Loyal followers would know by now that we had the Mercedes-AMG GT R all to ourselves over a weekend recently, and it’s now featured in our latest March 2020 Issue.
As much as this race special deserves a track test, the opportunity for one sadly didn’t present itself, but that didn’t stop us from wondering what daily life with one was like.
Though our weekend road test stint was both short and very much drenched by thunderstorms, we still managed to discover a few more things about the three-pointed star’s most extreme and focused road car yet…
1. This isn’t the ideal ‘Date Car’
The decision to task the AMG GT R as the ride on Valentines Day evening wasn’t ideal we’ll admit, but it was far from terrible to say the least.
This is evident when you find yourself, and your passenger, feeling a tad laboured trying to get out of the fixed bucket seats – FYI, you can only slide them forwards and back – after having all your bones shook loose from a 45-minute crawl through KL’s Golden Triangle. Race-derived suspension, even with clever electronic dampers or not, will ensure that.
In short, if you’re planning to use a car to set the mood on a romantic occasion, the less extreme GT C is a better candidate for this job.
2. There are two seatbelt systems for the driver
Like most race specials, the AMG GT R’s cabin is blessed with a half roll cage mounted just behind its two fixed race buckets, which allows the installation of a four-point harness in the driver’s seat.
Despite that, there’s still a traditional B-pillar mounted three-point seatbelt assembly present, which is what anyone would want for ‘normal’ driving. Unless you’re at the track, the harness seems a bit much. The laughs we got from onlookers whilst trying to get in and out of them at the local fuel pumps says it all.
3. High-speed aerodynamics is serious business
No, we’re not just talking about the fixed carbon fibre rear wing the AMG GT R has. One of the switches in both the centre stack and the steering wheel lets you extend or retract a forward air dam too.
The difference when this is deployed is stark at racing speeds. The front end felt less planted and perhaps a tad twitchy at such speeds when the air dam is retracted. Extend the air dam and it defeats this twitchiness, adding the sense of having the AMG GT R glued to the asphalt instead.
The only annoyance about the air dam is that the AMG GT R has to be stationary and in park to toggle. Nevertheless, if you’re going to do high-speed runs or carve corners as quickly as Bernd Mayländer would, it’s a small annoyance to deal with.
4. Selectable TCS levels is both neat and useless
One of the biggest gimmick present on board is the bright yellow knob that sits just under the four air vents in the dash’s centre. This is of course the selectable traction control level knob.
To use it, the Dynamic Select mode needs to be set in Race mode, and the electronic stability control (ESP) turned off. With these two steps done, the knob lights up and presents the choice of up to 10 levels of intervention.
Though it sounds pretty neat, your name better be The Stig, Jazeman Jaafar or Lewis Hamilton if you plan on using it, and that you’re in a track – hence the Race mode fail-safe activation.
5. Thank heavens for Slippery mode!
A bit of a surprise, but the thunderstorms that bogged our test time kept both the AMG GT R’s race-derived tyres and ceramic brakes cold – not good when you have 585bhp and 700Nm of twist eager to be let loose.
The presence of a ‘Slippery’ mode makes things manageable by putting all the AMG GT R’s electronic nannies at their, well… nanniest, and its grunty 4.0-litre V8 relaxed a little.
Don’t be fooled, a pair of cold rear tyres will still spin out in the wet when the throttle is pinned, but it’ll be very brief, and the AMG GT R will still point straight. This mode will save you – and your passenger – from a lot of Code Brown moments indeed…
6. It’s a bit of a bargain*
Yes, that statement sounds grossly erroneous, especially given its hefty RM1,712,888 sticker price sans insurance, but hear us out…
While most race specials like the Porsche 911 GT3 RS double up as limited-run specials, the Mercedes-AMG GT R is NOT one of those, and it costs much less than said Porsche special – both when new and flipped by re-sellers.
This Merc is still theatrically quick and focused as any of its limited-run peers, but the fact that you can walk in to any Mercedes-Benz dealer today and order one without waiting too long or worry about its fluctuating market value makes it a true bargain.
Don't forget to pick up a copy of our March 2020 issue and read our full review of the Mercedes-AMG GT R.