Ownership Mercedes-AMG GT R C190
With warpaint inspired by the legendary Green Hell, this Mercedes-AMG GT R is a serious track monster.
WORDS DAN BEVIS
IMAGES JASON DODD
It may seem like an obvious thing to say, but the Mercedes-AMG GT is a special car. It’s easy to get caught up in the serpentine machinations of the Mercedes-Benz model range when it comes to the AMG moniker; peer back through the swirling mists of time to the age before DaimlerChrysler took a controlling interest in AMG in 1990, and we find that AMG Motorenbau und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH operated as its own independent entity – an engineering firm specialising in tuning Mercedes-Benz products, although it did dabble in other brands (AMG Mitsubishi Galant, anyone?). The first official AMG Mercedes was the C36 in 1993. So, unlike today, when it’s possible to walk into a Merc showroom and choose from a variety of official AMGs, back then such a model was a bespoke affair, looked on kindly by M-B but by no means officially sanctioned. Today’s AMG Mercs are wonderful things, but the fact that everyone with an A160 or a C180 thinks it’s OK to glue an eBay-bought AMG badge on the back dilutes the effect.
Under the bonnet there’s a brawny four-litre twin-turbo V8 creating some pretty juicy numbers
So yes, the Mercedes-AMG GT is special. As well as those gorgeous uber-coupe proportions, under the bonnet there’s a brawny four-litre twin-turbo V8 creating some pretty juicy numbers. Even in base spec, the engine kicks out 469bhp. The chassis is an aluminium space frame, with forged aluminium wishbones and brakes big enough to alter the trajectory of the planet itself, while the superlightweight body is made from aluminium and magnesium. Lewis Hamilton helped with the car’s handling development. This is no badge-engineered C-Class, the Mercedes-AMG GT is the real deal. And the vividly green variant we have here grabs that dial with a Spinal Tap grasp and turns it up to 11, sharpening the edges and trimming the fat to create something even more astounding. The covers were drawn from the higher-performance iteration at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the model officially going on sale the following year; the V8’s wick turned up to the tune of 577bhp, and the makeover was about way more than a substantial power hike.
The AMG Ride Control suspension was joined by manually adjustable coil-overs and nine-mode traction control, while the aerodynamics were beefed up with an adjustable rear wing and active underbody fairing. A barebones approach was taken with the specs, deleting everything from the heated folding mirrors and multi-speaker stereo to the keyless-go and automatic garage door opener – although buyers could add these things back in if they desired. Nerdy car spotting was aided by an exterior approach inspired by the GT3 racer, with new diffusers and vertical grille slats, and kudos was assured in 2018 when the GT R gained the accolade of becoming F1’s official Safety Car.
This baked-in motorsport prowess is eminently appropriate, as the car has ties to the Nordschleife that burrow very deep into its soul. If you’ve ever visited that storied ribbon of tarmac, you’ll know there are many varied and disparate cars that you may spot at the Nürburgring – from race prototypes to Transit vans, stripped-out trackday specials to commuter-spec Octavias. Invariably the fastest things on track at any given point will be the ageing diesel VW Golfs, helmed by locals with superior geographic knowledge and a healthy absence of the concept of fear, but it’s also a truism to point out that manufacturers like to hone their sporting offerings there, and the AMG GT R has a particularly close-knit connection. And interestingly, it’s not just about the bridge-to-gantry time, but the paint…
The hue in question is ‘green hell magno’, and that triumvirate of seldom-juxtaposed terms makes for quite a statement. Putting ‘hell’ in the name of anything is bound to raise eyebrows, it implies a certain scariness, and this is a colour specifically formulated for the AMG GT R, which is a pretty terrifying car. The source of the ‘Green Hell’ part was the nickname given to the Nürburgring Nordschleife by Jackie Stewart in the 1960s – but the ‘magno’? Well, it’s the name of a Mexican wrestler, isn’t it? Or a design consultancy firm specialising in high-end kitchens? Your guess is as good as ours, really. Sounds good though. And the colour itself is magnificent – you wouldn’t think that a cartoonish green would work on a super-coupe, but there’s something about that frosty finish that means we just can’t tear our eyes away. Green hell magno paint was a £7,500 option on the GT R. So it’s not just a colour, it’s an expression of very, very deep pockets.
Pockets such as these were evidently appended to the original owner of this particular GT R, as its current owner – David Rudelhoff – points out that its brand new purchase price would have been around Åí187,000. In addition to the top-tier paint job, it’s packing such vibrant options as the Premium Pack, Track Pack, Carbon packs I and II, carbon engine cover and carbon ceramic brakes. “I’m the car’s second owner and I bought it from TOP 555 which was fantastic to deal with,” he explains. “This was my first supercar and replaced a 5.0 Mustang. My GT R’s a 2018 model, and I purchased it in August 2020 with just over 2,000 miles on the clock. It was very hard finding a car with this specification – I missed out on a few. Examples with the options that mine has are highly sought-after.”
It’s a sought-after spec sheet, and David’s kept the car totally stock aside from the addition of a Black Series-style rear wing from Vehicle Revolution. Having always been a fan of hot road cars, he was increasingly finding himself with one eye on the track, and the idea was to get a supercar with racy performance that could also be comfortably ‘streetable’. The Porsche GT3 RS was a consideration, although the fact that so many people have them put off David, as did the reality that the GT R is, quite simply, faster – and it has the Nürburgring data to prove it.
“The first year of ownership was mainly trackdays, including Snetterton, Brands Hatch, Silverstone, and Anglesey,” he says. “This year has mainly been with my car club, Four Marks Supercar Club; I am very involved with that and we did a road trip in May to Monaco, and a few weeks after that I went to the ’Ring with another group, Rally for Heroes – which raises money for SSAFA, a very important charity. I’ve done various shows including Steelford and Beaulieu, where I did a demo run. That was lots of fun as I turned off the traction control and snaked up the short hill! The car gets a very warm welcome wherever it goes.”
There’s a logic to this as, in rarefied company of Italian supercars, a Mercedes badge does much to make the car more relatable. Plus there’s that paintwork. “I often get ‘wow, look at that colour’,” David continues, “and ‘is that paint or a wrap?’ – and of course it’s satin paintwork. I also get ‘this is my favourite car’ when surrounded by cars three times the price.” Which is very much the point, naturally. The GT R is a very special car indeed, and one that’s impossible not to adore.
TECHNICAL DATA Mercedes-AMG GT R (C190)
- ENGINE M178 3,982cc V8 biturbo
- MAX POWER 577bhp @ 6,250rpm
- MAX TORQUE 516lb ft @ 1,900-5,500rpm
- TRANSMISSION 7-speed auto, RWD
- WEIGHT 1,630kg
- 0-62MPH 3.6sec
- TOP SPEED 198mph
- FUEL CONSUMPTION 24.8mpg
- CO2 EMISSIONS 259g/km
- YEARS PRODUCED 2017-2022
All figures from Mercedes-Benz for a 2018 car as pictured; fuel consumption according to NEDC combined
David Rudelhoff: Thanks to Greg at Four Marks Car Club, Charles at TOP 555, the team at Rally for Heroes, and Carl at Vehicle Revolution
The first year of ownership was mainly trackdays
David is making full use of his track weapon.
Black Series style wing does the job nicely.
There’s something about that frosty finish that means we just can’t tear our eyes away
Carbon ceramic brakes a six grand extra. Huge thrust available across the rev range.