There’s no doubting that the R roadster looks straight-up angry. We’ve loved the AMG GT’s proportions since the car first went on sale, and it looks just as striking today. Miles of sheet metal before the driver, elegant body lines between the axles, and a fat rear end give this car some genuine presence. There’s just a lot to love. The R-specific touches like a massive rear wing, staggered 19/20-inch black wheels, and center-mounted exhaust add even more drama. Our only thumbs-down is the $3,950 matte silver paint. Give us something louder, dammit.
Boring color aside, this car still received plenty of looks, even coasting along the supercar-filled streets of South Beach. And to its credit, the roadster looks (almost) as good as the coupe, especially with the roof stowed. With the soft top in place, the car loses some of its allure, but not enough to ruin the recipe. This thing’s a looker, plain and simple.
Character, Even At Street Speeds
With 577 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, it’s quite easy to reach extralegal speeds in the R Roadster – and quickly, too. Sixty miles per hour comes in just 3.5 seconds, and hypothetically, if you keep it floored you’ll hit 197 mph. The AMG V8 sounds superb and offers some real punch starting from way down low in the revs, thanks to nearly twenty pounds of beautiful German boost in the turbos. Even with all that charm and all that power, it’s not the speed that gets us.
The R Roadster is a real charmer even around town. AMG tuned the steering to near perfection, filled to the brim with feedback and responsiveness. Helping the long roadster corner with even more vigor is the active rear-wheel steering system. Pitch the car into a corner with all you’ve got and it responds with phenomenal grip and genuine agility. Although the ride quality suffers (read below) the chassis is rock solid, with almost zero flex, even compared to the hardtop. All things considered, this car is an absolute supercar riot, even when you’re not on the track.
Let The Sun Shine
Making that around-town experience even better is the ability to put the top down in 11 seconds and at up to 31 mph. Having spent many hours driving the GT R coupe, we can confirm that the cabin is tight and the headroom isn’t great. The roadster remedies both of these issues and also allows for some sunshine in the process. Direct aural contact with the burly exhaust note is a happy added bonus. Yep – the AMG GT is best as a roadster.
Not So GT
We’ve mentioned this before in multiple reviews of the AMG GT, but it’s a reminder worth emphasizing. This car beats you up. Two main factors are equally at fault: the seats and the suspension. We’ll soften the criticism by admitting that AMG’s performance seats make the most sense in the GT R, but that’s for on-track driving. Because this is a roadster, we can only imagine that there will be more highway cruising and less track time. In 90 percent of driving scenarios, you’ll be begging for cushier, more supportive seats.
The bigger point of contention is the ride quality. This has to be the least forgiving convertible we have ever tested, even in its default Comfort setting. R is AMG-speak for “track-ready,” so there is some expectation of stiffness from the adjustable coilover suspension. But holy moly does the roadster go a step too far. We understand that this is the GT R, but we think Mercedes could soften the ride quality just a bit, to the benefit of the driver in the majority of scenarios.
Infotainment Can’t Take The Heat
We drove the GT R Roadster in Miami, during a sunshine-filled week. This weather was about as typical Miami as it gets. On more than one occasion driving top-down, we experienced infotainment system issues. It froze, glitched, and even turned off completely.
Though the system faults could’ve been tied to several things, the linking factor between them was direct sunlight. South Florida is likely one of the biggest markets for the GT Roadster. If the Comand infotainment system couldn’t take the heat during a few days of testing, there’s a strong chance that the same behavior would persist during ownership.
More Than Mercedes Money
Our car’s $209,940 as-tested price is just a few grand short of a Porsche 911 Turbo S Convertible – the newest car on the block. This is the most expensive variant of the AMG GT to date, and its price is high enough to put it in a world of great convertible options, like the Audi R8 Spyder, and the much more comfortable (but less aggressive) Bentley Continental GT Convertible.
Though the GT R stands out with its incredible performance abilities and killer V8 soundtrack, the aforementioned options are good ones. As the GT R grows older, it’s worth asking if a limited production is enough to justify the Merc’s steep price tag.