Roofless version of Merc's sportiest car brings the noise and emotion even more to the fore. Picture: SUPPLIED
Roofless version of Merc's sportiest car brings the noise and emotion even more to the fore. Picture: SUPPLIED

Mercedes-AMG has crowned its open-top sports car range with the new AMG GT R Roadster, and only 750 units of the limited-edition cars will be made.

It is the sun-loving version of the GT R coupe launched back in 2017, the most track-focused car yet offered by Mercedes-AMG and nicknamed the “Beast of the Green Hell” after the Nurburgring, where much of its development took place.

Like its fixed-roof stablemate, the Roadster is gunned along by a front-mounted V8 biturbo engine which puts out 430kW and 700Nm. Powering the rear wheels through an AMG Speedshift DCT 7G transmission with Race Start, it enables the rear-wheel-drive car to blast the 0-100km/h sprint in a claimed 3.6 seconds and reach a hair-ruffling 317km/h top speed — the same figures as the coupe.

The ballistic Benz offers six drive modes including a RACE setting that optimally adjusts the shift strategy of the dual clutch transmission for racetrack usage, with short shift speeds and liberating an even more emotive exhaust sound from that V8.

Motor racing technology like adjustable coil-over suspension with adaptive damping, active rear-axle steering, active aerodynamics and an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential makes this the sportiest open-topped Benz you can buy.

Keeping the weight low are aluminium alloys used for the chassis and body. Magnesium is employed in the front deck, and this light metal reduces the inertia ahead of the front axle to improve driving agility. 

Apart from making a venomous visual statement, all those wings and scoops assist with downforce to make this the most track-based Benz on offer. Picture: SUPPLIED
Apart from making a venomous visual statement, all those wings and scoops assist with downforce to make this the most track-based Benz on offer. Picture: SUPPLIED

Like the other roadster models the open AMG GT R also has a triple-layer fabric soft top with a lightweight structure consisting of aluminium, magnesium and steel, which helps to keep the centre of gravity low.

Further weight saving is achieved with the lightweight carbon-fibre torque tube that links the engine in the front with the rear-mounted transmission in a transaxle drivetrain.

“The new AMG GT R Roadster is the essence of two worlds, blending to deliver our brand pledge, Driving Performance, in a very special way," says Tobias Moers, chairman of the management board of Mercedes-AMG.

“It too embodies Mercedes-AMG in form, function and vehicle dynamics and enriches our GT family with a highly exclusive variant limited to 750 units”.

The low-slung front section and the forward-inclined AMG-specific radiator grille create a distinctive “shark nose” impression and make the car appear to sit lower on the road. Air curtains on the outside of the front apron calm the airflow, improving the drag coefficient of the open-top two-seater.

An active aerodynamics profile is concealed almost invisibly in the underbody in front of the engine. Weighing around 2kg, this light carbon-fibre element is speed-sensitive and automatically extends around 40mm downwards depending on the drive programme.

It creates what is known as the Venturi effect, which additionally “sucks” the car on to the road and reduces the front-axle lift by around 40kg at 250km/h.

Mercedes has not yet confirmed whether any of the 750 units are headed to SA.