The age of front-engine supercars is over, they say. Finished. Kaput. Mid-engine is area it’s at, aloof ask the Chevrolet Corvette. But the army at the Cars & Coffee acquisition says otherwise. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R auto may accept its twin-turbo V-8 army amid its grille and its dashboard, but it’s been swarmed aback we pulled in, the army abandoning the adjacent Lamborghini Huracán for a attending at the AMG’s abstract long-hood, short-deck proportions.
It’s been six years aback the front-engine, rear-drive Mercedes-AMG GT debuted, and it still draws absorption wherever it goes. Until the AMG One—the promised Formula 1-engined, constituent amalgam hypercar with a claimed top acceleration of 217 mph—arrives in the abutting year or so, the GT is still the acme of AMG two-seat performance, and the GT R versions are the fiercest of the breed.
Easily articular by its massive carbon-fiber rear spoiler, the GT R auto has been about aback 2018. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R auto is the new droptop version. Production is bound to aloof 750 units worldwide, but the sun and the stars don’t appear cheap. The convertible adds $26,850 to the $164,895 starting amount of the GT R coupe.
Both affection the aforementioned twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering, electronically controlled limited-slip differential, and alive aerodynamic addenda. The roadster’s folding softtop comes from the GT and GT C convertibles and appearance three layers of bolt continued over an aluminum, magnesium, and animate frame.
The 4.0-liter acclimated beyond the GT ambit has been dialed up in the GT R models to aftermath 577 application at 6250 rpm—108 added horses than the accepted GT and 17 added than the GT C model. Although that achievement makes the auto Mercedes’s best able two-seat convertible, it’s far from its best able model. Added versions of this agent advance 603 application and 627 pound-feet of torque in assertive all-wheel-drive AMG models, including several of its SUVs. Which makes the GT R’s 516 pound-feet—available beyond a ample plateau of 2100 to 5500 rpm—not about as absorbing as it already was.
But ability isn’t the GT R roadster’s shortcoming. Putting that ability to the alley finer is. Off-the-line absorption is a austere affair admitting a ample rear weight bias, a rear clue widened by 2.2 inches over bottom GTs, and massive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer achievement tires, sized 275/35R-19 in advanced and 325/30R-20 at the back. The Michelins put up a acceptable action and tag aggregation the aggression of ability with an calmly affianced launch-control system. But the GT R still lags abaft best of its all-wheel-drive rivals to 60 mph. Alike AMG’s E63 S wagon, which can hit that mark in 2.9 seconds, is 0.2 added quicker than the best time we’ve recorded for a GT R coupe.
That said, the GT R roadster—which should column a agnate 11.1-second quarter-mile as the hardtop—ain’t absolutely slow. Cars & Coffee aloof rights aside, that’s quick abundant for affluence of giggles, but its claimed best acceleration of 198 mph is actual serious. That the GT R auto is in the top bank of the quickest clue cars we’ve anytime activated at our Lightning Lap accident additionally doesn’t hurt, although the coupe’s alike harder-core GT R Pro bureaucracy does not extend to the roadster.
With its carbon-fiber advanced fenders and added failing bits, we apprehend the GT R auto to counterbalance about 3750 pounds, about 50 pounds beneath than a GT C roadster. GT R models additionally get beneath sound-deadening materials, activating agent and chiral mounts, and an bankrupt arrangement that saves 13 pounds against its tamer siblings.
Press its alpha button, and the GT R’s V-8 erupts to activity and idles like it belongs in a NASCAR garage. It doesn’t roar, it thunders. Your neighbors will apprehend you leave in the morning. Tightly anguish and intense, the GT R feels like a hot rod, but it isn’t uncivilized. AMG has anchored its suspension, but the edges are angled off its ride and the abeyance soaks up ample impacts well. It’s firm, but not unpleasant, administration asperous amplification joints and Los Angeles’s burst accurate freeways bigger than a Porsche 911 Turbo S. To anneal its body, the auto gets added carbon-fiber animating in its driveshaft adit and beneath its hood.
You would apprehend its long, low advanced end to rub itself raw on every driveway incline, acceleration bump, and parking block, yet it doesn’t. There’s additionally admirable wind aegis with the top down, and acquiescent levels of alley barrage with it up. Unfortunately, its ample ancillary mirrors abatement appropriate at eye level, blocking your appearance out the advanced and side. They not alone adumbrate pedestrians and apexes but advancing trucks. Rear afterimage isn’t any better.
With its compact assets of low-end torque, it’s about absurd to bolt AMG’s V-8 napping. The GT R auto is aloof as agreeable on a airy dusk cruise as it is on a apace run through the canyons, which is area it excels with a playful, affectionate balance, ample and absolute steering, and aerial levels of grip. Accepted carbon-ceramic anchor rotors are accessible to attune but can be squeaky in burghal traffic. When unleashed, the roadster’s dual-clutch transaxle feels able-bodied geared, responsive, and snappy, allowance it backfire from bend to corner.
Sport, Sport , and Race drive modes added anneal its suspension, acuminate its burke response, and access the full-throttle about-face point from 6500 rpm to 7000. When the chiral is in chiral mode, the absoluteness of its new agenda 12.3-inch apparatus array acts as a about-face light, aflame red in your borderline vision. Cool touch, AMG. For the 2020 archetypal year, all AMG GT models get a new 10.3-inch touchscreen, a redesigned centermost animate with capacitive affectation buttons, accepted Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, and a new council caster with bombastic controls for the engine, drivetrain, and anatomy settings.
The amount starts at $191,745, which puts the AMG GT R auto about in the average of the supercar amount sphere. Best McLarens and mid-engine competitors from Italy amount appreciably more, while the Acura NSX, the Audi R8 Spyder, and the latest Corvette can be had for less, abnormally the Vette. A abbreviate account of options, including two carbon-fiber exoteric trim bales and color-coordinated seatbelts, can drive the amount able-bodied accomplished $215,000. That’s about the aforementioned as the access point for the latest 911 Turbo S cabriolet. While Aston Martin additionally will advertise you a fetching, front-engine Vantage, DB11, or DBS, alone the Vantage can be had for beneath than the GT R roadster, but it alone comes as a coupe, and none of the Astons is as focused and able-bodied as the AMG.
Some may say the age of the front-engine supercar is all but dead. But don’t abutting the casket aloof yet. The AMG GT R auto may not advance absolutely as bound as best of its mid-engine rivals, but it does bear a lust-worthy aggregate of performance, thrills, and drama. And it still draws a army at a Cars & Coffee meet.
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