We've seen numerous spy pics and a teaser video of the Mercedes-AMG GT R, but this is the real deal. Delivering 430 kW and equipped with a host of upgrades, not to mention an outlandish paint finish, the GT R is the most track-focused series production Benz to date.
The striking AMG "Green Hell Magno" paint finish is bound to make onlookers do a double take. The name of this paint is the key to this vehicle's origin: Green hell is the nickname for the Nurburgring racetrack that manufacturers use to test vehicles. It's punishing and only the most hardcore race-tuned vehicles can post benchmark times around this iconic circuit.
Compared with a standard Mercedes-AMG GT there are wider front and rear wings to compensate for an increased track width, which facilitates more grip and faster cornering. The adapted front grille and rear spoiler (replete with double diffuser) optimise aerodynamics and lightweight alloy wheels with high-performance rubber add to the on-track performance. The stopping power has also been improved with high fade-resistance internally-ventilated and perforated brake discs. Ceramics are available as an option.
On the mechanical front, an adjustable traction control system, active rear-wheel steering and adjustable coil-over suspension are fitted. The 7-speed dual clutch transmission has been updated to cope with the power hike: whereas the standard engine in the AMG GT S pushes out 375 kW from a 4.0-litre biturbo V8, the GT R pumps out 430 kW and 700 Nm (the turbochargers on this model boost more than the standard car's and the management software has been remapped).
The newcomer further features an all-new exhaust system, which not only gives the car a much louder engine note but reduces its kerb weight by 6 kg. The design of the exhaust has changed slightly – it now has two infinitely variable exhaust flaps that open and close depending on which driving mode has been selected. In Sport Plus and Race modes, you get the "full artillery barrage" aural effect, while in Comfort the sound is more muted, but evocative nonetheless.
Being the ultimate incarnation of the AMG GT, performance has to be eye-opening – and it is. It'll go from zero to 100 kph in 3.6 seconds and hit 318 kph if the Autobahn is long enough. However, this vehicle's real purpose is to pound race tracks.
Mercedes-AMG GT R availability in South Africa?
The Mercedes-AMG GT R will go on sale on 21 November 2016, the firm says, and the market launch in Europe will be in March 2017. At this stage we're not sure if this new performance product will make it to South Africa, but, provided units are allocated to the local market and given how popular this sub-brand is, we'd be surprised if it wasn't confirmed.
Watch a Mercedes-AMG GT R video below: