£98,165 - £115,660 Price range
AMG, Mercedes’ performance division, knew they had a tough act to to follow after the universally-praised SLS supercar. The style, playful handling and performance accompanied by one of motoring’s great soundtracks meant that it offered something a little less sensible than the Porsche 911 and Audi R8, without sacrificing any of the talent.
To that end, Mercedes have taken a slightly different approach with their latest supercar. The Mercedes-AMG GT, to give it its full name, is smaller, more agile and more efficient than the SLS, without sacrificing the storming performance or striking looks.
There are two versions offered this time around: the regular GT – aimed at the Porsche 911 Carrera S, and the more potent S model has the 911 Turbo in its sights. Taking on such a talented car square on is a bold move, so does the GT have what it takes?
Mercedes has announced it will build a limited edition AMG GT R model inspired by its GT3 race car. This high-performance version will feature new aerodynamics upgrades and an extreme lime green matt paint finish.
If you’re looking for the thrill of a 190mph sports car but absolutely must experience it with the wind in your air, check out the new Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster in our dedicated price, specs and release date article. We’ve also compiled a concise guide to the AMG GT’s recent facelift to help you tell the new model apart from the outgoing car.
You may be disappointed to discover that the theatre of the SLS’s gullwing doors has been ditched in favour of regular ones – to not only improve access for the driver and passenger, but to also save weight. Upon settling into the cabin, reviewers all agree that this is a very special place to be – the low slung driving position and wide transmission tunnel make you feel “cocooned” and left in no doubt as to the performance potential on offer.
The fit and finish are immaculate, and the design is stunning – full of bespoke switchgear, high quality leather, and touches of aluminium and carbon fibre. Many agree that it offers a greater sense of occasion than either the Audi R8 or Porsche 911, while the long bonnet gives a muscle car feel. It can be a little intimidating at first, but overall visibility is quite decent for a car of this type, so you’d soon get used to it.
There are only one or two minor criticisms levelled at the interior accommodation. The boot is a little small for a car claiming to have grand tourer credentials, and one tester suggests that the seats don’t offer the support that you’d hope for on a longer journey.
The engineers at AMG have significantly moved the game on from the SLS. Whether using the standard set up found in the regular GT, or the adaptive dampers available in the S model, it provides an uncanny composure through twisty, undulating roads. Even in the softest of the damper settings, although always firm, the ride is brilliantly damped so it never feels uncomfortable.
The chassis is wonderfully balanced. That long bonnet means that you expect it to feel a little reluctant to turn into a corner, but thanks to the front-mid-engined layout (the engine sits between the front wheels and the cabin) testers rave about the agile yet stable balance. This is due to what AMG claim is a 47:53 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity. Critics say it delivers a combination of excellent body control and “sensational” traction and mechanical grip.
The carbon ceramic brake discs deliver incredible stopping power, too, while buyers can add the AGM Dynamic Plus Package – adding adaptive engine mounts which stiffen during performance driving, yet soften to benefit refinement in normal conditions.
One of the very few negatives that can be levelled at the driving experience revolves around the steering, which has limited feel. It is very accurate though, so once you’re familiar with it, you start to feel confident behind the wheel.
The engine has turned out to be something of a masterpiece. A relative of the unit found in the A45 AMG, in layman’s terms it is essentially two of the 2.0-litre turbo motors from Mercedes’ bonkers hot-hatch stitched together to form a twin-turbo, 90-degree V8. In order to improve packaging under the bonnet, the turbos are nestled within the V – a move which Mercedes claims improves both throttle response and efficiency, too. Meanwhile, fully adjustable flaps in the exhaust allow the driver to alter the engine note from the cabin. When fully closed, they offer a relatively quiet drive, but things get a little more exuberant when they’re opened…
The engine is loved by every tester to slip behind the wheel – it offers a “NASCAR-like” sound, a smooth, linear power delivery and truly thrilling performance. The ‘basic’ engine found in the GT produces 462hp and a generous 442lb-ft of torque, while the more potent S produces a thumping 510hp and 479lb-ft. To put those figures into perspective, the Porsche 911 Turbo offers 513hp and 487lb-ft, but in a car that weighs 100kg more. The sprint from 0-60mph takes 3.8 seconds in the S model, which storms on to a top speed of 192mph.
The engine is mated to an updated version of the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox found in the SLS, which now shifts with “added determination”. Given the nature of the of the speed (and the noise it makes getting there), you’d expect the GT to have a keen taste for petrol. Impressively though, it returns a claimed 30.1mpg, thanks in part to automatic stop/start and brake energy recuperation.
A twin-turbo V8 supercar is rarely going to be considered a bargain, but it’s pricing is pretty much as you’d expect when compared to its closest competitors. Fuel costs are highly respectable for a car of its type, while equipment levels are as generous as you’d expect.
You get the same performance and quality as you’d find in the SLS for significantly less money, which certainly can’t be sniffed at. Experts believe that the lower price will help the GT hold its value slightly better than its predecessor too.
The fact that nearly every tester to drive the GT agrees that it’s superior to the SLS in almost every way is high praise indeed. It’s fast and thrilling in one moment, but quiet and comfortable when the mood takes you.
It’s very difficult to find a car which offers the AMG GT’s incredible combination of performance, excitement, refinement and style at any price. Audi and Porsche should feel worried…