AMG’s fastest road car makes SEA debut

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Mercedes-AMG GT R launched: Singapore $POA, Malaysia RM1.7-million 

Sepang Circuit, Malaysia –

Mercedes-Benz launched the top dog of its sports car range, the GT R at Sepang International Circuit today.

Against the backdrop of weekend-long Mercedes-Benz Driving Experience event for media and customers, the brand held the Malaysian and Singaporean debut of the fastest and most powerful, road legal, full production car it currently makes.

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The GT R is the headline model for the GT sports car range, which is currently made up of the AMG GT and AMG GT S, launched in Singapore in 2015. The 462hp GT model retails for $597,888 with COE and the 510hp S model for $682,888 with COE.    

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Mercedes-Benz Malaysia VP Sales & Marketing – Mark Rainne (right) and Peter Hackett, Mercedes Drive Experience Chief Instructor / AMG Racing Driver introduce the AMG GT R

The GT R is priced only upon application for Singapore, but to give you an idea, in Malaysia, the going price is $1.7-million ringgit, compared to the GT S at $1.12-million. In Germany, the price difference is GT-R at 165,410 Euro, and GT S at 136,201 Euro.

Respectively, the price increase is roughly 150 and 120 percent for each country so we can realistically expect the GT R to ring up the barcode at around $900,000 with COE in Singapore. In  other markets there is a 522hp GT C model, which splits the GT S and GT R, but it isn’t available locally.

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As the most hardcore offering of the GT range, the GT R has numerous modifications that make it more suited to life at a faster pace in general, on road and track.

It’s powered by the same 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine but now fettled and tweaked to make 75 more horsepower, for a total of 585hp and 700Nm of torque. A new carbon driveshaft sends power to the rear wheels, claimed to be 13.9kg, or 40 percent lighter than the aluminium version on the standard GT model. A sports exhaust system is standard, while the seven speed dual clutch gearbox has also been modified for quicker shifts.

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0-100km/h happens in 3.6 seconds, top speed is 318km/h and fuel consumption is 11.4L/100km, while CO2 emissions are 259g/km. The AMG GT S, which we tested and already found a snarling handful in Singapore, does 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds with a 310km/h top speed.

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The front and rear track are widened and there’s now a distinctly more aggressive styling. This reflects the fact that the aerodynamics package has been updated for more cooling and downforce. Besides the massive GT wing, has a concealed active aero system, plus active aero louvres on the front end.

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Chassis improvements include a new coil-over suspension setup that works in conjunction with the dynamic select drive mode system. New 10-spoke forged aluminium wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.

Significantly, the GT R has the first instance of all-wheel steering on an AMG model, a feature that’s still a rarity in this segment.

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A touch from the AMG GT3 race car is the new traction control system. It works separately from the ESP system (which itself has three settings : on, sport, off) and solely on the rear wheels with nine levels of operation, allowing the driver to choose how much slip the car allows.

Our impressions from a short drive of the AMG GT S on track , and a taxi ride in the GT R, showed that the GT R has significantly different cornering behaviour, with an increased eagerness to change direction at all speeds, better high speed stability, plus stupendous braking power from the optional, upsized carbon-ceramic brake system.

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Earlier this year, AMG claimed a Nurburgring lap time of 7:10.92, then the fastest time for a rear wheel drive production car. Though eclipsed by the Lamborghini Huracan Performante, and more recently the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, it gives you a rough idea of where the GT R is in the high-performance sports car tables.

AMG GT-R may have a small advantage elsewhere, though. Just as the GT S offers a relatively affordable entry into the world of high – powered sports cars, the GT R could do the same for its segment of more focused sports cars. Though it competes with anything from the Jaguar F-Type R to the Porsche 911 Turbo S, it’s significantly less expensive than its Nurburgring rivals mentioned in the previous paragraph.

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Still, not everyone has a million bucks to blow on an AMG, but earlier this year, AMG also hosted the debut of the new ‘43’ series of cars at Sepang, which sit below the ‘63’ V8-powered models and offer a less intimidating but arguably no less quick introduction to the world of Aafalterbach’s speed machines.

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Derryn Wong