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The 25.95 twisting and tortuous kilometres that make up the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit, known as the ‘Green Hell’, are famed as the ultimate proving ground for production cars. And it’s there in the Eifel Mountains that the AMG GT R has been nurtured, honed and taken to the limits. This is the fastest and most track-focused of all AMG models.
Both the Coupé and the Roadster come with Active Brake Assist, AMG high-performance composite brake discs, Traffic Sign Assist and the Mercedes Me Connect emergency call system. Safety features that are specific for the Roadster include Pre-Safe preventive occupant protection, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Distronic adaptive cruise control.
That mile-long bonnet and compact two-seat cockpit just ahead of the rear axle conjure up images of great Mercedes-Benz racing victories of the past, from the Mille Miglia to the Carrera Panamericana. Changes to the GT R from the GT S include a fixed rear wing, wider carbonfibre wings at the front and extended steel wheelarches at the back to accommodate the wider track.
Carbonfibre is also used for the roof panel as well as in the bracing that makes the GT R’s chassis even stiffer than that of its S sibling. Active aerodynamic features include an underbody aerofoil that extends ownwards at high speeds, reducing front axle lift by 40kg at 155mph. Exterior finish options include the extrovert ‘‘Green Hell Magno’, a vivid green tribute to the Nürburgring.
With a 4.0-litre V8 that develops 585hp at 6,250rpm, the 0-62mph time seems almost an irrelevance; blink and it’s over. But for the record, it will flash past in 3.6 seconds. Transmission is via an AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed box and power goes to the rear wheels only, tamed by an electronically controlled AMG rear axle limited-slip differential.
The AMG Dynamics Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) offers you a choice of Basic, Advanced, Pro or Master, depending on conditions (and how confident you feel). Rear axle steering, AMG ride control and AMG Traction Control extend the performance envelope for grip, stability and agility.
The cockpit of the AMG GT R gives the driver a clear 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with choice of three display styles, plus a central COMAND Online 10.25-inch display for infotainment. The specification includes LED High Performance headlamps with Adaptive High Beam Assist, Parktronic parking assistance and the Memory package for steering column, seats and exterior mirrors settings.
Owners of the GT R Roadster can enjoy the delights of open-air driving in cooler temperatures thanks to the Airscarf warm air outlets in the seat headrest. The Roadster also gets an extra speaker in its Burmeister high-end sound system when compared with the Coupé.
Verdict: the list of cars that have the performance to keep up with the AMG GT R is a very short one, and the rest are either mid- or rear-engined. The AMG GT R is arguably one of a kind; a very special front-engined supercar in the great Mercedes-Benz racing tradition.