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Home / Technology / Do not buy a Mercedes-AMG GT R unless you plan on taking it to the track

Do not buy a Mercedes-AMG GT R unless you plan on taking it to the track



Dizzy Gillespie (Were He Still Lived) as a beginner or even intermediate musician. If you're not confident in your ability to keep up with all the chord changes, where you are in the song's shape, or the sheer tempo blowing by like a runaway train, it becomes a disaster. But overcoming intimidation and stretching one's self is part of musical growth. The Mercedes-AMG GT is the automotive Dizzy Gillespie and the wheel is the equivalent of sitting in it. The timid wants to run away. With the aggressive spoilers, a gaping and hungry toothed grille, huge tires and a pounding V8 engine, the AMG GT R glowers as you Gillespie might at an open jam session … until the music starts. If the GT R could bark or snarl, it would do that, too. Turns out, though, that the big attitude is largely show.

The AMG GT does not start life as a normal GT or GT model with additional boost shoveled on top.

Lightweight components abound on and in the GT R. The roof, front splitter front fenders, rear wings, rear diffusers, several braces under the car, and the torque tube tying the engine and transaxle together are all carbon fiber. The front carbon-ceramic brake rotors measure 15.8 inches in diameter (401mm) and use six-piston calipers.

By the way, the carbon fiber front fenders allow a front-track width of 1.8 inches (46mm) while the rear track jumps by 2.3 inches (58mm) over the non-GT R. This additional 19×10- and 20×12-inch wide alloy wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires-street-legal track tires if ever any existed.

Truth be told, the GT is a very rough sport car to live on on the street. It was born for the track. The smallest rutting in the GT on the GT turns into a bloodhound, scoring from side to side. When cold, the carbon-ceramic brakes feel distant and touchy. Normal-sized bumps turn into kidney punches. Driving the GT R like a normal SUV or sedan turns you into a boxer's sparring partner.

But then you arrive at the track. In this case, the Bob Bondurant Racing School's West Track.

On-the-road terror becomes a track-bound pussycat

Holy hell. I've been running the Dodge Vipers Bondurant School around this place before (though the 600hp darlings were officially retired last year). The GT R is at least as quick, while being about 300 pounds (136kg) heavier. But the GT R's is not the biggest takeaway; it's how easy the car is to drive at that pace. With a hood that long, with that much weight, with that much polar moment.

Just the opposite. The engine itself is more closely mid-mounted than some cars with the engine actually behind the occupants; The 4.0L twin-turbo V8 is completely behind the front axle and half-under the dashboard. Porsche is long-credited with making a dynamic silk purse out of a sow's ear with the rear-engine 911 and with good reason: that set-up overcomes physics. But the same is true for the GT R.

The old AMG stereotype is that of a German muscle car with more engine than chassis. If that's true, it's no longer, but the fact that they remain are the company's biggest jam. BorgWarner turbochargers grow in size, too.

The standard AMG GT engine is no slouch, but the GT R bests the GT S by 74 horsepower (55kW) and 37lb-ft (50Nm), barking out 577hp (430kW) and 516lb-ft (700Nm) of torque. 19.6 psi (1.35bar) from 17.4 psi (1.2 bar), but that's a drop in static compression from 10.5: 1 in the GT to 9.5: 1 for the GT R. [19659026] Mercedes-AMG uses the same seven-speed dual-clutch transmission from the GT and GT S models, but the ratios are juggled a bit to get the 7th a bit closer. Since it's actually a transaxle, it incorporates an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.

Jim Resnick

The GT R actually flies a multifaceted flag on track. There's a lot of tweaks you can pick from the driver's seat. Chassis, engine, and transmission responsiveness come in five attitudes: Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, Race, and Individual (for which you tweak each individual parameter yourself). Dampers themselves have two different settings as does the exhaust. You can also specify manual gearchanges.

Once acclimated and up to temperature, it does not stop until you ask something really stupid, and at that point, you quickly become stupid and to exactly what level of stupidity. In the middle of the dash, where you can dial in the level and threshold of intervention, you can be an instant hero. When you try left-foot braking as done in single-seat race cars (or racing karts) where there's inevitable overlap in pedal application, the GT can actually cope. The powertrain and stability calibration allows you to seek out the right stability speed.

But the notion of a driver is tuning its own level of stability-even in various modes-is pretty astonishing. A dash-mounted nine-position knob allows an increasing level of slip as you dial it clockwise.

Taking variability even further, adjustable-perch coil-over spring / damper units allow ride-height changes and pre-loading of springs, just like a real race car.

Gran Turismo Sport gives you this much fine control over your traction and stability control. "> <img alt =" Not even Gran Turismo Sport gives you this much fine control over your traction and stability control. "src =" https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/16C1112_040-credit-Mercedes-980×551.jpg "width =" 980 "height =" 551
Enlarge / Not even Gran Turismo Sport

Mercedes-AMG

The incredible shrinking supercar

Back out on track at Bondurant, the 109 ° F degree (43 ° C) day for the brakes on a 3.500lb (1.588kg) sports car. Not for the GT R. Not only did the brakes happily gobble up all the heat of a 15-minute session in brutal desert conditions, so did the engine and transmission. What about 145mph (233km / h), which reduces to 60mph or so left (97km / h). This means repeated hard braking for a significant duration, lap after lap. Not to mention the other eight heavy braking zones. No sweat for the GT R's brakes.

The GT R so turns into more responsively than any 3,500-pound car has a right to, and that's not just down to the car's steering (at both ends, as the car has four -wheel-steering). The electronically controlled differential assist yaw under braking, too. Dynamically, the car just shrinks in size and mass on track, unless you start sliding around intentionally. However, the rearward seating position relative to the car's centerline heightens the sensation of oversteer when hooning like a drift king.

It adds up to a top-shelf, $ 160,000 (at least) track-day special in the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Corvette ZR1 camp. And although the GT is heavy and heavy, those traits diminish the faster you run it.

Listing image by Jim Resnick


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