needed bump in power considering the competition. The seven-speed dual clutch gearbox has also been tweaked to deliver faster shifts, helping the car get from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.6 seconds, before maxing out at 318 km/h (198 mph). This makes it faster than the GT S by 8 km/h (5 mph) and quicker off the line by 0.2 seconds.
However, it’s not just about straight line speed when it comes to this car. After all, Mercedes-AMG engineers didn’t do all those rigorous tests at the Nurburgring just to have the GT R win some drag races.
Visually, it all starts with the stance, which is a lot more aggressive now – something even Lewis Hamilton noticed as he was bringing the car out during its official unveiling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The body kit is partly inspired by the AMG GT3 race car, as is the new vertical slatted grille. Also noticeable are the chunky air intakes, the large rear wing, double rear diffuser and the new lightweight 10-spoke 20″ forged wheels, wrapped in grippy Michelin Cup 2 rubber.
Mercedes has also given the AMG GT R an all-new active aero profile in the underbody, concealed almost invisibly in front of the engine. When in RACE mode, a carbon component weighing just 2 kg (4.4 lbs) automatically moves downward by about 40 mm (1.5 in) at speeds of over 80 km/h (50 mph), changing the airflow considerably. The result is that front-axle lift is reduced by around 40 kg (88 lbs) at 250 km/h (155 mph). Also, the new AMG GT R is now better when cornering at high speed and exhibits superior directional stability compared to the previous AMG GT S flagship.
Its new three-mode adaptive suspension setup was specifically designed to aid the car when out on the track. One of the true surprises with the AMG GT R is its Active Rear-Wheel Steering system, turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the ones at the front up to 100 km/h (62 mph) and then in the same direction if the driver accelerates any further. Speaking of “further”, there’s even a new 9-way traction control system where those behind the wheel can make minor adjustments to the level of slip.
“With the new AMG GT R, we have reached the next level of driving performance,” said Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG. “This road-going sports car with motor-racing genes and innovative technical solutions offers an ultimate driving experience that allows people to feel our motorsport origins in every fibre. It combines the driving dynamics of our AMG GT3 racing car with the everyday practicality of the AMG GT. Those with petrol in their veins will be thrilled by the radical longitudinal and lateral acceleration, the precise turn-in, and the sensational grip. We have modified all performance-relevant components and linked them together intelligently for maximum driving dynamics.”
Inside, the GT R comes with manually adjustable AMG sports bucket seats, upholstered in nappa leather. They’re very light and offer necessary lateral support even in extreme driving maneuvers, according to the German automaker. Other details include yellow contrast stitching, yellow seat belts, gloss black trim and the AMG Interior Night package as standard (gloss black shift paddles, steering wheel bezel, door sills and boot cross member).
Finally, the AMG GT R’s specially developed exhaust system sounds absolutely bonkers. Of course, what we call “bonkers”, Mercedes calls a “genuine race car sound”, but either way you should watch the video and hear those amazing crackles whenever Lewis Hamilton (he was behind the wheel) lifted his foot off the throttle. The noise depends on what the exhaust flaps are doing, which can be open and closed depending on the selected AMG DRIVE SELECT mode – as well as controlled individually using a separate button. You’ll need to have the car in Sport Plus or RACE mode in order to get it to sound like the “Green Hell Beast” Mercedes designed it to be.
The new Mercedes-AMG GT R goes on sale on November 21st 2016, with its European market launch scheduled for March 2017.