Can the new Mercedes-AMG GT R take on the likes of Porsche’s GT3 RS? With 577bhp, 516lb ft of torque, Cup 2 tyres, coil over suspension and a host of aero changes, it certainly has the hardware. What’s more, with its racing brethren dominating the recent Nurburgring 24hrs, you would also say it’s got the pedigree. The GT R will be available from £143,245.
The Mercedes-AMG GT R comes standard with manual bucket seats covered in nappa leather and Dinamica microfibre, a steering wheel covered in the same high-tech material and yellow brake calipers. There is also reference to the historic Panamericana road race with the new grille featuring 15 vertical chrome fins, mimicking the 300 SL that won the famous Mexican race in 1952. Elsewhere the bodywork has new carbonfibre arches that are 46mm wider at the front and 57mm wider at the rear. There is also a lightweight magnesium front deck, a carbonfibre roof, although the boot remains steel to cope with the pressure being exerted on it by the huge (manually adjustable) rear wing.
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The striking colour of the paintwork, which alludes to the R’s Nordschleife leanings being called ‘AMG Green Hell Magno’, is a £7500 option. Yellow seat belts are a £395 extra. The Premium package, that includes heated seats, costs £4195. The Track package includes four point harnesses, a roll cage and a fire extinguisher and costs £1695. Carbon cermaic brakes cost an extra £5995.
Overall, downforce has been increased by 155kg compared to the AMG GT S. The aero gains at the front have been made by the obvious front splitter, but also by a hidden carbon flap under the car. This drops down at 80km/h to create a Venturi effect, reducing front axle lift by 40kg at 250km/h (155mph).
For the first time on a Mercedes, the AMG GT R gets rear wheel steering. Two electro-mechanical actuators replace the conventional control arms on the rear axle and a "by-wire" system adjusts the tow angle of the rear wheels up to a maximum of 1.5-degrees. Up to a speed of 62mph the rear wheels are turned in the opposite direction to the front wheels, virtually shortening the wheelbase. Above 62mph the wheelbase is virtually lengthened. The wheels themselves are new lightweight ten-spoke forged items and they will be shod, as standard with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres – 275/35 ZR 19 at the front and 325/30 ZR 20 at the rear.
New turbochargers sit in the heart of the 4-litre dry sump V8, increasing boost pressure from 1.2 to 1.35bar. Power is up by 74bhp and torque has increased by 37lb ft. This has seen a corresponding reduction in the 0-62mph time to 3.6sec and the R’s top speed is 5mph higher at 198mph. First gear in the seven-speed DCT gearbox has actually been lengthened, but seventh gear and the final ratio have been shortened. Throttle response should be impressive as the R’s two-mass flywheel is 0.7kg lighter. Overall the R is 15kg lighter than the S.
There is also a new switch with nine separate levels for the traction control. The programming for the ESP-off mode and how it interacts with the electronically controlled limited-slip diff, is apparently taken from the GT3 race car.
Throw in a titanium exhaust, less sound deadening and the AMG GT R seems like it could be a very exciting thing indeed. Better than a GT3 RS? We’ll have to wait until we drive it next year.