Relishing fast driving on mean Mercedes-AMG machines

Changing the configuration to the launch control and flooring both the brake and acceleration pedals to the limit before you are launched to over 100kph over the next few seconds will bring out the ‘speed demons’ in you

By MAJ

The car industry is about big cars, big engines and speed.

Taking Roman Pearce’s quote from the movie Fast and Furious 6: “And most of all, thank you for fast cars.” And thank you Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG for fast cars.

Recently, the local unit of the German carmaker exhibited the whole range of its AMG cars at the country’s premier race track — the Sepang International Circuit (SIC).

It was a fitting location to show off speed and performance on the track, which for 19 years hosted some of the fastest race cars on the planet.

As a F1 (Formula 1) fan who graced the circuit since the first race, to drive on the tarmac once driven by racing greats like Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton was an occasion. The idea of no speed limit (except for the pit area) was alluring.

So, it was unexpected that Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MBM) used the event to launch the Mercedes-AMG GT R. It is the Silver Arrows offering for the supercar segment and it is the fastest in the Mercedes- AMG GT family.

A Race Car for the Streets

The Mercedes-AMG GT R is a race car made for the streets, but incorporates the DNA of the GT3.

It is a racing thoroughbred for daily driving. Although I would think most owners would take the car out for a spin on weekends, laying rubber on the straights of the country’s highways and do not mind paying some speeding tickets.

MBM sales and marketing passenger cars VP Mark Raine introduced the car to the admiring media spectators in a spectacular manner. Having a professional driver laying rubber and cracking smokes from the few donuts on the circuit was the way to introduce a cracking 585hp car. And the Mercedes-AMG GT R is all you would expect from a supercar.

Called the “Beast of the Green Hell”, the Mercedes-AMG GT R generates 585hp (manufacturer rated) and 700Nm from its four-litre twin-turbo V8 engine.

When the pedal is floored, it rushes from 0kph-100kph in just 3.6 seconds, a third of the time that takes the fastest human to complete a 100m dash. The AMG GT R reaches a top speed of 318kph, but that is electronically capped. The seven-speed dual-clutch trans- mission has been configured for daily driving and the racetracks.

If that does not make you lose a heartbeat or two, tuning companies abroad are already ramping the Mercedes-AMG GT R into speedier demons.

With upgrades, this beast can reach over 750hp and rushes from 0kph-100kph in just three seconds.

Raine was certainly proud of the car, especially with the fact that it is a legal street racing car.

Mercedes-AMG GT R features a new AMG Panamericana direct from the AMG GT3 customer racing car grille and a prominent fixed wing to reinforce the AMG GT R racing DNA.

The car is powerfully sculpted for performance. And the new AMG Panamericana grille adds to the zeal. It also features the 15 chrome-plated vertical fins, citing the look of the new AMG GT3 racing car.

Raine said the car is designed with performance in mind. He said the improvement in the power-to-weight ratio of 2.66/2.79 kg/hp adds to the performance excellence.

The engineers at Mercedes-AMG had incorporated a lightweight, rigid 90% aluminium body and space frame. The use of lighter carbon fibre for components improve the performance further, as the lower centre of gravity ensures the car is glued to the tarmac.

Improvements Overall

Mercedes-AMG

The Mercedes-AMG GT R has incorporated a wide front splitter that reduces lift at the front axle, additional air curtains on the out-side of the front fascia and an active air management system to improve the airflow and aerodynamic performance.

The Mercedes-AMG GT R also embodies a lightweight design 10-spoke wheels that reduce the overall car weight.

For control, the AMG GT R takes in the new AMG coil-over suspension, and combined with the AMG Ride Control continuously variable, adaptive damping system. The system is electronically controlled and automatically adapts the damping on each wheel to the current handling situation, the speed and the road conditions.

What is interesting — the driver can adjust the damping characteristics at the touch of a button in the AMG Drive Unit, or by using the AMG Dynamic Select drive modes. Three modes are available: “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport Plus”.

The “Sport” mode would be perfect for racetracks as it ensures maximum ground contact, while the “Sport Plus” would be ideal for modern Grand Prix circuits.

For agility and stability, the GT R comes with active rear-wheel steering feature. According to the carmaker, up to a speed of 100kph, the rear wheels are turned in the opposite direction to the front wheels.

Once the speed exceeds 100kph, the system turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels, improving handling stability.

The SIC Experience

Mercedes-AMG

The AMG models demonstrate what they can do in term of sheer performance, control, braking and technological advancements

The highlight of the event was not the first look of the Mercedes-AMG GT R. Participants got to drive the various AMG models from the different classes on the Sepang tarmac.

The tests were meant to demonstrate the “demon” in the AMG lines. From a braking test from over 100kph to a standstill in less than a few seconds, to doing a drift on wet areas with slick tyres.

Most exciting is driving these fast AMG machines on the SIC. Testing the “Race Start” launch control of the AMG really takes your breath away.

The sound of the roaring engine. Hands firmly gripping the steering. Changing the configuration to the launch control and flooring both the brake and acceleration pedals to the limit before you are launched to over 100kph over the next few seconds will bring out the “speed demons” in you.

The AMG models demonstrate what they can do in term of sheer performance, control, braking and technological advancements. Thank you for fast cars and AMG.