By on June 24, 2016

Mercedes-AMG GT R (C 190), 2016, Image: Mercedes-Benz

With news guaranteed to excite tire retailers everywhere, Affalterbach is introducing an even hotter version of its low-slung GT, dubbed the GT R.

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R is billed as a more extreme way to get your AMG fix, with 577 horsepower, active aero, rear steering, and the owner’s manual carved into your face with a hunting knife.

Mercedes-AMG GT R (C 190), 2016, Image: Mercedes-Benz

AMG’s new GT R will deploy the familiar 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine handcrafted by white-moustached German men possessing micrometers handed down from their grandfathers. Thanks to new turbochargers resting in a hot-V and a hike in boost to 19.6 psi, the engine produces 577 horsepower and 516 pounds-feet of twist. This represents increases of 74 and 37, respectively, over the former top-rung GT S, whose owners are surely lacing up their Cole Haan loafers and heading to a Mercedes dealer to trade their S for an R.

Active aero is a reliably neat party trick, which makes an appearance here on the underbody in front of the engine. At a speed of 50 miles per hour in Race Mode, this 4.4 pound carbon component automatically moves downward 1.6 inches, changing the airflow considerably. The resultant Venturi effect sucks harder than a naughty co-ed, forcing the car down onto the road surface and reducing the front-axle lift by around 88.2 pounds at 155 mph.

Mercedes-AMG GT R (C 190), 2016, Image: Mercedes-Benz

Joining the active aero is rear-wheel steering, which is used on a Mercedes-AMG model for the first time here. Two steering actuators replace the conventional control arms on the rear axle, creating a maximum toe angle change on the rear wheels of 1.5 degrees. Up to a speed of 62 mph, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels, virtually shortening the wheelbase. Beyond 62 mph, the system turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the fronts.

The exclusive and retina searing “AMG Green Hell Magno” paintwork seen here is a tribute to the Green Hell of the Nurburgring racetrack as GT R test mules spent most of their development time on that circuit. I must confess to having read the paint’s name as “Green Hell Mango” about a dozen times before realizing my error.

Comparisons to Hannibal Lecter’s mask aside, the vast “Panamericana grille” is an AMG GT R exclusive, a visual element that tries to evoke the 300 SL racing car that won the Panamericana road race in Mexico 64 years ago. Wider front and rear fenders allow an increased track width for more grip and higher cornering speeds. A large rear aerofoil and a new double-diffuser rear fascia enhance aerodynamic efficiency while the lightweight forged wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires promise adhesion similar to that of a sticky movie theatre floor. With an expected curb weight of around 3.428 pounds, the GT R weighs about two ex-wives less than the 3,627-pound GT S.

Mercedes will announce pricing closer to the on-sale date, late in the second quarter of 2017. The S, at $131,000, is a $20,000 walk from the now plebeian base GT, so expect the R to command a similar premium over the S. Equipped with the AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed Dual Clutch transmission, Mercedes estimates the rear-drive GT R will turn the 0-60 trick in 3.5 seconds on its way to a 198 mph top speed. We can only wonder what Nissan thinks of the name.

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