Mercedes-AMG GT R to Debut at Next Month's Goodwood Festival of Speed

The Mercedes-AMG GT R - the faster, more track-oriented version of the superb GT launched early last year - has been spotted testing all through the winter, and its camouflaged body continues to be occasionally seen on the streets or on the Nurburgring.
2017 Mercedes-AMG GT R 1 photo
Photo: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
Two months ago, the official confirmation of its imminent 2016 launch came through the words of Tobias Moers, the CEO of Mercedes-AMG, who confirmed that the GT R will be presented sometime this year. He didn't go into detail but recently surfaced new information suggests that the chosen venue will be the Goodwood Festival of Speed to take place this June.

Mercedes-Benz and its power division AMG had been lacking a dedicated sports car for the last few years. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG did a fine job, but it was with one foot into supercar territory, and the other in that of the grand tourers, so it played in a different league. With the introduction of the GT, Mercedes-AMG took the fight straight to Porsche and its 911 models. But despite its more than decent performances, the GT could not compare to the more radical 911 GT3 RS.

That's where the GT R comes in. With a rumored output of around 580 hp obtained from the same 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 engine, the new car would considerably out-muscle Porsche's model, which uses a naturally-aspirated straight-six engine. However, these aren't the kind of cars to fight a number's battle, unless those numbers are circuit lap times. With the Porsche renowned for its excellent track optimisation, the Mercedes-AMG GT R needs to rise well above the previous top model, the GT S.

The engineers left no stone unturned, so there are plenty modified elements on the new car. It's got a stiffer suspension, new aero elements, a strengthened transaxle gearbox, and, most importantly, a lower curb weight thanks to some stripping and a few carbon fiber body panels. It will still weigh more than the radical GT3 RS from Porsche, but it also comes with more horsepower and a lot more torque.

Design wise, the most noticeable elements are the new grille (which Mercedes-AMG calls "Panamericana" as a reference to the 1952 SL Panamericana race car), the rear air diffuser with the central exhaust and the rear wing. It'll have different-sized wheels front and rear, and that's because it's going to be a rear-wheel-drive car.

That extra power will have a bearing on the car's performance, and so the GT S' 3.8 seconds 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) acceleration time should be cut short by a few tenths of a second. Its 193 mph (311 km/h) top speed may very well remain the same, but that's still plenty to justify a launch at the very aptly named Goodwood Festival of Speed.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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