At the last track day, we had the Mercedes-AMG GT R, famous for its world record of being the fastest rear-wheel-drive car around the famous Nurburgring circuit. This year we had its more fashionable sibling - the GT Roadster. A convertible with plenty of oomph, it sure is a real eye-catcher. But, apart from its flamboyance, is it also capable of hitting the track with a blistering performance? We found out.
The GT's menacing and aggressive looks took a backseat in our 0-100-0 test. Charging to 100kmph took 4.05 seconds, making the GT slightly slower than its E63 AMG sibling. Still, it covered the shortest of all distances at 59.12m. We were also a bit skeptical about how it would fare in our braking test as the brakes were well past their best. Sure, they had enough bite and slowed the car down well, but they failed to give Ameya the assurance he needed. Nonetheless, 2.81 seconds on the clock with the shortest distance of 32.15m - nothing short of staggering!
This GT Roadster recorded a lap time of 1min 56.9sec around MMRT, emerging as the fastest car of CarWale's 2019 Track Day. And going by the way it blistered along the straight on the East circuit, gaining a max speed of 188.28kmph, it sure looked committed. Interestingly, its exit speed of 125.01kmph with w1.1g around C1 was the highest amongst all cars this year. The Roadster also managed to hold its line around C2 and C3, nicely sprinting across till C4. Here, braking hard and as late as possible is vital. With better brakes, Ameya says he could have posted an even quicker lap time. Nonetheless, the sports car proved its agility around the series of alternate bends from C4 to C7. At C7's apex, it continued to hurl around at almost 1g with a speed of 100.28kmph, a tad slower than the E63 AMG (second fastest car). Through C8-C12, the Roadster was the most impressive at C10's apex with the highest speed of 62.76kmph.
Having driven the ‘Beast of the Green Hell’ last year at the track, I had a fair idea of what the AMG GTs are capable of. Still, you cannot really discern how the GT Roadster behaves on the track unless you experience it. So there I was, sweating profusely, not just from Chennai's heat but also from the nervousness of driving a 469bhp mammoth around a race track. Without fiddling much on the wide console of the cockpit-like cabin, I let the settings remain in sport+ mode. Straight out of the pit lane and going around the first few bends at sane speeds was easy. Then, on to the straights I slammed the accelerator and was instantly pushed back in the seat while the car hurled itself forward. This is when I could feel the thrust from the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 mill producing 630Nm of torque. Meanwhile, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission complemented this well with quick gear shifts. A wide smile was pasted onto my face instantly!
However, my happiness was short-lived. As soon as I hit the straight, I realised I was carrying too much speed and failed to brake on time. Thankfully, the brakes and tyre grip worked like a charm to keep me right on track. It was what you call a hair-raising experience! Further, it was around the bends that I realised how agile the car was, given its weight. The suspension also certainly aids handling. And, despite of so much power being directed to the rear wheels, this AMG shows great road holding capacity. The electronics too play an important role by cutting in and not letting the car's rear overtake its front.
Moreover, the Sport mode had already firmed up the dampers and the sharp steering with plenty feedback was smooth, eventually letting the car tackle corners with great balance and control. Thankfully, the track wasn't wet and slippery like in our first year. So, it helped me in getting a better perspective on the behaviour and dynamics of this track-bred AMG car. All in all, the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster indeed provides the thrills of a high-performance sports car with the benefits of top-down driving.
Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi