It’s finally here. After teasing us for several months, including a highly informative ride in a heavily camouflaged prototype, Mercedes has finally whipped the covers off the new Mercedes AMG GT proper. It effectively replaces the SLS AMG, but does so in a very different part of the sports car market. Watch your back, Porsche 911.
It’s the second car entirely developed by AMG, but it’s the first Mercedes to drop ‘Benz’ from its name as a result. It follows a similar recipe to the SLS, with a V8 engine in the front driving the rear wheels.
But unlike the SLS, the GT’s engine is turbocharged. Two turbos are mounted inside the 4-litre V8’s cylinder banks – an approach Mercedes calls ‘hot inside V’ – which means they react quicker, to help the GT get close to the razor sharp throttle response of naturally aspirated rivals. The size of the powerplant is also reduced as a result, meaning it can slot behind the front axle in a front-mid position, better balancing the GT’s 1540kg weight.
The engine comes in two flavours. The base AMG GT gets a 456bhp, 443lb ft tune that is good for 0-62mph in 4 seconds and a 189mph top speed. The more potent AMG GT S produces peaks of 503bhp and 479lb ft, lopping 0.2sec from the sprint to 62mph and upping the Vmax to 193mph, though Mercedes claims both top speeds are electronically limited.
Both engines are hooked up to a seven-speed twin-clutch paddleshift gearbox, while the GT S benefits from an extra suite of technology to make it the more focused car of the two. There’s a performance exhaust system (with variable flaps, allowing the sound to be adjusted to your needs, thus avoiding irked neighbours), an electronic differential (said to be more sensitive than the GT’s mechanical equivalent) and adjustable dampers (optional on the base GT).
A wealth of options can be specced, including dynamic engine and transmission mounts (designed to stop unwanted movement, Porsche offers these engine mounts on its sports cars, but Merc is the first to have them for the whole drivetrain), plus carbon-ceramic brakes, forged alloy wheels and Michelin Cup tyres.
Mercedes talks up ‘highly neutral behaviour’ from the chassis, but with three stages of stability control – the most extreme being ‘ESP OFF’ – the big skids that AMG is known and loved for should still be present and correct. Jolly good.
And the looks? Well, the gullwing doors of the SLS are no more, replaced by entirely conventional openings. Boo. But the GT is a very purposeful looking thing. We’ve already had a poke around it in person, and its proportions are a little different to AMG’s outgoing senior sports car. There’s no escaping hints of 911 in the window-line and F-Type Coupe in the rear three-quarter, but overall the GT exudes some serious hot rod vibes.
One interesting detail is where the bonnet meets the windscreen. Or rather where it doesn’t. The fact the two are separate allows a much steeper rake for the front screen, with benefits to visibility as well as styling; the tall, dome-like passenger compartment has more than a whiff of Merc’s glorious old Mille Miglia racers to it.
There’s a rear wing that extends and retracts depending on speed and driving mode, and it’s part of an in-depth aerodynamics package that runs from the front splitter to rear diffuser via an almost flat underbody.
The Mercedes-AMG GT will be among the stars of the Paris motor show, where we can expect to hear more about it. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but a starting point of £90,000 would seem about right. A roadster and a slightly demonic Black Series version ought to follow in due course, too.