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LA show: Mercedes-AMG unleashes GT R Pro

Benz confirms GT facelift launch for H2 2019 but racetrack-ready GT R Pro unconfirmed

29 Nov 2018

MERCEDES-AMG has unleashed its facelifted GT sportscar at the Los Angeles motor show, ushering in minor revisions and a limited-edition GT R Pro flagship, but not every variant is confirmed for Australia yet.
Mercedes-Benz Cars Australia/Pacific head of media relations and product communications Jerry Stamoulis told GoAuto the facelifted GT range would head Down Under in the second half of next year, but that “the GT R Pro (remains) under consideration for our market”.
Despite suggestions to the contrary, no upgrades have been made to the sportscar’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine which remains available in four tunes – 350kW/630Nm (GT), 384kW/670Nm (GT S), 410kW/680Nm (GT C) and 430kW/700Nm (GT R and GT R Pro).
Instead, the focus of the update is on aerodynamics and technology, with the headline addition being AMG Dynamics which expands the functionality of the GT’s electronic stability control (ESC) system to optimise rear-axle power distribution and steering characteristics.
AMG Dynamics is able to improve high-speed stability by anticipating how the GT will react to different scenarios using sensors to detect vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw rate, among other variables.
Four levels of AMG Dynamics – Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master – are available, matched to the GT’s five Dynamic Select driving modes – Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Race.
Inside, a customisable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster has been added alongside a 10.25-inch touchscreen that is powered by Mercedes-Benz’s Comand infotainment system.
The GT borrows its GT 4-door Coupe fastback sibling’s new flat-bottom steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons and galvanised paddle-shifters, plus two round displays with three buttons that switch between Dynamic Select driving modes and activate individual settings.
The former also gains the latter’s V8-style centre console, which features eight coloured display buttons that alter transmission, chassis and exhaust settings, among others, as well as a new touchpad and palm rest.
A redesigned black diffuser with integrated quad exhaust tailpipes is found on the GT, GT S and GT C. The former’s design is round, while the latter two adopt a trapezoidal shape. The GT R’s rear fascia is unchanged.
Furthermore, the GT’s LED headlights and tail-lights have been reworked with a darkened theme, while the former also has a new arched signature that combines its daytime running lights and indicators.
The GT also picks up fresh sets of alloy wheels, a front camera and an enhanced racetrack data recorder, dubbed AMG Track Pace, alongside new paintwork and upholstery options.
Meanwhile, the GT R Pro ups the ante with its racetrack focus, using a coil-over suspension that allows the driver to mechanically set the spring load length and adjust the compression and rebound of the dampers via an integral adjustment dial.
Both the GT R Pro’s axles are fitted with an adjustable torsion bar, with the front made of carbon-fibre and the rear constructed of steel with a hollow tube to reduce weight. Hard-wearing Uniball spherical bearings are now used on the rear axle’s upper wishbones.
A lightweight carbon-fibre underbody panel has been added to the GT R Pro’s rear end to increase rigidity and further improve high-speed stability, while an all-new carbon-fibre roof panel helps lower its centre of gravity.
The GT R Pro’s aerodynamically honed front fascia features two side flics, an extended splitter and large air intakes, while its rear end has a pronounced bootlid-mounted spoiler.
A carbon-ceramic braking package with black-painted callipers is standard alongside carbon-fibre bucket seats in the GT R Pro, while a track package with a steel roll-over cage, enclosed four-point safety harnesses and a 2kg fire extinguisher is optional.
Just like their predecessors, the GT, GT S and GT C are available with Coupe and Roadster body styles, while the GT R and GT R Pro come with the hard top only.
According to Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias Moers, GT variants, including the GT R Pro, will continue to set the performance standard in the sportscar class.
“The AMG GT embodies the core of our brand, Driving Performance, in a unique way,” he said. “At its debut four years ago, it not only turned the heads of customers and sportscar enthusiasts, but also created new dimensions in the competitive environment.
“In order to continue this success story, we have now equipped it with numerous innovations from the AMG GT 4-door Coupe and added a new limited-edition top-of-the-range model: no other production model of Mercedes-AMG presently is as close to motor racing as the new AMG GT R PRO.
“A lot of experience from our current GT3 and GT4 motorsport activities entered into its development. The agile responses to all driver commands and the overall performance now deliver even more of that incomparable feeling that our racing drivers experience on the track.”
Sales of the GT range have significantly improved this year, with 154 examples sold to the end of November – a 26.2 per cent increase over the 122 deliveries made during the same period in 2017.
The GT is the third best-selling sportscar in the $200,000-plus segment, trailing the Porsche 911 (470 units) and Ferrari’s entire model range (197) but ahead of Aston Martin’s (121) and Lamborghini’s (102) line-ups of coupes and convertibles.

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