Would you buy a Mercedes-AMG GT R?

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I am a simple man with simple taste.

For instance, when I head to a restaurant, the moment I see the words “chicken parmigiana”, I’m sold. I don’t stop to consider anything else on the menu, because nothing else is worth considering. Chicken parmigiana is the ultimate meal. End of argument.

The same applies to my taste in track-focused sports cars. For years, I’ve maintained that if I somehow stumbled across $350,000, I would purchase a Porsche 911 GT3 without a second thought. Because it’s the best.

And yet, for one reason or another, I have recently found myself doubting this decision, wondering if I would rather have a Mercedes-AMG GT R instead.

Is the GT R enough for me to consider changing my regular order?

What has gotten into you?

To be honest, I’m not completely sure. All I know is that I went to bed the other night dreaming about the GT3 and woke up the next morning with a slight hankering for AMG’s GT R.

If I had to have a stab in the dark though, I suspect my newfound lust has something to do with the GT R’s Schwarzenegger-like proportions. Its swollen arches and long hood give the AMG a stance that makes the GT3 appear like a delicate dandelion in comparison.

There is a purposeful simplicity to the GT3’s lines that render it a stunning object to behold, in spite of the fact that we have been staring at basically the same shape for more than 50 years.

When looking at a GT3 you sense that it wants to be driven; a sense that it wants to work in harmony with you. In contrast, looking at the GT R is like looking into the eyes of a wild tiger. It is a majestic experience, but one tainted by an underlying sense of fear as you sense that it would quite like to chew your face off.

The GT R has a V8. The GT3 doesn’t. Conclusion: the GT R must be better.

Wrong.

Interesting that you bring the GT R’s 4.0 twin-turbo V8 up, because (believe it or not) I do not find it particularly enticing. It may produce more power than a small aircraft carrier (430kW), but it is not a particularly talented vocalist.

Yes, it rumbles and crackles, but it still manages to come across as a bit… dull. As the revs rise, there isn’t enough of a meaningful change in the GT R’s vocal frequency that would tempt you to explore the upper levels of its rev band; it merely changes its volume. As such, the noise is not particularly tuneful. In fact, I wandered into my parents’ room the other week while my dad was taking a nap and could not help but notice that his snoring was all but indistinguishable with the noise produced by the GT R…

In complete contrast, GT3 is the automotive equivalent of Celine Dion. It sings a song with characterised by a perfect tone and possesses a vocal range (9000RPM!) that can bring fields to blossom.

Of course, after more than half a decade of refinement, it should hardly come as a surprise that the GT3’s 6-cylinder naturally aspirated boxer engine is as outstanding as it is.

Let’s talk numbers. I bet the GT R has the GT3 licked in terms of outright performance.

Not exactly.

Porsche claims the GT3 can launch from standstill to 100km/h in 3.4 seconds. The Mercedes? 3.6.

Once the GT R hooks up though, you can bet your bottom dollar that the GT R will mince the GT3 in a straight line. It does have 240Nm more than the GT3, after all.

Isn’t the GT3 RS a more appropriate competitor for the AMG?

In terms of engine outputs, yes, the 383kW GT3 RS is a more appropriate competitor for the 430kW AMG than the peasant-spec 368kW GT3. When it comes to price though, this is not the case.

Here in Australia where Government tax is increasing at a quicker rate than Greece’s debt, the GT3 begins at $327,000 and the GT3 RS at $416,500. The AMG straddles the fine line between the two at $350,000. And thus, I opted to throw the GT R in the ring with the GT3.

I reasoned that if the AMG couldn’t fight off the GT3, then it would not last a round with the harder, sharper, and more focused RS.

Sounds as if the GT3 has the AMG covered, though.

It isn’t a bloodbath, however, the lesser-powered GT3 is more than a match for the bullish Mercedes.

I will admit, I did not expect the GT3 to tackle the Merc so effectively. Part of the reason why I think it does is due to GT R’s distracted focus.

Mercedes will have you believe that the GT R is a track-focused sports car. With a Nurburgring lap time of 7:04.6 (in newly released, 'Pro' form) it certainly looks that way, but deeper inspection reveals otherwise.

For one, the AMG weighs more than the Empire State Building. It hits the scales at 1630kg– 200kg more than the GT3. Using raw power, and mechanical grip, it simply pummels physics in submission, whereas the Porsche negotiates. So while it has been honed on the track, it is not exactly track-focused in the same vein that the lithe Porsche is.

So, after all that, you mean to tell me that you would still have a GT3?

Yes.

What a waste of time.

You could think of it that way, correct.

The Mercedes is a delicious alternative but there is an allure to the Porsche that keeps drawing me back. I have no doubt that if I chose the GT R over the Porsche I would be a very happy man. Yet, a little voice inside tells me that I would forever crave the taste of the delicious parmigiana that is the Porsche. It is simply more to my taste.

That said, there is a slight caveat…

Go on…

You can’t exactly purchase a GT3 new from the factory anymore.

So you’re meaning to tell me, that I’d have to buy a demo or second-hand model?

Err… yes.

I only buy shiny new things. I’ll take the GT R.

Thought you might say that, you muppet.

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Photography Credit: Manufacturers

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