I’ve been fortunate enough to drive a Mercedes-AMG GT R a few times now, and at no point did I think “Hmmm, do you know what? This is a little too soft.”
It’s a genuine Porsche 911 GT3 RS rival, a description that can probably only be given to a group of cars you can count on one hand. It’s uncompromising and utterly hardcore, and yet, Mercedes has felt the need to tweak and improve it further, resulting in the new GT R Pro.
The limited-edition model sits above the ‘regular’ GT R in the range rather than replacing it, and the power output from its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is identical at 577bhp. The suspension certainly isn’t the same, though: there are new dampers that allow you to adjust the compression, rebound and spring preload length, a carbonfibre adjustable anti-roll bar at the front, and more wear-resistant “Uniball spherical bearings” on the rear upper wishbones, in addition to the ones that were already used for the lower wishbones.
The clever active engine and transmission mounts - which tighten up when you’re driving hard - have been fiddled with, and the Track Package, optional on the GT R, is fitted as standard here. It includes a four-point harness, a half cage, and a fire extinguisher. Unless you live in the US, Canada or China, in which case you can’t have any of those track day bits. Boo.
The aero side of the equation has undergone some changes, too. We have a new front apron with a significantly extended splitter and canards either side, while the wings have gained louvres that reduce lift at the front axle. Those carbonfibre fins at the rear - which sprout from the diffuser - are new too, and finally, the front wing has been tweaked.
All of this makes a much faster car on track - Mercedes has already managed to squeeze a 7:04.632 Nurburgring lap out of it. That’s over six seconds faster than the GT R, despite being set on a day with a tyre-unfriendly 12-degree ambient temperature. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the car come back next year to try and crack the seven-minute mark.
The Pro isn’t the only new AMG GT Mercedes has rolled out for the world to see at the LA Auto Show. The whole range has been updated, with the most significant changes to be found inside. All cars now have the same customisable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as the AMG GT 4-Door, along with the newer 10.25-inch central infotainment display.
The range has also pilfered the GT 4-Door’s steering wheel, along with the fancy TFT buttons on the wheel and the centre console to change things like the ESP settings and the chassis modes. On the subject of the latter, the GT’s have been fettled and renamed as Basic, Advanced and Pro, with a Master mode available on all models bar the base GT.
Changes to the outside are more subtle. The LED front and rear headlights are new, while the GT, GT S and GT C all have a black diffuser insert. Rounding off the changes are a smattering of new colour and wheel options.
The refreshed range is on display at the LA Auto Show from today onwards.