The Mercedes-AMG GT may look like a muscle car – and yes, it’s quick and sounds amazing – but it’s much more than that. However, that blend of talents doesn’t come cheap
The Mercedes-AMG GT is effectively the successor to the old SLS supercar. However, it’s a smaller, more agile model that is an alternative to the likes of the Porsche 911 and Audi R8.
To look at, it’s every bit as dramatic as that classic old model, with a long bonnet, huge grille and massive three-pointed star on the nose. But, if it’s all muscle car outside, it feels like the grandest of grand tourers inside.
The design itself is nothing short of stunning, while the fit and finish are immaculate and there is all manner of gorgeous features: bespoke switchgear, high-quality leather and touches of aluminium and carbon fibre. There’s no doubt that it feels a very special place inside, and you could well think that it offers a greater sense of occasion than either the R8 or 911.
What’s more, the designers haven’t forgotten the basic things that are needed in any car. For example, the sports seat and steering wheel have a wide range of adjustment, which means that most people can find a comfortable – if low-slung – driving position. Even the infotainment system is easy enough to use, once you get used to it.
In fact, in terms of everyday usability – if such a thing is a concern for the average AMG GT-buyer – there are only a couple of complaints. First, the boot is a little small for a car that claims to be a grand tourer, while the view out isn’t all that great.
The twin-turbo V8 engine, on the other hand, is something of a masterpiece, whichever of the two versions you go for. The regular GT has 462hp and is an alternative to the Porsche 911 Carrera S, whereas the GT S has 50hp more and is comparable to the 911 Turbo, capable of sprinting from 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 192mph. And, if those still aren’t enough, there’s also a more track-focused model, the AMG GT R.
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 rather more, err, ‘exuberant’ when they’re opened.
Motoring journalists blither on about how important it is for fast cars to handle well, but I think it’s important that they should be dramatic, even when they’re not moving – which the AMG GT does superbly
Surprisingly, for all the GT’s sheer size and muscle car looks, this is a nimble thing. Whether you experience the standard set up in the regular GT, or the adaptive dampers available in the S model, it provides uncanny composure through twisty, undulating roads.
Overall, the car is very different from what you might expect. The long bonnet might suggest that it would feel a little reluctant to turn in, but with the engine sitting between the front wheels and the cabin, the car has a near-perfect weight balance. Combine that with the low centre of gravity and the car feels agile, but stable, with amazing levels of traction and grip.
Admittedly, the suspension feels firm, even the in the softest of the damper settings, but it’s brilliantly composed, so it never feels uncomfortable.
The carbon ceramic brake discs deliver incredible stopping power, too, while buyers can add the AMG Dynamic Plus Package – including adaptive engine mounts which stiffen during high-performance driving, yet soften to make the car more comfortable 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.
Overall, 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. The mere fact that you could consider it as an alternative to an R8 or 911 tells you all you need to know about how good it is.