What we learned about speed

Driven
Mercedes AMG concentrated its powerplant engineering efforts on its twin turbo 4.0-liter V-8, in the GT R it makes 577 hp that peaks at 6,250 rpm with 516 lb ft of torque available from 1,900 to 5,500 rpm. Bolted to the engine is AMG’s SpeedShift seven speed transmission, which features a longer 1st gear and somewhat shorter ratios in 6th and 7th for more midrange punch. AMG says the GT R accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds on to a top speed of 198 mph -should you ever find the time and space to get there. The AMG GT R’s variable rate steering systems yes, plural, as the car deploys Benz’s new rear wheel steering system deserve a separate chapter. based on speed, mode, and lateral acceleration, driver input has complex consequences. At the inception of a slide, for example, steering effort is reduced so that correction maneuvers require only minor modifications, adhering to the line is playfully easy, and lock may be unwound pleasingly early. At more than 62 mph, the system switches from countersteer to synchronicity. alike to the setups in Porsche’s 911 Turbo and Lamborghini’s Centenario, it is a transition that is executed progressively and smoothly. In Race mode, direction changes happen with physical immediacy, in Comfort, but, the wheels turn with pursed sidewalls. more enhancing this by wire muscletensing exercise for the hind legs are more than a dozen uniball joints in lieu of usually used rubber mounts. You would not want to attempt the Track calibration -springs in the stiffest setting, dampers in Sport Plus, rear wing fixed in max downforce position, reduced tire pressures -on Portuguese country roads. But with all systems at their cushiest, compliance is not exactly one of the GT R’s strengths.


This is especially evident on a abandoned stretch of autova through the city of Portimo down the coast to Lagos, where it takes a trial run, total concentration, and a conscious effort to push the car to a speed it could otherwise reach only toward the end of the Nrburgring’s flat out Dttinger Hhe part. On the motorway run, the meaty and inflexible steering keeps swapping between fighting the surface to holding direction. While the green devil deserves nine out of ten points for aerodynamic stability, the large tires and taut suspension are their own worst enemies when it comes to sealing the bond between the car and a chosen line on the open road. Sprouting enthusiasm is dashed somewhat by the GT R’s marginal ground clearance, susceptible wheels, and extra 2.2 inches of width. With engine and transmission set in Sport, the urge to reach for the shift paddles is almost

irresistible. But like on the track with the DNA selector in the Race position, the electronic brain is better qualified than this driver to time the perfect shifts. The sequence and the chosen percentage are spot on. it is nearly as if the GT R has eyes to look ahead and act therefore. Give it stick on an exhausting stretch of blacktop, and the so called air panel in the nose opens its vanes to cool down the brakes and, if need be, the engine. Particularly in its brutal green livery, the AMG GT R is an extroverted sports coupe for extroverted people -loud, brash, and subtle as a train crash. But much like the offerings from Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren, there’s no denying this special Mercedes also works equally well for poseurs and pros alike.
We are doing 50 mph over the filled, corrugated earth, charging into Turn 1- a wild, fast sweeper with deep banking and a decreasing radius. Foutz is in the center of a relaxed physics lesson. “Picture the truck as a Matchbox car,” he says. “Now put a stick under the center, and balance it perfectly. Everything you do with the gas or brake changes the approach of the truck.” His right hand, thick and muscular, floating in the space between us, info forward and aft, moving around an imaginary pivot point. As the outside wall gets ever closer, he looks directly at me, his kind brown eyes checking to see if I get his meaning, one salt and pepper eyebrow cocked. I mumble an affirmation. He has not considered coming off the throttle. The turbos howl under the sprawling, louvered hood, shoving atmosphere into the 3.5-liter V-6. The engine’s happy to gulp it down to belt out its full 450 hp and 510 lb ft of torque.


You just have to set up for it early.” there is a moment of hesitation as Foutz lifts off the throttle, and all 5,518 pounds shift to the front tires. So does my stomach. The Raptor tucks in neatly, and we are not headed toward the wall. we are gunning for a towering table top jump. “That’s the Matterhorn,” Foutz says and buries the throttle again. This is a master class in wringing the most out of the second generation Raptor taught by the man who knows best. Foutz was the muscle behind Ford’s off road racing efforts since the late 1990s. He’s been to Baja 14 times, enduring the 1,000-mile race in everything from the old I beam Ranger to the big F-250 Super responsibility. In 2008, the company brought him a pre production Raptor. He never looked back. This is no Super responsibility. it is barely an F-150. skulking around in Shadow Black paint, it is clear just how large it’s. Swollen fenders bulge past the headlights, wrapping themselves around special compound BFGoodrich KO2s. they are massive -big, bruising 315/70R-17s, a sliver under 35 inches tall and more than a foot large. Foutz says the tires were engineered exactly for the Raptor, built to withstand the kind of idiot abuse and speed a truck like this can yield. they are also the reason Ford restricted the Raptor to 107 mph. The soft all terrains were not up to the task of diving any deeper into triple digits. The 2017 Raptor has a full six inches of width on its base brother, and that span means the number of shared suspension parts could fit in a coffin. Brakes and knuckles, usually. The rear axle is half a foot wider.