Over the last several years Mercedes-Benz has aggressively expanded their lineup here in the U.S. adding new levels of utilities and entry-level models. But with that their commitment to the high performance side of motoring things hasn’t wavered one bit, evidenced by an updated AMG GT R. Let’s hit the track and find out if AMG’s two-door terror is a trick or a treat.
It was just two years ago that the Mercedes-AMG GT R arrived to take their GT Coupe to higher levels of road prowess than ever before. Well, after recently launching an all-new high performance 4-Door Coupe, AMG engineers apparently had some time left on their hands to make some updates to the 2020 GT R.
Now, it will take a keen eye to pick up on the visual enhancements, as they’re very minor; just new headlights and revised tail lights.
Inside, the center stack has been addressed with a new touchscreen on top of the dash; while control panels on the console get upgraded from backlit buttons to individual touch-sensitive TFT display buttons.
The biggest update, and why we’ve come to Dominion Raceway in Thornburg, Virginia is new AMG DYNAMICS. Basically, a new level for DYNAMIC SELECT drive modes; AMG DYNAMICS can further enhance the driving experience through stability control, power allocation, and steering characteristics over four new settings, based on which drive mode is selected.
Basic is for Slippery and Comfort modes, with intervention arriving early and often and driver safety priority number one. Advanced is available in Sport Mode, and heightens chassis and steering response; a perfect setup for winding back roads.
Pro is found in Sport+ mode; here, the car anticipates cornering loads and available traction; and diverts maximum power to the rear wheel that can use it most.
Master is available in Race mode; AMG now gives you as neutral a setup as possible for a street car, with extremely heightened steering response. So, careful, you might get spooked!
Getting the easy stuff out of the way first; regardless of settings, this car is very fast and sounds very awesome.
The GT R Coupe may feel tight and a tad hyper on the street; but on a track, it feels perfectly at home. Suspension travel is minimal, so you do get bounced around; but like a true race car, the faster you go, the more things smooth out.
As before, there’s a whole lot of hood in front of you, and it takes a few laps to figure out where the front wheels are; but once you’ve got a feel for it, everything is point-and-shoot simple.
It would be very remiss of us to neglect what’s under that long hood, a 4.0-liter turbocharged piece of automotive brilliance. No changes from last year, and none were really necessary; as this V8 pours out 577-horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque.
That power goes strictly to the rear wheels of course, and back there, for balance, you’ll find a rear-mounted 7-speed DCT transmission as well.
There are the usual trick paddle shifters, but we found them a little slow to respond. The car does so well all on its own however; we got the best results by just leaving it in auto. Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. You can find some oversteer; but for the most part, this car just wants to grip and rip.
The whole time that you’re doing all of this, you’ll be gripping a new steering wheel that’s heavily contoured and feels great to the hands. It also now houses a drive mode selector; great idea, but it’s also easily bumped when you’re shuffling the wheel through tight corners.
Keeping a firm grip on that wheel at the drag strip, after engaging launch control, the GT R shoots off the line with zero wheel spin. It’s an easy and repeatable process, evidenced by our 3.6-seconds to 60 being exactly the same as the last GT R we tested down at Roebling Road Raceway two years ago.
Shifts were firm, with a nice deep bark from the engine; as we completed the ¼-mile in 11.5-seconds at 129 miles-per-hour.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 20-Highway, and 17-Combined. Our average, 18.1 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
Pricing is still spooky too, starting at $163,895, or about 25-hundred bucks more than last year.
The original Mercedes-AMG GT was conceived with the Porsche 911 squarely in its 3-pointed sights; the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R has become much more than that. It’s an enticing car, that despite the high-performance pedigree and on-track capabilities; remains a very luxurious and comfortable car to go about your daily business. It’s an envious marriage of Mercedes-Benz indulgence with AMG performance, and a perfect treat indeed!
Engine: 4.0 liter
Torque: 516 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 3.6 seconds
1/4 mile: 11.5 seconds @ 129 mph
EPA: 15 mpg city / 20 mpg highway