Mercedes AMG GT R (2016)

Lewis Hamilton reveals new Mercedes-AMG GT R

Mercedes AMG GT R (2016)Lewis Hamilton has helped Mercedes-AMG reveal a dramatic new 585hp AMG GT R in a dramatic dynamic drive at Mercedes-Benz World Brooklands, UK. The new Mercedes-AMG GT R has had most of its development carried out on the Nürburgring race track to make it one of the most focused high-performance road cars yet built by AMG.

And it even has a paint job to match – a special ‘AMG green hell magno’ green, in tribute to the racetrack Sir Jackie Stewart called ‘green hell’…

Mercedes AMG GT R (2016)

Hamilton was in great form at the reveal of the GT R, grabbing the keys from Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers to take it for a quick spin at the famous Brooklands circuit. “I was surprised it was street legal,” he said: the wide body, extra power and bellowing sound all get his vote.

“The improved aerodynamics are cool too – most people don’t notice that.” So, how has Mercedes-AMG created the bright green new GT R that’s so impressed the reigning F1 World Champion? We found out…

The Mercedes-AMG GT R has been created to bring closer links between its road-going supercars and the firm’s motorsport GT3 racers. There’s a thriving AMG GT3 customer-sport racing series and many of these features have been incorporated into the new GT R. It’s a much, much more focused car than any AMG GT up to now.

Mercedes AMG GT R (2016)

Pretty much everything involved in performance and dynamics is new. Key features of the Mercedes-AMG GT R include wider front and rear wings to cover wider tyres (325-section at the rear!), bigger rear spoiler and a double diffuser similar to that which was banned in F1 for being too effective. It has adjustable coilover suspension, active rear-wheel steering and lightweight wheels with racy cup tyres – plus a huge number of expensive detail changes throughout. Extensive upgrades indeed…

The GT R’s stance oozes attitude. Carbon fibre front wings are 46mm wider, and they’re 57mm wider at the rear. Tracks are wider and there are 19-inch forged alloys at the front, 20-inch rims at the rear. That big rear wing is also manually adjustable depending on the type of use (or type of racetrack you’re at): just like in motorsport.

All-out speed isn’t really the focus here, even though the engine does boast a serious step-up in power to 585hp (compared to the current GT S’ 510hp). This delivers 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 197mph.

Oh, and you’re probably aware there’s already a GT-R in the world – the Nissan GT-R. Clearly though, Mercedes-AMG has reached an agreement that means Nissan’s happy with its GT ‘racing’ being called GT R. We’re sure the lack of a hyphen in AMG’s version is key here…

Mercedes AMG GT R (2016)

The front end oozes aggression. A 15-fin chrome grille mimics the AMG GT3 racer, while the shape of the grille mimics the famous 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL that won Mexico’s Panamerica race. It’s lower and meaner at the front, feeding extra air to the engine, reducing lift and enhancing aerodynamics.

There are active aerodynamics underneath: at 50mph, a carbon fibre panel lowers 40mm, ‘sucking’ the car to the road, something that adds greater stability and extra feel to the steering. It also helps send more air to the rear double diffuser, clamping down the rear end at speed as well. Don’t worry – it’s mounted on springs, so won’t easily be broken…

A Mercedes-AMG first is active rear-wheel steering. Up to 62mph, they turn in the opposite direction to the fronts, making the GT R more agile. Over this, the turn in the same direction, improving high-speed stability and also making it more responsive at speed.

Mercedes-AMG has given the interior a race-style makeover with weight-saving manually-adjustable bucket seats, yellow-highlight dials and, brilliantly, yellow seatbelts.

The 585hp engine is faster-responding and Mercedes-AMG has fitted a lighter flywheel to further enhance the race-like feel. The ‘race start’ launch control has been sharpened too: it now dials up more starting revs and has better control of wheel slip. Dynamic engine and gearbox mounts are fitted.

Mercedes AMG GT R (2016)

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres are standard – rubber that Mercedes-AMG amusingly calls “street-legal racing tyres”. Not only do they have more grip than the regular tyres, they also last 50 per cent longer on a racetrack.

Car tuners love coilover suspension because it’s just like tech from motorsport. It’s fitted to the Mercedes-AMG GT R; it’s fully adjustable and is paired with AMG Ride Control adaptive damping with three settings. Mercedes-AMG suggests ‘comfort’ for the road, ‘sport’ for challenging, undulating racetracks such as the Nürburgring and ‘sport plus’ for flatter, higher-speed circuits such as Germany’s Hockenheim.

You want settings and adjustability? The Mercedes-AMG GT R gives you settings and adjustability – not least a nine-level traction control system, adjusted via a cool yellow twist-dial in the centre console. Choose level 1 for wet weather, up to level 9 for maximum slip. Be Lewis Hamilton om the move, in other words.

The Mercedes-AMG GT R will be a step up from the GT S because “it combines the driving dynamics of our AMG GT3 racing car with the everyday practicality of the AMG GT,” says Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers. “It’s a new benchmark in performance for street-legal cars.”

Mercedes AMG GT R (2016)

The Mercedes-AMG GT R is lighter than other AMG GT models, courtesy of some exotic components. The carbon fibre torque tube, which delivers drive to the rear wheels, weights 14kg, 40 per cent less than standard. There’s less soundproofing, a titanium exhaust silencer, forced alloy wheels and other tweaks. The 15kg overall weight saving over a GT S doesn’t sound huge, but when you consider extra tech such as a stiffer chassis, rear-wheel steering, that larger rear wing, it’s more impressive than it seems.

There’s an interesting nugget in the tech pack for the new Mercedes-AMG GT R: the firm says that incorporating motorsport tech into the AMG GT road car has seen networking between race teams, aerodynamics boffins and designers that has “even resulted in an innovation that now has a patent pending”. Once the patent is granted, we’ll find out what that innovation is, we’re sure…

“Our sports-car and performance brand AMG has its roots in motorsport and, ever since its formation, has repeatedly faced up to the competition on the racetrack. These genes are particularly prevalent in the new AMG GT R. Boasting a wealth of technological innovations, the new top-of-the-range model is proof of the close collaboration between our constructors of racing cars and road-going vehicles,” said Daimler AG board member Prof. Thomas Weber.

Mercedes-AMG GT R launches at Mercedes-Benz World in Brooklands on 24 June – the opening day of the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed. It will go on sale on 21 November 2016 and deliveries will begin in March 2017. Prices? To be confirmed, but there will be a serious hike over today’s £110,000 GT S, that’s for sure…

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