Currently reading: Mercedes-AMG GT R to challenge Porsche 911 Turbo S Nurburgring time
The hottest Mercedes on sale has the 7min 18sec lap of the revised Porsche 911 Turbo S to beat; 577bhp coupé will be driven by 'Ring pro Thomas Jaeger

The Mercedes AMG GT R is on the verge of setting what we’re assured will be a “very competitive” lap time at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in the next couple of weeks.

Mercedes-AMG GT R smashes rear-wheel drive Nürburgring record

On a passenger ride in the range-topping 577bhp sports car, we recorded a lap time of 7min 46sec while being driven by Thomas Jaeger, one of the GT R’s principal development drivers. AMG insiders are now suggesting that a full-speed run will be between 20 and 25sec quicker than that. If achieved, that would put the GT R close to the 7min 20sec time of the 13.9-mile circuit that the Porsche 911 GT3 RS claimed last year, and maybe even the 7min 18sec set by the revised 911 Turbo S.

There’s no doubt that the GT R will become the fastest car in Mercedes’ line-up when it goes on sale later this year. Frank Emhardt, the car's development boss, reckons that we should see a Nordschleife lap time as being a better metric of overall performance than the car’s straight line performance numbers (an impressive claimed 0-62mph time of 3.6sec). “It is probably the toughest overall test for any performance car,” he said of the Nürburgring.

Emhardt was reluctant to break down exactly where the GT R’s performance advantage over the existing GT S – which has posted a 7min 40sec Nordschleife lap time – comes from, arguing that the improvement comes from the whole package: “it’s definitely the combination: the aerodynamics, and especially the active aero, the chassis revisions, the rear-steering and the weight reduction.” 

The GT R's rear wheel steering system is a first for a Mercedes sports car, but works on the same principle as those used by rivals including the Porsche 911 Turbo. The GT R's rear wheels can be moved by up to 1.5 degrees in each plain, steering in the opposite direction to the front wheel at low speed to improve agility and moving in the same direction as the steered wheels at higher velocities to make the car feel more stable.

The active aero features a moveable carbonfibre flap in the underbody. At speeds of over 50mph in the most aggressive “Race” dynamic mode, this flap lowers by 40mm, helping to create a Venturi effect that works in conjunction with the sizeable rear wing to deliver peak aero downforce of 155kg at 155mph. 

Although Emhardt refuses to nominate any cars he considers as rivals to the GT R, we can think of a couple of obvious ones. We’ll find out soon whether AMG has managed to win Nordschleife bragging rights over Porsche and Nissan. 

Read more: Lapping the Nurbürgring in a Mercedes-AMG GT R

Mike Duff

Mike Duff
Title: Contributing editor

Mike has been writing about cars for more than 25 years, having defected from radio journalism to follow his passion. He has been a contributor to Autocar since 2004, and is a former editor of the Autocar website. 

Mike joined Autocar full-time in 2007, first as features editor before taking the reins at Being in charge of the video strategy at the time saw him create our long running “will it drift?” series. For which he apologies.

He specialises in adventurous drive stories, many in unlikely places. He once drove to Serbia to visit the Zastava factory, took a £1500 Mercedes W124 E-Class to Berlin to meet some of its taxi siblings and did Scotland’s North Coast 500 in a Porsche Boxster during a winter storm. He also seems to be a hypercar magnet, having driven such exotics as the Koenigsegg One:1, Lamborghini SCV12, Lotus Evija and Pagani Huayra R.

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bowsersheepdog 18 September 2016

Horsepowers for courses

I'd be more impressed if it were faster from Ullapool to Bettyhill.