What is it?
Here's as sure a sign as you’ll get this side of its new, Formula 1-powered hypercar that Mercedes-Benz in general and its AMG division in particular are getting very serious indeed about their high-performance weaponry. The new Mercedes-AMG GT R may not be the most powerful car in AMG history and even at £143,245, it remains some distance from the most expensive, but for sheer, naked aggression and laser-like focus on the driving experience, it represents a new level for the company.
Think of it relative to a Mercedes-AMG GT S as you might a Porsche 911 GT3 to a 911 GTS. One changed letter, one entirely transformed car.
We’ll start with the body and structure, where carbonfibre construction for the front wings, rear spoiler, torque tube and roof plus some additional underbody bracing make the car both lighter and stiffer. The chassis has wider tracks, coilover suspension units, bespoke spring, damper and anti-roll bar settings, and vastly fatter tyres – the rears are 325/30 ZR20s – not to mention Mercedes’ first use of active rear-wheel steering, programmable nine-stage traction control, optional forged, implausibly lightweight aluminium wheels and colossal (and also optional) carbon-ceramic brakes.
Less has changed under the bonnet, but new turbochargers, a revised compression ratio and fresh mapping still manage to add a further 75bhp to the 4.0-litre V8’s output, to bring the total to 577bhp, with a chunk of additional torque too. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is retained, but with a longer first gear, a shortened seventh and an overall reduction in the final drive ratio.
In aerodynamic terms, an invisible deployable front lip spoiler, a double rear diffuser and an adjustable rear wing not only provide meaningful downforce but, impressively, manage to do so while improving drag.