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Together with the launch of the new Mercedes-AMG GT R, we also took part in the AMG Performance Drive Experience and came away a little hot under the collar.

09 Nov 2017

I headed up to Sepang a week ago today to witness the launch of the new Mercedes-AMG GT R. And while I wish I could tell you about how the car is like to drive, unfortunately there wasn't the opportunity to test drive the car.

However, there were other opportunities available, as part of the AMG Performance Drive Experience. I had the chance to drive a host of other AMG cars spanning the entire range, and to take part in a number of different exercises to demonstrate the cars' various performance capabilities. Also, we each had the chance to ride in the new GT R as a professional GT3 racing driver (who had just come off a victorious weekend) put the car through its paces on the Sepang International Circuit.

Based on these opportunities, here are my four takeaways from Sepang.

1. Noise, glorious noise!

It's not often that you have an empty race track on which you can push sports cars to their limits. Driving these AMG cars hard also means that you get to relish in the full brutality of the noise. Through the spitting and popping of C 63s and GLA 45s doing race starts to the sound of screeching tyres as a GT S and SLC 43 round corners, the noise of the event is intoxicating. However, all of that had nothing on the noise in the cabin of the GT R - it's raw, brutal, mechanical, and so, so loud.

2. Controlled violence.

Riding shotgun in the GT R also opened me up to the sheer violence of the car as it changes direction. The car's motorsport lineage is clear - this is a car made for the track. The precise way that the driver is able to attack corners and change directions, combined with the GT R's obvious stability through bends and hard acceleration, really speak to the car's track-going capabilities. On the track, it feels every bit as intensely mean as it looks, or perhaps much more so.

3. Going fast straight is easy. Corners, not so much.

One of the exercises saw us taking an eclectic combination of cars (SLC 43, GT S, GLE 43s) through a short circuit, and it demonstrated one thing clearly - putting pedal to the metal in a straight line is easy. It requires skill, technique, and definitely a set of strong cajonas to go quickly around corners. It's no wonder that while the smaller, lighter cars sped away on the straights, the SUVs were able to catch them in the corners thanks to superior driving.

4. Oh but in the GT R…

The GT R is fast, so bloody fast. It's rare that you can go full throttle in a 577bhp car, but at Sepang, that's exactly what can be done, and then some. Riding shotgun in the GT R, I was well aware of my driver putting his foot down through sweeping bends, and also aware of the lateral G forces churning my insides. It's oh so fast in a straight line (0-100km/h takes just 3.6 seconds), but in the right hands, it's also blindingly fast through corners. It really is a beast in every sense of the word.

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