One very aggressive Mercedes
There’s the Mercedes-AMG GT S and there’s this GT R. One letter, but it makes a big difference, like the difference between a Porsche 911 GT3 and a GTS. This is one very focused, very aggressive new car from Merc’s AMG division.
Things are pretty big on this car, and they start from the ground up. The rear tyres are 325/30 ZR20s, carried on (optional) superlight forged aluminium rims. The wheels can be specified with equally enormous carbon-ceramic brakes.
The car has a wider track, bespoke suspension settings, a nine-stage traction control and an absolute plethora of carbonfibre. The stiff, lightweight and very strong material makes the wings, spoiler, roof and underbody bracing, among other things.
All this, along with a double rear diffuser, deployable front lip spoiler and adjustable rear wing mean there is less weight and also more downforce as well as reduced drag. Which means the engine has to work less hard or, if you work it really hard, you’ll go faster and cling to the road even harder.
Mercedes-AMG GT R
Engine: 4.0-litre, V8, twin-turbo, petrol
Gearbox: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Top speed: 198mph
Economy: 24.8mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 259g/km
Under that long bonnet is the 4.0-litre V8 of before, but with tweaked turbos and other changes which add 75bhp. That gives the seven-speed dual-clutch auto box 577bhp to channel to the wheels. The way the V8 delivers the power is nothing short of brutal. It’s immensely flexible but as the revs soar so too does that power output, hammering in to match the incredibly exciting soundtrack.
Make no mistake, this is a beast, with ferocious levels of speed and response. It’s highly believable when AMG says that a lot of the development work was done at the Nurburgring track. But that cuts both ways. It means there is real control as you barrel round corners fast and slow, but if you’re expecting it to do this with a comfortable ride quality then you’ve got the wrong car.
In Comfort mode, as soft as it’s going to be, it’s liable to be far from easy on the body on Britain’s broken roads. On a smooth road or, better still, a racetrack, and you’ll find that the GT R can go outstandingly quickly and be very controlled. You can drift it, bring it back, and do what you will, so long as you’ve come to terms with the rather quick steering rack.
This is just so different to the GT S. There’s less oversteer, understeer, and concern, but more accuracy and progression. It doesn’t quite have the sublime quality on the track that mid-engine supercars like the McLaren 570S exhibit, but it’s not far away.
It’s not the fastest car AMG has made, nor the most expensive, but it’s still £30k more than the GT S. Over £142,000 is quite a price but, in our view, at least that £30k increase over the GT S is fully justified and then some. This isn’t just faster, it’s a whole lot better.
It also looks fabulously aggressive and will turn heads everywhere, and that’s before they even hear it. Whether you could live with the ride quality in the reality of our roads is another matter, and we’d suggest a test drive not on the track but on a normal road before you make a decision. If you can live with that, then you’ll be gaining an immense amount. The R rules.