In Depth

Mercedes AMG GT R: Critics thrilled by 'immense' coupe

Track-inspired supercar is 'eye-poppingly' fast, say critics, but is it as good as the Porsche 911 GT3 RS?

Mercedes AMG

First reviews are out on Mercedes's Porsche 911 GT3 RS-rivalling AMG GT R earlier this year and the critics seem impressed. 

Mercedes has designed the AMG GT R to perform at Germany's famous racing circuit - the Nurburgring. Setting a lap time of seven minutes and ten seconds, it broke the record for the fastest rear-wheel drive production car while using a standard set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. 

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Here are all the details and what the experts think.

Design

The stripped-out supercar, inspired by the marque's GT3 racer, has a noticeably wider track and several carbon fibre additions compared to its entry-level GT relative. The wider body not only improves handling by increasing the car's surface area, it also allows for better airflow to the brakes and around the vehicle.

Carbon-fibre active aerodynamic devices are fitted under the body, which moves downwards above 50mph to create what Mercedes calls a "Venturi effect" sucking the car to the ground and providing more high-speed grip. Air is also fed towards the rear diffuser, which improves stability on circuits and provides an increase in cornering speeds. 

Underneath, the GT R features bigger brakes than its predecessor, adjustable suspension and a four-wheel steering system making it more agile at low speeds, when the rear section turns in the opposite direction to the front, and more stable when going fast by pointing both sets in the same direction.

Performance

The AMG GT R uses an uprated version of the 4.0-litre V8 bi-turbo from the standard GT, producing an extra 74bhp and 37lb-ft torque for an output of 577bhp and 516lb-ft torque. This surge in power is helped by the two uprated turbocharges that sit inside the engine in Mercedes's "hot vee" layout - a similar technique to that seen in its F1 cars.

The engine is paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which helps direct the power towards the rear wheels. It also features a nine-stage traction control system from the GT3 racing car, with level one tailored for wet conditions and level nine allowing for the most wheel spin. 

Factor in the lighter kerb weight of 3594lbs and the GT R goes from zero to 62mph in 3.6secs, with a top speed of 196mph. Economy figures are what you would expect from a track-focused machine, with Auto Express reporting a claimed 24.8mpg and 259g/km of CO2 emissions. 

Reviews

Traction, balance and grip levels are "truly impressive" in the hardcore Mercedes coupe, says Evo. While the steering feels a little lighter than expected, there's a "genuine sense of connection to the R's front end". 

Switching the 11-stage traction control system completely off reveals "even greater ability", adds the magazine. Unlike previous range-topping AMG models, the GT R "finds so much grip on the way into corners" and lots of traction on the exit, making it a very rewarding experience for drivers.

The AMG GT R's vocal V8 engine is enjoyable in "short blasts", but it could become "a little wearing" on long journeys, says the Daily Telegraph. The same can be said for the suspension, which feels "firm" and might not be comfortable on worn British roads.

Nevertheless, it's a car of "immense ability and considerable charm", the newspaper says. It's a "treat for the eye and ear", offering a challenging driving experience that is "no longer disconcerting".

The AMG GT R was tuned at Germany's famous Nurburgring track to make it the fastest supercar on the market, but its "super-sticky" Michelin tyres help " get its power down surprisingly well" and stop it being "intimidating", The Independent says

The tyres, along with "extra width between the wheels", means the GT R is "more poised" through corners than the regular GT, while rear-wheel steering and active aerodynamics also improve handling at higher speeds.

Rivals such as the McLaren 540C and Audi R8 will "steer more sweetly" through bends, says the Independent, but "there isn’t much that can beat it" in high speed corners.

"It's surprisingly easy to live with," says What Car?, although it warns buyers will need time to adjust to the "ridiculously long bonnet and the fiddly infotainment system".

The interior, however, "looks suitably special" and there's "lots of manmade suede and gloss black trim", while a yellow dial in the centre of the dashboard allows drivers to "vary the interference from the stability control system".

Those in the market for a car "to make you feel good and other people jealous" won't find much better than an AMG GT R, concludes What Car?.

Rivals 

As a track-focused supercar with a £140,000 price tag, the AMG GT R is a direct competitor to the Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

The 911 GT3 RS is powered by a 3.8-litre naturally aspirated flat-six engine, which produces 493bhp and revs to a radical 8,250rpm. The AMG GT R, however, produces over 80bhp more than the Porsche from its 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 – revving to 6,250rpm. 

While the Porsche may lack the overall horsepower of the Mercedes, it's around 400lbs lighter than the GT R's 3,594lbs kerb weight. 

When it launched in 2015, the 911 GT3 RS cost around £10,000 less than the AMG GT R, which Evo says makes it "something of a bargain". But the GT3 RS "sold out in double-quick time", which means buyers will need to look to private sellers to get their hands on one. 

Other rivals to consider are Jaguar's 576bhp F-Type SVR and the V10-engined Audi R8 Plus. Buyers may also want to consider Lamborghini's Huracan Performante, although it's the GT R's most expensive rival at £215,000.

Prices

The AMG GT R is available to order now, with prices starting at £143,245. The optional Nurburgring-inspired "green hell magno" paint costs £7,500, with ceramic brakes priced at £5,995. 

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