The Mercedes-AMG GT R, a supercar that is affectionately known as ‘the beast of the green hell’, has officially been unveiled in Malaysia.

In an unconventional launch at the Sepang International Circuit, the GT R was launched in a cloud of tyre smoke as Mark Raine, Vice President of Sales & Marketing Passenger Cars of Mercedes-Benz Malaysia emerged from the GT R, flanked by current AMG models.

The GT R marks an important chapter in the history of Mercedes-Benz as it bridges the gap between Mercedes race cars and its road cars, namely the GT3 race car on which the GT R is based on. It currently sits at the top of the AMG GT family and offers 585hp and 700Nm of torque from its twin-turbo V8 engine.

It offers shattering performance as well with a century sprint of just 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 318km/h. Power is transferred via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

The GT R is not just another good looking AMG model with monstrous power, everything about the car is functional and serves a purpose. The designers of the car worked closely with the company’s aerodynamics experts and the result is what we call ‘active-aero’, all those wings and splitters help keep the car glued to the road. Take the front splitter for example, it actively reduces lift at the front axle, giving the driver maximum grip.

As with most modern supercars, the underbody also plays a part in aiding air flow, but unlike other supercars, the underbody too is active. At speeds of 80km/h in Race mode, a carbon fibre component automatically moves downwards by about 40mm and changes airflow considerably. This results in something called the Venturi effect, which keeps the car downwards and reduces front-axle lift by around 40 kg’s at 250km/h.

And that rear wing too is not just for show – it keeps the car planted at high speed. The overall design, especially the 15 chrome-plated vertical fins on the front grille is a nod to the AMG GT3 race car, and is also a “throwback” to the Mercedes-Benz 300SL race car that won the legendary Panamericana road race in Mexico way back in 1952.

Then there is the suspension. New AMG coil-over suspension were designed specifically for the GT R, and is intelligently paired to the AMG Ride Control continuously variable, adaptive damping system. The system is electronically controlled and adapts each wheel to the road conditions and speed. The system offers three modes – Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus, with each offering their own unique standard of suspension damping.

Despite its size and weight, the GT R is surprisingly agile thanks to a technology called active rear-wheel steering, which has been offered for the first time on a Mercedes-AMG model. At speeds of up to 100km/h, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels, which indirectly gives the car better reaction to steering input when tackling a corner. Confused? Well imagine this, at speeds of up to 100km/h, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels, and at speeds above 100km/h, the wheels turn in the same direction, making the car sharper, and more agile, even while parking the car.

There is no doubt that the AMG GT R offers pure performance, but it also offers face warping braking power. Offered as standard are the high-performance composite braking system which is fade-resistant. The front discs measure in at 390mm while the rear is 360mm. But if you are the type that loves to drop anchor at the very last minute and need brakes with near supernatural abilities, Mercedes-AMG also offers ceramic high performance composite brake system which are 17 kg’s lighter, have a longer service life, are more fade resistant and measure in at 402mm at the front, and 360mm at the rear.

The ingenuity of the AMG GT R continues with the interior of the car, of which Mercedes says is “strongly inspired by motorsport”. Offered as standard are the ultra-lightweight AMG Performance seats which need to be adjusted manually, and are upholstered in nappa leather while lightweight DINAMICA microfibre is available as an exclusive, track-focused option. The interior comes with the new AMG Interior Night package, where the shift paddles, steering wheel bezel, door sills and boot cross member are finished in high-gloss black, which complements the standard-specification AMG Interior Piano Lacquer package that further emphasises the sportiness of the car. But, if you are interested, you can also opt for a matt black carbon fibre trim.

While the GT R was the star of the show, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia also let us go wild on track with other AMG models, like the C63 AMG Coupe and Saloon, SLC 43, GLC 43, GLA 43 and even the hardcore AMG GT.

A group of professional race drivers from Australia and New Zealand were flown in specifically to teach the group of journalist the fine art of performance driving. Though the program wasn’t entirely focused on performance driving, the lessons included emergency obstacle avoidance, corner entry, and finally and probably the most fun part was the drift practise, which was conducted on special treadless drift tyres, as shown below.

[Keshy Dhillon]

The Mercedes-AMG GT-R is now available in Malaysia, and the full specification can be viewed below.

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