Mercedes-AMG has given us a monster: meet the mighty beast of Green Hell
Mercedes-AMG has a nickname for its new GT-R: the beast of Green Hell. That’s in reference to the Nürburgring, the world’s longest and most tenacious racetrack, which the GR-R has just lapped faster than any other rear-wheel drive production car, ever.
But what works at the ‘Ring doesn’t necessarily translate well to the UK. What, then, is this hellishly green new AMG like on more mundane British B-roads? Now, at last, we’re finally able to find out.
First things first. The AMG GT-R is loud. How anti-social? Why, it’s one of the loudest cars we’ve ever tested. Even in comfort mode, it’s vocal. Switch it to sport or race mode and the cacophony is astounding and outstanding in equal measure. If you’re of the right mindset, you’ll love it. If not, you’ll be terrified.
Mercedes-AMG GT R
Engine: 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8
Torque: 516lb ft
Top speed: 198mph
Economy: 24.8mpg combined
CO2/BIK: band 259g/km/37%
All this noise is made by the same basic twin-turbo V8 engine as the normal GT. Only here, it’s been tuned up by an additional 107bhp, to 577bhp. That’s a massive power increase, and all still delivered through just the two rear wheels. This is why its 3.6 second 0-62mph time is a little down on the four-wheel drive Audi R8 – although get it above 50mph and the two are neck and neck.
Exceedingly sticky (and specially developed) Michelin tyres help here, as does the crisped-up seven-speed DCT gearbox. It also has wider tracks and bespoke suspension, while rear-wheel steering and active aerodynamics add to its repertoire – at speed, it’s literally sucked down onto the road.
It’s still a big, rather monstrous car, and it doesn’t feel as lightweight and incisive as something like a McLaren 540C. Steering feel is no match for the Macca either. But it’s decent all the same and, if you avoid slow corners and super-fast direction changes, the GT-R is a match for any more athletic rival. Even the suspension sits just on the right side of comfortable, although the Audi and McLaren are again better still.
Inside, it feels big; the bonnet is so long, you can’t see the end of it. Thankfully, front parking sensors are standard. The interior design is dramatic, making it a bit of an event to sit within, although a few too many plastics are not up to Audi or McLaren standards, which is a shame. The mass of buttons on the bulging centre console take time to decipher, as does the infotainment system.
One control stands out: a yellow knob next to the air con controls. This is the variable stability control system. Turn it down depending on how brave you are; Mercedes-AMG advises the most lenient setting is reserved only for the track. With this in mind, you can also have an optional track pack, that includes a roll cage, fire extinguisher and four-point harness, plus carbo-ceramic brakes and, if red, silver and grey are too dull, this £7500 Green Hell paint job. Surely you would, wouldn’t you?
This is far from being a subtle supercar, and we love it because of that very fact. It’s blisteringly fast, a guaranteed head-turner, and a bombastic supercar that’s also not half bad through the corners either. There are niggles inside, and purists will still prefer a McLaren or Audi, but for sheer grin-inducing pleasure on a green and pleasant British country road, the best of the Green Hell takes some beating.