Get Up to Speed with the Mercedes-AMG GT R | Inspire
Get Up to Speed with the Mercedes-AMG GT R
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MercedesLove

Get Up to Speed with the Mercedes-AMG GT R

Two laps at Kyalami's world-class Grand Prix circuit to master Mercedes-AMG's 50th anniversary gift – the Mercedes-AMG GT R? We'll take it.

Ahead of me, a two-car convoy of Mercedes-AMG GTs pulls hard out of the S-bends towards the infamous blind Wesbank corner at Kyalami. The first: a 375kW Mercedes-AMG GT S, the second: a Mercedes-AMG GT C roadster, boasting an uprated 410kW. I'm at the back with the best seat in the house in the 430kW Mercedes-AMG GT R. Force-fed V8 engines guffaw at maximum attack, double-clutch transmissions rat-a-tat off shifts like a trio of crazed drum majorettes.

AMG GT C Roadster, designo Selenite Grey Magno.AMG GT C Roadster, designo Selenite Grey Magno.

The roaring trifecta is in perfect unison, except for being in reverse power order. The GT C brakes too early for Wesbank, and I slide right by. Look for the treetop on the blind rise and trust the track is still there before dropping anchor – that's the trick. The GT S goes in too hot – no carbon ceramic brakes – and is now off line as we start down the "Mineshaft". Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s cling hard to the tarmac, active aerodynamics in the form of a chin spoiler that deploys at 80km/h in Race mode gives exceptional front-end grip. Rear-wheel steering means I have so much confidence in the car I power past the GT S in the cavalcading dip.

AMG GT R, Green Magno. AMG GT R, Green Magno.

It's just me, clear air and glorious open track now. With one-and-a-bit hot laps of Kyalami to go I'm up to speed, flowing like mercury, letting speed be my guide. No hardship in the exquisitely balanced GT R. One can scarcely believe there was more to be had from the bombastic 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, then AMG fitted new turbos, upped boost pressure and tweaked management. The result is a turbo engine that spins with seemingly infinite centrifugal force, like it's naturally aspirated. Deploy Race Start and 0-100km/h happens in 3.6 sec, 200km/h registers just 7.0 seconds after that, and top schnell lives at 318km/h.

AMG GT C Roadster, designo Selenite Grey Magno.AMG GT C Roadster, designo Selenite Grey Magno.

Go pedal-welded to the firewall down Kyalami's signature long straight, the efficacy from the mighty motor is all-compelling, and in a blur we hit 245km/h – in a road car! – before a stab on the brakes quickly shoves surrounds into reverse. The GT R proves so grippy through the next left, right, left complex I can only grimace as my internal organs play G-force dodgems. At this point, the GT R's race-derived nine-mode traction control is in its element. I've got it somewhere in the "middle" setting; a buzzy flash on the central dial shows it is indeed intervening. I back it off two clicks and it feels just right.

AMG GT R, Fire Opal Red.AMG GT R, Fire Opal Red.

This is the GT R's chief party trick in its overflowing bag of tricks. It's brutally fast, but thanks to tech directly from the AMG GT3 race car, it's not intimidating. The truth is you're likely to get more crossed-up in a "regular" GT S. One relentless stint later I alight, then take a final look at that AMG Panamericana grille, long prow and elegant cabin-back stance. I've made up my mind about the "Beast from the Green Hell". Forget the epithet. It can be counted among the titans of modern super sports cars. And it's available in red and black (at no extra cost) too.  



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