Test Drive Notes Library
- Performance. This is essentially a track car. There’s no roll cage, fire extinguisher, or five point restraints. There are passenger car interior parts. But they didn’t start with the seat heaters and build outward. They started with a low, wide chassis capable of ridiculous cornering speeds, and then added an engine powerful enough for head snapping acceleration. Floor the pedal at almost any speed, and you’ll have an instant smile on your face. Or maybe it’s just that the g-forces are pulling the corners of your lips back towards your ears making it look like you’re smiling.
- Super-fast. This is the highest performance version of the AMG GT, the GT-R. Not that any of them are econoboxes. This one has 4.0L twin turbo V8 that puts out — wait for it — 577 horsepower and nearly that much torque. It uses a dual clutch 7-speed automatic. It goes from 30-80 faster than most cars go from 30-40.
- Cornering. Wide and low and absolutely sticks to the road. In most cars, the danger in cornering too fast is that you’ll go off the road. The danger in the GT-R is that the car will do fine, but you’ll get a nasty bruise on your left cheek from being pushed up against the driver’s window. We didn’t try anything stupid in this car, and we don’t recommend anybody does. But on our normal, twisty road test route, the AMG GT-R never even came closing to feeling like we’d taken a corner too fast. It just hunkered down flat and pointed its way through.
- Looks.It’s certainly not for everybody. In fact, it’s not for us. It’s a phallus on wheels. You sit nearly on top of the rear axle, and look over a long, sculpted hood. It’s a classic sports car, in the mold of a Jaguar XKE that injected Stanozolol in its ass and spent too much time at the gym. On the other hand, you have to admit it’s a beautiful sculpture of a car. And if you’re a collector, it’s the only one like it you’ll have in your garage.
- Interior quality.Hat tip to whoever designed the flat-bottomed steering wheel, which is thick and suede covered and feels feels great in your hands. The materials and build quality are excellent, overall. We wondered whether a car this hard riding would eventually develop rattles and squeaks. Sure enough, at some point we heard a little rattle. Then we realized it was our phone rattling in the cup holder. Our bad.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Where you gonna drive it? As impressive a piece of engineering as it is, unless you’re actually planning to drive it on a track, where are you going to come close to making use of its capabilities? It’s greatest advantages can’t be fully employed 99% of the time you’re driving it, which makes it more likely to be a showpiece in a collector’s garage.
- A beast. It’s not that enjoyable to drive. If you used this as your daily driver to work and CVS, you’d sell it in two weeks and buy a Nissan Sentra. The first time we drove it, we set off slowly down the street thinking, wow, this thing is harsh. It’s low, stiff, confining, loud. This is how the princess must have felt about that pea! But then we saw there were different settings for the suspension and engine mapping. Aha, we thought, we’ll just put it in Comfort mode and fix this. Except it already was in Comfort mode.
- Way harsh. Owning the GT-R doesn’t make any sense if most of your driving is in urban or suburban America. You’ll experience all the downside of the harshness without using the upside of the performance. We even found it fatiguing to drive on the highway, which is obviously much smoother than your average city street. To be fair, the GT-R is the harshest and highest performance version of the AMG GT. The base car starts at some $30K less and only puts out 469 hp. We never drove that version, but we’re guessing it dials back some of the most fatiguing qualities of the GT-R, and might be the better daily driver.
- Interior layout. The GT-R is low to the ground, so getting into it involves a controlled fall. Then you have to lift your legs over the high sill (undoubtedly there to improve the car’s rigidity and handling). Once inside, the seats are comfortable, but very heavily bolstered to hold you in place during cornering, so make sure you fit. The electronics are typical of Mercedes these days, which means somewhat confusing. The screen is not a touch screen, so your only option is to control it with the awkward touch pad. Given how cozy the cockpit is, a touch screen would make a lot of sense. Placement of some controls on the center console is just weird. The shifter is awkwardly placed too far back. And do I need the exhaust sound level button to be closer to me than the sound system's volume knob?
- Speaking of exhaust sound. OK, this can be a plus or a minus, depending on whether you ever want to sneak home late at night without waking up your spouse. Or leave in the morning without waking up your neighbors. There are two exhaust modes: Balanced and “What??? What’dyou say???” Even “balanced” is loud.
- Price and mileage. We’re not going to even report the mileage because, seriously, if you’re spending $195K for this car, you absolutely don’t care. The GT-R has a base price of about $163K. It’s fair to say our test car had just about every conceivable option, including the $500 red seat belts.
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