- The Mercedes-AMG GT R represents a turning point for Mercedes-Benz, as the company drives to compete with its sports-car rivals while grappling with an electric vehicle revolution in the industry.
- Mercedes-Benz confirmed plans to electrify its entire lineup before the end of the decade, but currently offers no purely electric model.
- Mercedes’ roots lie in motorsports, and performance runs in its blood as a German company.
- One solution for Mercedes is to follow in the steps of the all-electric Porsche Taycan: Create an entirely new electrified performance car that’s sold alongside its gasoline-powered models.
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The Mercedes-AMG GT R is a heavily modified version of an already fast automobile. Ranked in the high-end sports car category, its level of performance borders the exotic car class thanks to a full battalion of race-inspired components.
But the GT R also represents a pivotal moment for Mercedes-Benz: It’s a gas-guzzling V8 surrounded by an EV revolution that’s about to determine its faith.
At the root this car’s evolution, there’s above all a desire to compete against its rivals. The AMG GT’s original mission was always to offer consumers an alternative to Porsche’s iconic 911. While wildly different from the 911 on a technical level, the AMG GT’s purpose is very clearly the same: offer mind-blowing performance and a driving experience only the best sports cars in the world can provide.
And to be fair, on the road and on the racetrack, the AMG GT and GT R have proven that they deserve the “911 slayer” nickname. These cars have the speed, the reflexes, and most importantly, the character — mostly generated by the V8 engine nestled underneath their long hood — to take on Porsche’s sports car.
Some technical background
The AMG GT R might look refined, but it’s important to know the mind-blowing numbers that hide behind it in order to better grasp how it fits within the AMG GT’s multiple variants.
See it as a direct competitor to a Porsche 911 GT3, or if you prefer, a lighter, more focused, track-ready alternative to the standard model. Like the race-inspired Porsche, this AMG borrows many go-fast toys from Mercedes’ own GT3 race car — things like a nine-mode traction control system, which conveniently allows its driver to modulate its resistance according to their skills.
Power is rated at 577 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, leading to 0 to 60 mph time of about 3.3 seconds and standing quarter mile time of just over 11 seconds. More importantly, in 2017, the GT R set a Nürburgring lap record of 7:10.92, making it the fastest production rear-wheel drive sports car in the world at the time, but also a faster machine than the Porsche GT3.
Evidently, Mercedes-AMG has Porsche beat in the performance war. Except, Porsche is still ahead— not by virtue of transforming one of its historical products, but by introducing a new vehicle