June 27, 2016 @ 04:47 PM

There’s a new GT R in town

AMG fires warning shots with most hardcore version of the GT yet.

GT-R fanboys take note: Godzilla now has a challenger for those three coveted letters that roughly translate into “bat-out-of-hell acceleration and cornering on rails,” according to the petrolhead dictionary.

Once you get over the colour; something the collective Mercedes-Benz marketing wizards have dubbed AMG Green Hell Magno, it should not be all that surprising given its developmental roots. The AMG GT R (not to be confused with that other GT-R from Japan) made its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed the last weekend and will claim the top rung of the AMG GT hierarchy once it hits the road next year.

Like most manufacturers, AMG developed and benchmarked the GT R at the Nurburgring Nordschleife; more affectionately referred to as the Green Hell.

The GT R still runs on the same base 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 but hardware upgrades that include new turbochargers and reshaped exhaust ports work hand-in-hand with revised software, higher boost pressure and increased compression ratio to bump up power to 577bhp and 700Nm of torque. For the sake of reference, the previous range-topper GT S made 503bhp and 650Nm of torque.

A lighter flywheel also improves response through the seven-speed AMG Speedshift DCT that has benefitted from a taller first gear and shortened seventh and final drive ratio for a surge in acceleration while the dynamic engine and transmission mounts are retained.

The standard steroid treatment for further raising the fun factor in a supercar always includes weight-saving and the GT R loses around 13.6kg by means of an exotic carbon fiber propeller shaft. Carbon fiber is also the ingredient of choice for the front fenders and roof although both have been painted over.

So what are the all-important figures that keyboard warriors will need to be armed with on supercar forums? 3.5-seconds for the century sprint.

Visual cues to differentiate the GT R from its lesser siblings include a large fixed wing and wider tracks; 5.5cm wider at the rear, for wider rubbers. A larger centre exhaust outlet passes through a double diffuser that is fed by an undertray. Active aerodynamics comprises an aero lip at the front that lowers above 80km/h in Race Mode to stir up the Venturi effect and pull the car towards the ground.

Those grille louvers are not just for show; they are active and only open when engine bay temperatures shoot up for a cleaner aero profile in the front but more openings in the front fascia increases the cooling capacity. All in all, the aero enhancements bring an extra 155kg of downforce to the GT R.

Now for the handling. Unsprung weight is shaved with forged aluminium wishbones, knuckles, and hubs. The coilovers are manually adjustable but the dampers features AMG Ride Control making them adjustable adaptive dampers.

New to the GT R or any AMG model in fact, is something that the Porsche 911 GT3 packs as well; rear-wheel steering. Toe angles in the driven wheels can be increased by up to 1.5-degrees and work in similar fashion to other systems out there.

Below 100km/h, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to lend the impression of a shorter wheelbase and turning radius while above that mark they turn in tandem with the front wheels to improve stability.

Lighter wheels fill the cavernous wheel arches; 19-inches up front and larger 20-inches in the rear. They will be wrapped in super sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres and hide larger brakes that include optional ceramic rotors.

Finally, for some fun, AMG have tosses in the AMG Traction Control that has nine settings for varying levels of intervention when the going gets tough. Level nine lets the tail slide out quite a bit before reigning it back in and the ESP has to be deactivated for it to do its thing.

The R gets an extra knob inside (and software to go with it) to control the level of slip allowed on the rear axle. There are nine settings, with one being giving the driver a big safety net (good for driving in wet conditions) and nine supplying the maximum in tail-out slideyness. It's called AMG Traction Control and it only works when ESP is switched off.

Sounds difficult to go wrong with a setup like this but on the slight chance that pigs sprout wings and take to the skies, at least the GT R will sound like the god of thunder gargling nails in a hailstorm as AMG exhaust notes are always on point.

Dinesh Appavu

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