Mercedes' previous BDC winner returns in hardcore form
Mercedes-AMG calls it “the Beast of the Green Hell,” an overt nod to its development on the so-nicknamed Nürburgring Nordschleife. It’s the hardcore variant of a previous BDC winner, and it’s out for blood.
Under hood, its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 has been cranked up to 577 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It continues to feed a rear-mounted seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transaxle but with closer-spaced gear ratios. Manually adjustable coil-over springs twist their way around electronically adjustable shock absorbers, and a rear-steering system helps get the maximum agility out of the Cup tires. Carbon-ceramic brakes stop the car, and a manually adjustable nine-stage traction-control system helps get it up to speed again after the corner.
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Get those tires to stick just right, and the 3,680-pound (1,669 kg) GT R will nail the quarter in 11.4 seconds at 127.6 mph (205 km/h) and knock off 60 mph in 3.4 seconds. Around a skidpad, it’ll return 1.12 average g, and on our figure eight, it’ll average 0.96 g during a blistering 22.8-second lap. It even stops fast, needing only 96 feet from 60 mph.
“Phenomenal braking; arguably the most confidence delivered—which is appropriate because this car is bonkers fast, rudeboy loud. It’s throaty and thrusty off the line and very, very confidence-inspiring for a powerful rear drive vehicle. It just sticks—except when it pogos over rough pavement. The vertical motion, driving position, and overall shape of the car are reminiscent of the Viper—as is the confidence it inspires. It’s daunting at first, but once you manhandle it, the GTR just goes. And the more confidence you gain, the faster the AMG GTR goes; the harder you push it, the smaller it drives. It’s great fun to fire the brakes and dive-bomb a corner, then load up the rear wheels at exit, and just squash the throttle. Despite the front wheels appearing way out front, turn-in is evil quick.
“Still, I’m not leaning into the corners as I do with a few in this field. It took until nearly the bottom of the road to find my rhythm with this one. In others, including the winner, that feeling was instant.” – Ed Loh
Read about other 2017 Best Driver’s Car contenders:
- Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
- Lexus LC 500
- Aston Martin DB11
- Nissan GT-R NISMO
- Mazda MX-5 Miata RF
- McLaren 570GT
“Simply brutal. It’s the AMG way. It felt so confident. Great brakes, great power delivery. So easy to drive smoothly. Excellent work from the men and women at Affalterbach.” – Erick Ayapana
“This car is at home on the track; it’s where it makes the most sense. The AMG GT R is a car you need to drive flat out in order to have any real fun in it. Driving it slow isn’t boring, but it’s not enjoyable. Nearer to the car’s limits on a closed road or on track is the AMG’s home. This isn’t an everyday driver’s car, but in fantasy land it’s quite fun.” – Christian Seabaugh
“Driving this car made me laugh out loud. Our Kermit the Frog green AMG GT R provides an experience closer to Mr. Toad’s wild ride. The engine sounds amazing and the ride up Highway 198 actually made me giggle—numerous times, out loud, with no one around to hear me.
“Hang on to the wheel, and let it rip. It has the power to get unruly but holds the road incredibly well. It has so much power at the ready that you can put it in Sport mode and Comfort suspension and still feel like you are running with your hair on fire.
“Just when you think you are about to get into trouble it just sticks. The big beautiful grabby brakes inspire confidence. But the car does have the ability to strike a little terror with so much power and an engine roaring all around you.” – Alisa Priddle
“Absolute, unfettered, grinning-like-an-idiot insanity. If the Camaro had a dual-clutch and had a death wish, it would drive like this. I don’t smoke, but I need a cigarette, badly.
“This is all the excitement and adrenaline the Ferrari and McLaren wish they had. Yes, the car is making you better and faster, but it’s also making you feel like you’re hanging on for dear life. It’s both electrifying and intimidating at the same time.
“The power! My god, the power. Every time you dip into it it’s like being on the end of a fully extended bungee cord.
