As promised, the hot, new Mercedes-AMG GT R debuted at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Heading here by mid-2017, it will be joining its slightly-less intense Mercedes-AMG GT and GT S siblings, which were unveiled at the 2014 Paris Auto Show. Thanks to its more dramatic styling and noticeably higher output engine, the Mercedes-AMG GT R further elevates the car’s already lofty enthusiast credentials.

"With the new AMG GT R, we have reached the next level of driving performance, noted Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development at the reveal. “This road-going sports car with motor-racing genes and innovative technical solutions offers an ultimate driving experience that allows people to feel our motorsport origins in every fiber.”

Cleaner, meaner look

Developed completely in-house by AMG, the new GT R has a bolder look that runs from nose to tail. Longer, wider and with considerably more weight-saving carbon fiber bodywork and ancillary bits than the GT/GT S, the GT R matches its more menacing appearance and expanded track dimensions with a tidier aero profile. Inspired by the AMG GT3 racer, the GT R’s forward-leaning shark-nose grille conceals auto-deploying active air management shutters and presides over a revised “jet-wing” fascia treatment with a large, lift-reducing splitter and prominent outboard intakes that grab air to cool the engine. Also on hand are flow-channeling Air Curtains that feed radiators in the wheel arches as well as narrow exit slots in the arches and vents in the GT R’s reshaped, composite front fenders.

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The rear of the Mercedes-AMG GT R boasts a large fixed-but-manually-adjustable wing and a fascia with outboard air extractors. The redesigned tail also has a thin high-mount vent slit between the taillamps along with a dual lower diffuser with central exhaust port. Less evident but just as critical, the GT R boasts an “active aerodynamics profile” underbody element just ahead of the engine. Automatically deploying at speeds over 50 mph in “Race” mode, this carbon fiber component drops 1.6 inches to create a low-pressure Venturi effect that reduces front axle lift at 155 mph to improve steering feel and stability in corners while maintaining rear-axle balance.

An AMG V8 Biturbo with 577 horses

Powering the new Mercedes-AMG GT R is a specially tuned version of the AMG 4.0-liter V8 Biturbo that cranks out 577 horses -- 74 more ponies than the GT S – as well as 516 lb-ft of torque versus its 479 peak twist units. That added muscle comes from larger, higher-boost turbos, a modified wastegate actuator, a bump in compression ratio and remapping of the engine control module. Combined with modified throttle calibration, a lighter flywheel and revised ratios of its AMG Speedshift DCT 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the GT R will streak from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds compared to 3.7 ticks for a GT S. Top speed is198 mph. To reinforce its racing-based persona, the engine also is fitted with a lightweight exhaust system that shaves 13 pounds and amps up the aural excitement when you hammer the accelerator.

Track-ready, willing and able 

The GT R’s competition-inspired chassis gets a bespoke AMG coil-over adjustable suspension combined with an AMG Ride Control continuously variable adaptive dampers custom tuned using the multi-mode AMG Dynamic Select control that also alters transmission responses. Fitted with sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on AMG lightweight alloys -- 19-inch 275/30s up front and 20-inch 325/30s in the rear -- the GT R also features variable-ratio sport steering plus standard active rear-wheel steering, the latter for the first time ever on a Mercedes-AMG model. Rounding out the GT R remix is a custom and fully driver-defeatable ESP stability system, a motorsport-derived AMG Traction Control system that allows nine different driver-selectable levels of rear-axle slip and an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential.

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Inside, the Mercedes-AMG GT R builds on the basic GT/GT S themes with AMG Performance Seats trimmed in Nappa leather and Dinamica microfiber standard. The cabin also sports yellow seat belts and instrument cluster highlights as well as AMG Black Piano Lacquer interior trim accents. Although pricing for the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R will be released closer to its official on-sale date here, expect it to be notably higher than the 2017 Mercedes-AMG GT S model that starts at $132,125 when it goes on sale later this summer. The new 2017 Mercedes-AMG GT model that makes its U.S. debut at the same time is set to open at $112,125.

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