Mercedes-AMG is like a car company in its own right such are its sales, and the GT sports car heads its hugely impressive range. Unlike all its other models, the GT is not a hot-rodded ‘Benz, as it is a unique two-door sports car. It’s very much AMG’s take on the sports car genre, so expect lots of boisterous turbocharged V8 power mated to a rear-driven chassis. That might lack the outright sophistication of some of its rivals, but promises, and delivers, huge entertainment. The range is made up of the entry-level GT and the more powerful, better-equipped GT S. Mercedes-AMG also added a Roadster to the line-up for 2017, while there’s a 911 GT3/GT3 RS rivalling GT R coupe too, which ups the intensity in pursuit of N”urburgring record breaking lap times; something it does pretty well.
Did you know? The range-topping GT R has a traction control switch with no less than nine levels of control.
| | | | | | | |
The glorious looking and sounding range-topping sports car from Mercedes-AMG might trail some rivals for outright accuracy and ride comfort on UK roads, but the AMG GT’s huge breadth of talent shouldn’t be overlooked or underestimated. The biturbo V8 engine that powers the GT it is central to its appeal, giving thunderous voice as well as sometimes shocking performance – especially in its most potent GT R form. It looks and feels special, too, and the very fact it’s not the default and omnipresent Porsche 911 is a huge part of its appeal. It’s only a two-seater, but when was the last time you saw a 911 with more than a driver and passenger in it? It’s a very deliberate decision buying an AMG GT then, and one we’d certainly applaud, as AMG’s range-topping sports car is always an event, and never anything less than hugely satisfying. With the exhaust on full-noise it’s got a soundtrack that’s like little else, and with a growing range, and the option now of a Roadster too, you might just see a few more of them on the road.
Design & Exterior
Interior & Comfort
Technology & Connectivity
Performance & Handling
Specs & Trims
Running Costs & Fuel Economy
That engine sounds absolutely sensational
The fact it’s not a Porsche 911
We Don’t Like
Ridiculously positioned gear-shift lever
Steering could do with a little bit more feel
Ride a little bit too busy
| | | | | | | |
Design & Exterior: (9/10)
Classically proportioned with a long bonnet and cab rearward design, the AMG car is evocative of old-school GTs and unashamedly front-engined in its appearance. The cabin is set far back because of the positioning of its biturbo V8, which nestles low and far behind the front axle, to deliver a near 50/50 weight distribution. It’s a sensational looking car whichever model you pick. The looks were overhauled in 2017 to include the style that was introduced by the AMG GT R and its GT3 racer relation. So the front is adorned by an upright slatted grille finished in chrome, resembling that of the 1950’s Carrera Panamericana SL race car. The GT R link is even more obvious in the GT C model, which not only bridges the gap between the GT S and GT R visually, but adds power to sit between the two models, too.
There’s not a great deal to distinguish the GT from the more powerful GT S, so it will take a committed AMG fan to spot the extra bright work in the front air intakes, larger 20-inch rear wheels, and red-painted brake callipers. If you want the most extrovert GT then the range-topping GT R is the one for you, as it’s unashamedly focused in its looks, sprouting larger air intakes, wider front and rear wings – filled by larger wheels and tyres – and a massive fixed rear wing instead of the standard car’s pop-up item. The GT C adds the GT R’s wide track to the mix without its more extreme rear spoiler.
No matter which one you pick they all look sensational, though it’s a shame they’ve lost the gullwing opening doors of the GT’s SLS predecessor for ultimate show-stopping effect. Regardless, the GT remains hugely appealing, and a relatively rare sight, so it’ll always turn heads, which is kind of the point.
| | | | | | | |
Interior & Comfort: (7/10)
Even by the standards of the class you sit low and far back in the body, the cockpit-like feel of the GT’s interior heightened by the massive transmission tunnel between the two front seats, dictated by the position of the engine. You’re sat right in front of the rear axle; the GT is an unashamedly sporting car, with the compromises that brings to the interior space. What is also evident is Mercedes-Benz’s input, as the interior feels beautifully finished and familiar in operation; the instruments are clear and the large central Comand infotainment system easily operated, while AMG puts all the buttons controlling the various driving options in an evocative V shape down the sizeable transmission tunnel.
Those unambiguous buttons add noise and intensity, allow you more or less control (whether via the ESP, traction or drive mode systems), or to take over from the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It’s all relatively straightforward, though AMG clearly ran out of ideas when placing the small gear-selection stick, which sits more usefully located for your elbow than your hand. Other ergonomic quirks include the hazard lights button located up near the rear view mirror on the roof, though all that does is add to the feeling that this is a different and special car, which is even more so if you go for the GT R, which adds a yellow knob in the centre of the dash that allows you to toggle through its nine traction control settings – very racecar…
You’ll be glad of the GT’s loss of the SLS’s gullwing doors, in reality, as it does wonders for headroom inside. Not that the GT’s cabin is what you’d describe as commodious, as it is a two-seater only, with its focus entirely on driving rather than anything you might describe as practicality. There’s a boot though, which has 350 litres of space and is accessed by a large hatchback in the GT coupe, so it’s not a total disaster. Just don’t whinge about space within earshot of 911-owning friends, who’ll predictably point out how practical their sports car is thanks to its rear seats.
| | | | | | | |
Technology & Connectivity: (8/10)
As much as this is AMG’s ballsy, focused and demanding interpretation of a sports car, so too is it a Mercedes. That means AMG can raid Mercedes-Benz’s toy cupboard for all the entertainment and connectivity equipment that you’ll find on its volume models. No, it’s not quite got the suite of near-autonomous driving tech you’ll find in an E-Class or S-Class, but then nor should it have.
