by John Tallodi
Quick two-seater sports coupes are a dime a dozen these days but the Mercedes-AMG GT R manages to stand out among a talented list of competitors with stunning looks and serious performance capabilities that have been honed to extract the best lap times possible. This is an all-new addition to the AMG GT range.
The GT R is a track-focused derivative of the range and the interior reflects its pared-down aspirations. This doesn’t mean that the cabin is devoid of luxurious materials and finishes but there tight-fitting AMG sport seats, carbon-fiber inserts and other sporty details to differentiate the GT R from the other models in the range.
The modern dashboard design and large touchscreen wrap around the driver and a wide center console sits between the two occupants.
There is a lack of space for personal items in the cabin and cargo space is just about enough to fit two golf bags, a cargo net partition makes the most of the available space.
The base AMG GT models, if they can be called that, offer a class-leading level of handling and body control, the adaptive suspension soaking up road imperfections while still offering plenty of control through the corners.
The AMG GT R takes this comfort/performance balance and turns it on its head. Gone is the soft on-road ride comfort, in its place is a ride that never feels anything but firm but you also get handling and grip that elevates the GT R into a whole new category. Some of the changes responsible for this are a new 9-mode traction control, rear-wheel steering system, massive and grippy summer tires and a manually adjustable suspension.
This aggressive setup gives the big coupe a level of performance on track that puts it in the league of some serious machinery like the iconic Porsche GT3 RS, the refinement on road does take a knock though and if you prefer a more relaxed drive then this focused machine is not for you.
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R coupe is equipped with a 4.0-liter twin- turbo V8 producing 577 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive setup with an AMG electronic limited-slip differential is standard.
The 0-60 mph time of 3.5-seconds is blisteringly quick although no doubt hampered by traction and but it is on the track and in-gear where the GT R really shows off its power advantage most effectively. The dual-clutch transmission ranges from smooth to brutal depending on the setting selected.
An aluminum spaceframe, carbon-fiber structural bracing, carbon-fiber roof panel and active aerodynamics are among the advanced standard features of the GT R but this is no stripped-out racer and luxury and convenience features include heated and powered AMG performance seats, Nappa leather interior, 8.4-inch touchscreen, black piano lacquer interior trim, dual-zone climate control, AMG performance steering wheel, 9-mode traction control, AMG menu with race timer function and a 4-speaker audio system. Keyless entry and drive an Burmester surround sound system and carbon-fiber interior trim are available options.
Safety features have not been skimped on and you get collision prevent assist plus, LED adaptive headlights and LED taillights, park assist, adaptive braking, rearview camera, lane keep assist and attention assist as standard. Blind spot assist and adaptive cruise control are available extras.
The mbrace connect package is available too which adds a range of features that can be remotely accessed and activated via a mobile phone or desktop computer. Additional carbon-fiber packages and carbon-ceramic brakes are also on offer.
The AMG GT R takes the standard GT package and injects it with a serious dose of aggression. The uncompromising ride and overpowering engine may limit its appeal but this is not meant to be the volume seller in the range.
The GT R’s purpose is to provide the most intoxicating driving experience for those that are able and willing to explore its abilities on a race track. The addition of a high level of luxury and safety features softens its edge but this Mercedes-AMG is no boulevard cruiser.