Mercedes-AMG GT R

MERCEDES-AMG’s new GTR is a track-focused, Nurburgring-baiting monster, but the extensive changes for greater speed and engagement create an even better road car. Racing improves the breed, so they say, so it must rile the people at AMG that its success in GT3 racing hasn’t translated into huge sales of its roadgoing AMG GTS sports car. The GT R is a riposte to that, bringing some of the brand’s hard-fought track expertise to the road, and taking the fight to rivals like Porsche’s 911 GT3 RS.

Cabin will be familiar to owners of the GT; new bucket seats are offered, although you can opt for the standard ones if desired; as you would expect, it’s all very well built

Based on the GT S, the GT R follows the tried-and-tested formula of go-faster, drive harder. As a result, it’s lost some weight, added some power, increased its grip and sharpened up its reactions. The weight has been lost through an all-embracing diet, with new forged wheels, carbon fibre structural parts, less sound deadening, a lithium-ion battery, and lightweight seats. In total, it’s lost around 15kg.

New traction control system offers a choice of nine settings -just like AMG’s GT3 race car. It allows varying degrees of slip at the rear wheels for greater driver involvement

Troubling the rear tyres is a 577bhp version of AMG’s now familiar 4.0-litre bi-turbo engine held in position by dynamic engine mounts. A pair of revised turbos nestle at the top of the 4.0-litre V8, while the entire induction system is upgraded to improve both output and response. The result of all those changes is a 0-62mph time of 3.6 seconds and a 198mph top speed. This makes the GTR the hardest-charging AMG GT yet, and it feels it. The engine fires with the sort of evocative grumble and roar of the best V8s, driving the rear wheels via AMG’s quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

On the move, it’s also clear Mercedes has created the finest riding GT yet – even in its most focused driving modes – thanks to adjustable coil-over variable damper suspension. There’s a greater sense of connection allied to a more compliant ride. You’ll notice more feel at the front axle, too; the steering wheel isn’t loaded with information, but it’s better weighted than other AMG models. The turn-in response is markedly improved, thanks to the greater contact and wider track, and, of course, the effect of that rear-wheel-steering system and aerodynamics, which also increase high-speed stability.

Digital display between dials gives speed and nav guidance, while carbon ceramic brakes, Burmester stereo and AMG performance seats are all available on the options list

The go-fester equipment includes active aerodynamics to help suck the car to the road at high speed and those lighter, bigger wheels are shod with wider tyres, while the rear-wheel steering improves high-speed stability. The changes are very obvious on the track, where the GT R can be pushed hard with confidence. Such aggressive changes often come at the detriment of its usefulness on the road, but the GTR doesn’t lose out to its GT siblings here, either. Indeed, this car is the best GT yet.

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