2020 AMG GT R Coupe defines beauty with pricey flaws

James Raia

The 2020 AMG GT R is beautifully designed but has plenty of flaws.

The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R roadster and coupe are among the rarest mainstream cars on the road. The former was limited to 750 units, the latter 2,000. Combine scarcity, exterior design and the matted paint choice of Selenite Gray Magno and the supercar attracts constant attention.

The GT R, which debuted in 2018, defines a sports car. With craftsmanship channeling of Porsche, Ferrari and the Dodge Viper, there’s nothing quite like the performance-oriented Mercedes-Benz relative. It’s a glistening work of art on wheels.

The 2020 AMG GT R is beautifully designed but has plenty of flaws.
The 2020 AMG GT R is beautifully designed but has plenty of flaws. Image © James Raia/2020.
Yet the exterior is a contradiction with much of the rest of the car. How can you go wrong with a four-liter, 577-horsepower V8 biturbo with a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission and 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.5 seconds? Reasons abound.

Like many competitors, the AMG GT R has a hearty engine growl. But the roar is a lion with a sore throat. The neighbors will always know you’re in the vicinity. But it’s not the same as hearing the guy down the street with a Maserati or the confident rumble of the new mid-engine Corvette C8.

Vehicles with standard acceleration test efforts in less than four seconds are all impressive. The GT R also features adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering, electronically controlled limited-slip differential and other active aerodynamic nuances.

AMG GT  R: Pronounced Lag

But the AMG’s turbo lag is annoying. The car’s secondary acceleration while passing another vehicle on the freeway is authoritative. But initial momentum is stymied by the pronounced lag. It’s not becoming of a supercar.

Driving in quiet, spacious comfort isn’t the strong point of any sports car. But any consideration for either attribute was dispatched early in the AMG GT R design process. Entering and exiting the vehicle is difficult. Seating is cramped. Side and rear views are limited. Wind rush is prominent, except for during top-end freeway cruising speeds.

The AMG is ideal for daily driving unless the goal is a relaxing drive. Commandeering the AMG GT R requires constant intense time being the wheel in a high-performance machine where claustrophobia could rule. Total cargo space is 10.1 cubic feet. Gas mileage estimates are 15 miles per gallon in city driving, 20 mph on the freeway.

Mercedes-Benz and its high-performance AMG subsidiary are never value-priced. Manufacturer loyalists are well aware of the German manufacturer’s heady reputation and long-standing customer loyalty and long-standing appeal. But the AMG GT R extends pricing well past the already stretched norms.

Carbon fiber is everywhere, including the rear spoiler and roof, add to the car’s beauty and lightweight appeal. Cornering, braking and all of the driving dynamics that make supercars work so well on racetracks are evident.

For 2020, all AMG GT models get a new 10.3-inch touchscreen, a redesigned center console with capacitive display buttons, standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. A steering wheel with controls for the engine, drivetrain and chassis settings is also new.

It’s all worthy, and then there’s the AMG GT R’s biggest downfall — a hefty price. The MSRP is $162,900. Option packages, carbon fiber components, comfort elements and the top-scale brake system, add about $33,000. The nearly $196,000 tally is about 2 1/2 times the cost of the new, much-touted Corvette C8. A decision between the two is easy.

One of the car’s marketing mottos: “The Mercedes-AMG GT R combines driving dynamics and first-class racetrack performance with superb everyday practicality.”

Driving dynamics and racetrack worthiness reign, no doubt. But there’s little practical about the powerful machine. It’s as handsome as any vehicle. But the price is off-putting, a deal-breaker despite the AMR GT R’s alluring beauty.


Article Last Updated: November 28, 2020.

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