Only the second vehicle engineered from the ground up by Mercedes’ high-performance AMG division, the GT supercar was built to do one thing: battle the Porsche 911. Released in 2015, the GT line was imagined as a more focused and refined version of its predecessor, the gull-winged SLS. But to destroy monsters you must first become one, so the mad scientists at AMG further weaponised the sleek coupé to unleash the GT “R”—a.k.a. the “Beast of the Green Hell.”
The moniker was earned after the GT-R’s December 2016 record-setting lap of the Nordschleife, the Nürburgring’s North Loop, dubbed “the Green Hell” for its supreme difficulty. There are countless reasons why this lap time is important, but suffice it to say no other single metric so accurately judges a car’s absolute performance: how the power, acceleration, suspension, handling, and gearing work in symphony.
The GT-R is the pinnacle of the AMG range. There are aerodynamic parts that move at high speeds (a front lip that lowers according to the car’s downforce needs); sophisticated coil-over suspension that adjusts to road conditions; and strategically placed carbon-fibre and magnesium parts. For the first time in a Mercedes production vehicle, the GT-R features a traction control system that can be fine-tuned to one of nine settings. The canary-yellow dial in the centre stack gives the driver great nuance to adjust the amount of wheel slippage the GT-R will allow before alerting its safety wizardry. Its rear wheels even turn like your front wheels would—a high-performance bit of gadgetry that adds agility in sharp corners and balance at ludicrous speeds.
Just how ludicrous? Try a 198-mph terminal speed, powered by a 577-horsepower twin-turbocharged V-8 power plant. Coming from the company that invented the automobile, that’s saying something. The most remarkable aspect of the GT-R, however, is its control. This is a startlingly focused vehicle. Although the pivoting rear wheels make the steering input ultrasensitive, on streets the rear axle never leaves the asphalt. Monsters, it seems, never lose their grip.