Facelifted Mercedez-Benz AMG GT and GT PRO revealed at LA Motor Show
Mercedes has pulled the covers off its refreshed GT at this year’s LA Motor Show. Aimed squarely at the all-new 992 generation Porsche 911 and a revised Audi R8, the heavily refreshed Mercedes-AMG GT gets updated looks, a tweaked chassis and upgraded technology, plus there’s the addition of a hardcore, limited run AMG GT R PRO that joins the facelifted GT, GT S, GT C and GT R models. The engines, however, remain unchanged, with the familiar line-up of ‘hot-vee’ twin-turbo 4-litre V8s.
Externally the changes to the sheet metal are subtle, with all versions now receive a revised nose with headlamps influenced by the recently launched AMG GT Four Door, while at the rear there’s a new diffuser with either quad exit circular or trapezoidal tailpipes depending on model. Inside there’s now a configurable TFT dial pack as standard, plus the addition of the slick-looking transmission tunnel controls that debuted on the Four Door. Finally, the steering wheel in now the better looking, nicer to hold, three-spoke affair already seen on the latest Mercedes-AMG C63.
Yet it’s the new GT R Pro model that really grabs the attention. Based on the ‘standard’ GT R it gets the same twin turbo 4-litre (577bhp and a thumping 699Nm) and seven-speed twin-clutch transaxle, but the rest of the car is even more extreme. Visually it’s not hard to pick the Pro out in a crowd, what with its large rear spoiler on stilts, its bespoke turning vanes, front splitter and rear diffuser (the two latter items supported by milled aluminium brackets), which are all finished in carbonfibre. The lightweight material is also used for the roof panel (fractionally lowering the centre of gravity).
Other notable changes include the addition of large vents cut into the top of the front wings that help reduce front axle lift, and a distinctive chequered finish for the backing of the ‘R’ badge. Inside there are carbon-shelled seats for the driver and passenger, while the optional Track Package follows Porsche’s Clubsport set-up by adding a half roll cage, four-point racing harnesses and a fire extinguisher.
It’s the suspension that’s really been given a thorough going over, with the emphasis on adjustability for track work. That means there’s a coilover set-up with dampers that can be manually adjusted for bump and rebound, while at the front is an adjustable carbonfibre anti-roll bar (the rear set-up is similarly tuneable but gets a hollow steel tube component). Like the R the Pro gets Uniball spherical bearings for the rear axle’s lower wishbones, but it goes one stage further with a similar set-up for the upper links, further improving precision. It all appears to work, the Pro lapping the Nürburgring in 7 minutes 4.632 seconds, which is nice.
For the rest of the line-up the dynamic changes are much subtler. Optional forged alloys wheels are now available across the range, but it’s the changes to the electronic systems that are most far-reaching. As before there’s a choice of Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race and Individual driving modes that alter the steering, throttle, gearbox and stability control mapping to suit your mood and the road, but this AMG Dynamic Select set-up has been enhanced. Essentially an extension of the ESP, active steering and differential it can fine-tune and even anticipate vehicle movements. Working within the standard driver modes, it offers Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master (this latter program only features on C, S, R and R Pro versions) functions that gradually ramp up steering response and reduce stability control interference yet also actively add torque feedback to the wheel, much like Ferrari, helping guide the driver to deliver the correct input for a quicker lap time.
Speaking of which, another new option is the AMG Track Pace data logger. Built into the COMAND infotainment system this uses GPS and 80 different performance parameters to allow you to analyse your capabilities on a circuit. As expected you can download and study the data, but you can also be fed real time information, with large red or green time displays flashing up to let you know whether you’re up or down on your previous best sector. A number of circuits are already pre-loaded onto the system (Spa and, obviously, the Nürburgring) plus you can upload your own tracks.