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Mercedes-AMG GT R breaks cover with 577 hp

by Ronan Glon

The GT R is lighter, sharper, and faster than the standard GT.

Mercedes-AMG has introduced the 2018 GT R after a lengthy teaser campaign.

Positioned above the standard GT and the GT S, the track-ready GT R model is essentially a toned-down and street-legal version of the GT3 race car that was designed to compete in FIA-sanctioned events all over the globe. Visually, it's more aerodynamic because it receives an aggressive-looking body kit that brings a deeper front bumper with a splitter, a large spoiler out back, and a massive diffuser built into the rear bumper. The R's grille is a homage to the iconic 300 SL race car that won the Panamerica race in 1952.

The GT R further stands out from the GT thanks to subtly flared fenders. Buyers looking to really turn heads can order the GT R in a specific shade of green called AMG green hell magno, a name chosen as a homage to Germany's famed Nürburgring track.

There's more to the GT R than meets the eye. Notably, its underbody is fitted with a carbon component that moves down by about 1.6 inches when the car is in Race mode and driving above 50 mph. This creates a Venturi effect that keeps the GT R glued to road by reducing lift on the front axle. As a result, the R is sharper and more dynamic to drive than the standard GT, especially on the track.

In Euro-spec trim, the GT R weighs about 200 pounds less than the GT S -- the next model down in the lineup -- thanks to the widespread use of lightweight materials. AMG points out that the front fenders, the roof panel, and the driveshaft are all crafted out of carbon fiber. The company has also made the GT lighter by fitting forged wheels and removing a good deal of the sound-deadening material.

The R uses an evolution of the GT's twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that has been tweaked to provide 577 horses -- 74 more than the GT S -- at 6,250 rpm and 516 pound-feet of torque from 1,900 to 5,500 rpm. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission sends power to the rear wheels, allowing the GT R to hit 60 mph from a stop in 3.5 seconds and go on to a top speed of nearly 200 mph. The eight-cylinder breathes through a sport exhaust system made with titanium and thin steel.

The extra power is complemented by an adjustable coil-over suspension, and the R is hailed as the very first Mercedes-AMG model equipped with rear-wheel steering. The system turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction as the front ones at low speeds, and in the same direction at high speeds to increase stability.

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R will arrive in the United States halfway through next year. Pricing information hasn't been announced yet.

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