Mercedes-AMG GT R revealed ahead of 2017 launch

28 Jun 2016

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Take one already potent two-door supercar and add a lot more oomph – that's the recipe for the stunning AMG GT R.

AMG has unveiled the most potent road car it's ever developed at Brooklands in the UK this weekend, in the form of the GT R.

And it's heading to Australia, albeit not until July 2017.

Based on the already outrageous GT S, the GT R adds not only a healthy dollop of extra urge, but raids the hard drives of its GT3 race car designers for trackday technology translated for the road.

There really isn't a single element of the GT R that hasn't been poked, prodded, tweaked, lightened or replaced. It is lighter, sleeker and much more powerful than the car on which its based.

The striking bodywork - finished in AMG Green Hell Magno paint in homage to the Nurburgring's nickname - isn't there just to catch the eye, either; it's been significantly tweaked to provide a vastly superior aero package than that of the stock car.

Take, for example, the so-called active aerodynamic piece that's hidden under the underbody engine cover of the GT R; it actually lowers itself by 40mm over 80km/h in Race mode to add front downforce, and works with the GT R's radiator air ducts to direct airflow to the double rear diffuser under the tail.

The underbody spoiler is spring-loaded to protect it from ground strikes, and it can reduce front axle lift – where air gets under the front end and lighten the front tyre's grip – by up to 40kg.

A wide front spoiler and a completely redesigned front bumper with huge intakes work in conjunction with an active air management system that uses electronically controlled louvres to adjust air flow within a second.

The louvres remain closed for the most part to reduce drag, but will open when the GT R needs to cool down.Out back, the rear guards have been pumped by 57mm on each side to better fit the huge 20-inch rims, while the double diffuser under the wide rear bar not only create downforce, but duct away heat from the exhaust silencers.

The large fixed rear wing is made of carbon, and the main plank can be manually set at different angles to increase or reduce downforce and drag.

Other changes to the body include the use of a carbon fibre torque tube, which runs underneath the car and houses the prop shaft and rear axle-mounted transaxle gearbox.

A titanium rear silencer, thin-wall stainless steel exhaust and new forged alloy wheels help to trim 15kg off the GT R's weight, compared to the GT S; it comes in at 1555kg.

A carbon fibre cross-brace under the car also adds stiffness and strength, replacing three alloy pieces in the process.

The suspension has also been thoroughly been worked over, with many of the steel pieces used in the GT S replaced by forged alloy items on the GT R.

The springs can be manually adjusted to change the car's ride height, while motorsport-spec spherical bearings replace bushings on the rear axle's lower arms.

Bearings are not only far more resistant to wear, but also produce a more rigid, connected feeling through the wheel (often at the expense of noise and harshness).

Retuned active dampers are used, and will individually and instantly adjust themselves according to the terrain, speed and load they find themselves in, at or under.

Staggered wheel sizes are used front to back, with 275/35 ZR19 Michelin Cup Sport tyres used at the front and 325/30 ZR20 tyres for the rear.Steel brakes are listed as standard on the GT R, with ultra-light carbon ceramic units as an option. Given that the carbon brake package will save an additional 17kg, we'd expect most buyers to opt for them.

In a first for AMG, the GT R is fitted with active four-wheel steering, with steering actuators replacing the rear control arms. Up to speeds of 100 km/h, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels, effectively shortening the car's wheelbase and quickening its handling.

Once speeds get over 100 km/h, the system turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the fronts, in effect lengthening the wheelbase and improving stability.

A new nine-stage traction control system is pinched straight from the cockpit of the company's GT3 racer, and allows the driver to dial in the level of control he or she needs for a particular situation via a rotary knob on the centre console.

The GT R's interior hasn't been stripped down to the race essentials, though. Fixed back buckets are covered in leather and Dinamica microfiber, while yellow belts and other highlights are the extent of the changes to the cabin, which already feels like that of a jet fighter with its low-set driving position and high sills and centre console.

Finally, the powertrain has also been worked over to within an inch of its life. The twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine now makes a monstrous 430kW (up 55kW on the GT S) and 700Nm (the same as the GT S; we suspect it has been torque-limited to spare the gearbox), with new turbos and more boost netting the gains.

A reprofiling of the combustion system, along with a remap of the ECU for better throttle response and a lighter flywheel all help to improve response and drivability, according to AMG.

The seven-speed double-clutch transaxle gearbox has also been tweaked, with a longer first gear, a shorter seventh gear and final drive ratio and a revised shift map to further improve cog-swapping times.

AMG has even mounted both the engine and gearbox on separate sets of dynamic mounts, which can soften or stiffen almost instantaneously depending on prevailing conditions.

With the GT S costing around $294,000, we'd anticipate that the road-legal, track-ready GT R will retail near the $375,000 mark when it lobs next year.

The AMG GT S is already a sensational machine, and the outrageous specs of the GT R means it'll be able to take the fight to the likes of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, the Aston Martin DB11 and even the McLaren 650S.

 

Source: Tim Robson - Carsguide.com