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From the ’71 300SEL 6.8 ‘Red Pig’ to the merging of the firms in the early ’90s, Mercedes-Benz and tuning arm AMG have fitted together hand in glove.
It’s a relationship that has spawned some of the most exciting road cars of the past 40 years, yet the Mercedes-AMG GT represents just the second time the Affalterbach team has designed a car from scratch.
Now, the boffins have pulled out their slide-rules to create an even more focused version: the GT R Pro.
The standard GT is a two-seater grand-tourer-cum-sports-car designed not so much to smash lap records as to lure customers away from its Teutonic rivals, and in standard form it makes an interesting alternative to the more ubiquitous Porsche 911 and Audi R8.
In range-topping GT R Pro guise, however, it transforms into a blisteringly quick road car and a circuit weapon capable of giving even McLaren 600LTs and 911 GT3 RSs a run for their money.
With a price-tag tickling £190k you wouldn’t expect anything less, but a glance at the spec sheet shows that the £40k premium over a GT R has been well spent.
At its heart is a souped-up version of the GT’s 3982cc V8, with 577bhp courtesy of twin turbochargers nestled between the banks of cylinders, mated to an incredibly slick seven-speed transaxle ’box.
There are huge carbon-ceramic brake discs at all four corners, plus coilover suspension that allows you to adjust everything from spring preload to anti-roll stiffness, damper compression and rebound.
There is a partial roll-cage, and the Pro gets a new aero package with wing louvres, a front splitter, rear diffuser and adjustable rear wing, adding 99kg of downforce at 155mph, the cumulative effect of which shaved almost 7 secs off the GT R’s Nordschleife lap time.
Few cars have the swagger of a powerful front-engined super coupé, and the GT R has more attitude than most.
It’s beautifully proportioned from the outside, but from within the view over the long bonnet is as intimidating for the driver as it is for those you draw up behind.
With 0-60mph in just 3.5 secs it has the bite to back up the bark, yet it isn’t the nightmare you might imagine on UK roads – quite the opposite.
For all its pace and presence, it rides remarkably well over even poorly maintained asphalt.
Ever since the Miura, mid-engined supercars have held the dynamic edge over their front-engined rivals.
The GTR Pro lands a punch in the other direction, proving a genuine rival on road or track.
Any fears that the Pro might be outshone by the imminent run-out Black Series evaporated as soon as the latter’s £335,000 price-tag was announced, putting the two cars in different leagues in terms of finances.
In any event, the GT R Pro turns out to be such a well-rounded and outrageously rapid machine that it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting more.
Images: Max Edleston
- Engine 3982cc twin-turbo V8; 577bhp @ 6250rpm; 516lb ft @ 2100-5500rpm
- Transmission seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, RWD
- 0-62mph 3.5 secs
- Top speed 197.6mph
- Mpg 22.8
- Price £188,495