New sporty stars will make oth­ers ap­ple-green with envy

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Lerato Matebese

Fifty years later and the AMG brand is con­tin­u­ing to churn out mod­els to ap­pease per­for­mance car buy­ers — and SA con­tin­ues to be one of the brand’s big­gest mar­kets.

The Af­fal­ter­bach com­pany has ex­panded its AMG GT sports car range with the in­tro­duc­tion of the GT C road­ster and the GT R coupe.

The GT R is the most pow­er­ful vari­ant of the model, al­though as we re­ported last week, the com­pany ap­pears to be work­ing on a road ver­sion of its GT4 race car.

The GT R still has the 4.0l V8 twin turbo en­gine, but with boost pres­sure turned up to 1.5 bar to pro­duce 430kW and 700Nm. The sus­pen­sion and aero have been beefed up and the model can be dis­tin­guished by a ver­ti­cally slat­ted Panamer­i­cana grille and an ac­tive front split­ter that ex­tends from 80km/h, while a prom­i­nent rear dif­fuser is also an­other model spe­cific.

A car­bon-fi­bre boot-deck spoiler is a func­tional and or­na­men­tal ad­di­tion. It is also the only model in the range that comes ex­clu­sively in a matte, ap­ple-green paint job, fur­ther stamp­ing its au­thor­ity as the flag­ship GT model.

We man­aged to un­leash the green mon­ster at the Kyalami race­track and, right off the bat, this is eas­ily the best Merc AMG I have driven in re­cent years. For­get any of those pre­con­cep­tions of all AMG mod­els be­ing blunt ob­jects and one-trick ponies with straight line abil­ity but also some­what in­ept around corners. This model is any­thing but. While the ad­di­tional per­for­mance and ex­tra vis­ual venom make sure it stands out from the gar­den va­ri­ety AMG GT, it is in the han­dling that this model truly sparkles.

Drive it back-to-back with the reg­u­lar AMG GT S and the 11.4l/100km 259g/km nu­ances are quite pal­pa­ble. While the GT S has less front grip and re­quires you to use the throt­tle less ju­di­ciously to pre­vent the back from step­ping out pre­ma­turely, the GT R is the com­plete op­po­site.

Squeeze hard on the brakes into a cor­ner and turn-in and you are left gob­s­macked at how quickly it man­ages to do that. You also feel more con­fi­dent to un­leash power out of corners, which height­ens driver self­as­sur­ance and al­lows you to lean more to­wards the car.

At R2,689,900 it might com­mand a higher price tag than the reg­u­lar GT or GT S vari­ants, but the GT R is a fo­cused track tool that can eas­ily hold its own among even pricier ex­otics.

We also spent time in the R2,599,900 GT C road­ster, which puts out 410kW and 680Nm — but do not let its open-top de­meanour fool you. This re­mains a steady and quite rapid model that gives even more V8 au­ral splen­dour with the fab­ric roof tucked away. Of course, you can also opt for the reg­u­lar GT road­ster, which makes a slightly lower but still po­tent 340kW and 630Nm, and will set you back R2,199,900.

Four South African cus­tomers have put down their names for the GT C road­ster Edi­tion 50, of which 500 have been made world­wide. They will have shelled out R2,864,000 for this lim­ited-run model, which comes in two be­spoke hues, de­signo graphite grey magno and de­signo cash­mere white magno.

How­ever, it is the GT R that con­tin­ues to linger in my mind and I can only hope own­ers of the model will put them on the track oc­ca­sion­ally as that is where it is truly in its el­e­ment.

Price: On sale date: Max power: Max torque: Top speed: 0-100km/h: Combined con­sump­tion: CO2 emis­sions: Star rat­ing:

The Mercedes-AMG GT R charg­ing around Kyalami.

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