Green is a stupid color for a car. It makes it stand out in the worst possible ways. For example, if you painted a BMW 5 Series bright green, you'd only get scorn from fellow road users. However, if you paint green a supercar with a massive engine, silly wing, and big snouty face...well, who cares what other people think, because it looks awesome.
That's precisely the thinking that Mercedes-AMG has put in to practice with the new AMG GT R, the newest, most hardcore version of its already pretty good GT. It's been given a full AMG overhaul, so you get a big wing, more power, less weight and active aero at the front that helps air flow under the car to make the rear splitter work better and suck the whole car on to the ground at speed. You also get a noise akin to Godzilla having a troublesome morning movement.
In fact, let's start with the noise. It's produced via AMG's 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8. In the GT R, it kicks out 575 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Once it's made its power and delivered it to the rear wheels, the byproduct is a glorious, glorious noise. That noise falls out of titanium tailpipes, which serve to save weight and make the noise better. It's a mechanical growl, one that seems a little odd considering its turbochargers. But hey, AMG knows its onions. And its onions are good.
2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R
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Its 577 horses are delivered only to the rear wheels via a nine-speed gearbox. The 'box itself is pretty good -- it's responsive enough when you want to change gears yourself, but it's not quite as good as Porsche's PDK. Leave it to its own devices, and it makes the right call most of the time. You won't want to leave it to its own devices though -- you'll want to constantly downshift to make the exhaust crackle, pop and boom. Start playing with launch control and you'll find it'll hit 62 mph from rest in 3.6 seconds and fire its way up to 198 mph.
If you want your hardcore car to behave in a civil fashion you can leave it in Comfort mode. That makes its suspension soft and squidgy, its throttle lazy, its steering light and a little bland. Crank up the dial to Sport or Sport+ and the car becomes more akin to the monster it resembles. It's sharper, louder and more lithe. Race gives the car more slip and shows you just what 577 hp can do if you're a sloppy driver -- slide all over the place. It's good fun, but it still provides a safety net for the leaden of foot and meat of head.
You can ignore all of that and turn everything off, relying on the GT3-racecar-inspired, nine-way-adjustable traction control. Sadly, my few laps of the Portimao racing circuit didn't allow for such play.
2018 Mercedes-AMG GT REnlarge Image
On track, with the car in Race, it feels light, a little lighter than you'd expect for a car with such an angry look and GT3-inspired pedigree. That doesn't mean it's bad in the slightest. If anything, it means it's easier to drive. Its cha