Were someone foolish enough to appoint me as some kind of advisor to the motor industry, there would be two basic tenets to the philosophy I would preach.
A good-looking bad car will always outsell an ugly good car. Never try to beat the Porsche GT3 RS, because that way trouble lurks.
The reasoning behind the second point is quite simple: every time someone comes along and professes to have bettered Porsche’s road-cum-track missile they end up failing. My warped imagination conjures an image of Porsche GT cars boss Andreas Preuninger channelling Ivan Drago’s evil trainer from Rocky IV: “It’s simple: whatever the RS challenges, it destroys!”
And it really does. Over the years they’ve all tried and been pummelled: BMW, Mercedes, Maserati, Audi – even Ferrari has never produced a machine that could match an RS’s mix of driver appeal, speed and stubborn durability.
At this point, I’d be tempted to introduce the Mercedes-AMG GT R with a note of inevitable disappointment. But even before I’d driven it, just one look at the list of modifcations Mercedes has slapped onto its GT sports car identifes this as the most serious challenger the Porsche has ever encountered. Remember when Drago’s torso was frst unveiled? Gulp. And, yes, I’ll stop with the Rocky references now.
These are the expurgated highlights: 46mm wider front track, 57mm wider rear track. Active front aerodynamics, a massive rear wing, a carbon propshaft, three-way adjustable dampers, ninestage traction control and Michelin Pilot Cup 2 tyres. And Bernd Schneider. No, you don’t get him thrown in with the £143,245 price, but you do get his genius for the car’s set-up.
Power is now 577bhp and torque from the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is 516lb ft. It weighs 1,555kg and has lapped the wiggly place in Germany in 7:10. So, to recap. It is a small RWD coupe with a massive amount of power that has been subjected to a very comprehensive set of changes and then been to fnishing school with some of the best drivers and engineers. And it’s from the Stuttgart area, where we know the DNA is strong for drivers’ cars. The on-paper game is strong from AMG.
But the reality is even more eye-opening. It takes half a lap of any normal-sized racetrack to know you’re in something special, the GT R