“My one complaint: even at multiple felony speeds, the brake pedal is very touchy. A bit less bite and a bit more progression, please. It’s hard to modulate in the half an inch of pedal travel between nothing and emergency eyeball extraction. – Scott Evans
“My kind of machine! Brutal, in every sense of the word. You need to be aggressive, and in possession of something akin to intestinal fortitude, but if you take the risk, the GT R offers the reward. The back end is jumpy, but in a predictable way. It’s a much more alive feeling than the regular strength GT S. Very impressive car. This should be a podium car.” – Jonny Lieberman
“AMGs have a personality in their engines of a broad torque curve, and you got still the satisfying pull all the way to redline. And this fat torque curve makes the car easier to drive, too, because it’s more controllable that way. A Dodge Viper picks up torque as it revs, and so maybe you put your foot down at the apex, and then halfway out the corner the torque’s building, and things are changing. Whereas, in the AMG, that stays very much the same, and you just roll it in. It has a wee bit of entry oversteer, so it points for the apex very well. If a tire slides, it’s usually one of the backs. The front was very strong on the way in. I got a little bit of middle push, not much. I mean we’re talking a little bit this way, a little bit that way. Shock damping is well controlled, but it’s not harsh. It still had a decent ride. It was not the least bit upset with the bump in turn six, and I even drifted it over the rumble strips into the new pavement on the last lap.
“It’s powerful enough to spin the tires. The car’s on the edge of that coming out of most of the corners. But this linear response to the throttle and the power curve makes it an enjoyable experience. You’re not wrestling alligators. It’s much more harmonious. I have to roll that power in. You can’t be stabby. And its stuck all the way to the track out.
“I enjoyed the traction control that had adjustment available. Especially in tricky conditions. Any time you don’t trust the grip, that could be really, really cool. And it’s interesting to me that they give it such a priority. It’s right in the center of the dash, painted yellow. For me, that’s a substitute for all-wheel drive.
“Braking was incredibly strong at first. And then the braking gs stayed pretty consistent, it was pretty strong, even up into the corkscrew, and the brake system compensated well for coming over the top. It stopped well even when it was light, which I’ve noticed that a couple of cars here don’t. But the pedal got a little bit long by my last timed lap, which tells me the fluid was getting hot. There wasn’t brake fade, but the pedal travel got a little bit longer. It still stopped, but when I braked for turn five it was pretty long, and when that happens I start thinking “I hope it stops for the corkscrew,” which it did.
“It was an enjoyable car to drive, but it was just a little loose, not hooked up enough in the back.”
|2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R|
|DRIVETRAIN LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD|
|ENGINE TYPE||Twin-turbo 90-deg V-8, alum block/heads|
|VALVETRAIN||DOHC, 4 valves/cyl|
|DISPLACEMENT||243.0 cu in/3,982 cc|
|POWER (SAE NET)||577 hp @ 6,250 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||516 lb-ft @ 1,900 rpm|
|WEIGHT TO POWER||6.4 lb/hp|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed twin-clutch auto|
|SUSPENSION, FRONT; REAR||Control arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar; control arms, coil springs, adj shocks, anti-roll bar|
|BRAKES, F; R||15.8-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc; 14.2-in vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic disc, ABS|
|WHEELS, F;R||10.0 x 19-in; 12.0 x 20-in, forged aluminum|
|TIRES, F;R||285/30R19 94Y; 335/25R20 99Y Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 ZP (Tread 180)|
|TRACK, F/R||66.7/66.1 in|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||179.2 x 79.0 x 50.6 in|
|TURNING CIRCLE||37.6 ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||3,680 lb|
|WEIGHT DIST, F/R||48/52%|
|HEADROOM, F/R||39.5/— in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||43.5/— in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||58.3/— in|
|CARGO VOLUME||10.1 cu ft|
|ACCELERATION TO MPH|
|PASSING, 45-65 MPH||1.3|
|QUARTER MILE||11.4 sec @ 127.6 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||96 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||1.12 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||22.8 sec @ 0.96 g (avg)|
|2.2-MI ROAD COURSE LAP||1:33.01 sec|
|TOP-GEAR REVS @ 60 MPH||2,100 rpm|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$198,445|
|AIRBAGS||8: Dual front, fr side, fr head, fr knee|
|BASIC WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|POWERTRAIN WARRANTY||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE||4 yrs/50,000 miles|
|FUEL CAPACITY||19.8 gal|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB ECON||16/22/18 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||211/153 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||1.06 lb/mile|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||Unleaded premium|