There is though, a 8.4-inch display, to display information from the DAB tuner, 10GB HDD satnav, and all manner of connectivity via SD and USB slots and configurability between it and your smartphone for streaming media and communication with Bluetooth. There are options like Blind Spot Assist and parking cameras, both pretty useful, while Mercedes-AMG offers the most useful (and desirable) options in its Premium Package, which includes a glass roof, keyless go, Parking Assist with reversing camera, and an awesome Burmester surround sound system. Those wanting to up the intensity should option the AMG Dynamic Plus package (already standard on the GT R), which adds AMG Ride Control Sports Suspension and active engine mounts into the mix.
| | | | | | | |
Performance & Handling: (8/10)
Forget the entry-level 476hp GT, as most customers do. Instead think of the GT S as the starting point in the line-up, as the premium it commands ups the pony count to an altogether more satisfying 522hp and adds some desirable additional equipment into the mix. That ample output is enough to get the GT S to 62mph in 3.8 seconds and on to a 193mph top speed (the GT manages a still respectable 4.0 seconds and 189mph), which is quick enough by most measures, even if something like a Porsche 911 Turbo will dispatch it in fairly short order. Thing is, the AMG driver just won’t care, as the GT delivers so much more than just raw speed; the noise it makes is extraordinary – think a mix between exotic, shrieking V8 and bumpkin NASCAR thunder and you’ll get the idea. Above that the GT C will deliver 557hp and the range-topping GT R has 585hp.
Don’t think that the GT, in any guise, is an unsophisticated and uncouth muscle car, though; it might not have quite the initial accessibility of performance of some of its competition, but take the time to learn its limits and it’s a talented sports car. The transmission shifts cleanly in auto mode, but using the paddles allows you to really enjoy the hedonistic sounds of that V8 in its upper rev reaches. The 4.0-litre biturbo may be forced in its induction, but it’s free-revving and hugely responsive all the same. There are masses of torque thanks to those turbos, the peak 494lb ft of the GT S arriving at 1,750rpm and hanging around until 4,750rpm, giving huge low-rev flexibility allied to high-revving intensity.
The excellent powertrain is packaged neatly in a largely aluminium body, situated low and far back to allow for the best possible weight distribution and centre of gravity. It’s a nicely balanced car as a result, and traction is surprisingly good, though you do feel like you’re sat some way away from the front wheels. The GT C and GT R benefit from the most advanced aerodynamics, though all come with active front air intakes, which help improve downforce as well as engine cooling. There’s rear-wheel steering on those two range toppers, too, intensifying the GT’s turn in, while the suspension is dialled up on them for more focus. The steering is light in all, and it takes some getting used to its response – once you do, you really can lean on that front axle.
Traction, as mentioned, is good, though with all that engine output it’s possible to provoke it into power oversteer at will. The trick traction control system in the GT R sounds like a silly gimmick, but actually is very useful – particularly if you’re on a track. The standard brakes are mighty enough to forget the expensive carbon ceramic upgrade, too, which is no bad thing as the standard brakes deliver a bit more feel through the pedal. The ride is taut in any of the settings, meaning it can be a bit busy on poorer UK road surfaces, but it’s not so intrusive as to dominate the proceedings. No, the thumping big biturbo does that, to tremendous effect.
Recommended engine: GT S
| | | | | | | |
Safety Features: (8/10)
Being able to raid the Mercedes-Benz’s cupboard marked ‘safety’ means the AMG GT comes with a sizeable standard list of electronic driver aids and convenience features. There’s ABS with Brake Assist, driver, passenger front, side, and knee airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, plus traction and stability control. To that you can add all manner of extras, including Blind Spot Assist, Distronic distance pilot cruise control, and Mercedes-Benz’s Pre-safe system. It’s not been independently crash tested, but Mercedes-Benz has safety at the very core of its business so it should protect you well in the event of a collision.
| | | | | | | |
Specs and Trim Levels: (6/10)
The two standard, no-cost colours are Jupiter Red and Black, though there’s a choice of five metallic paints in yellow, blue and a variety of greys and silvers, while those specifying a GT R are offered its unique Green Hell Magno for a substantial premium.
The GT, GT S, GT C, and GT R each gain standard equipment in keeping with their increasing levels of performance. All come with a comprehensive specification though, including electric, leather-covered seats, Comand infotainment and satnav, and climate control. AMG offers a lot of options in bundles, and we reckon the Premium Pack is a must-tick option; it adds a reversing camera and parking assist, a fixed glass roof, keyless go, and the brilliant Burmester surround sound audio system. There are also a number of trim packages depending on whether you want carbon fibre elements inside and out, though some of these are standard as you go up the model range. The GT R is more hardcore in its specification, gaining sports bucket seats, though you’ll still have to tick the option box if you want the ceramic composite braking system. You can add the rear-wheel steering system that comes standard on the GT C and GT R models to the GT S, while app-based track data can be uploaded to your iPhone for analysis.
Size and Dimensions
The GT R and GT C are a touch wider than the standard cars…
Max towing weight without brake
| | | | | | | |
Running Costs & Fuel Economy: (6/10)
You don’t buy a V8 biturbo sports car without some expectations of sizeable running costs, though the combined economy of the standard GT of 30.4mpg is respectable given its performance. That barely changes with the GT S, though opt for the GT C and GT R and it drops to 24.8mpg and CO2 rises from 224g/km to 259g/km.
Reliability and servicing
No concerns regarding reliability have been reported. Servicing is every 12,500 miles or annually, whatever is sooner.
12,500 miles or annually
| | | | | | | |
The GT C slots between the lb110,000 GT S and lb140,000 GT R coupes. The standard GT is about lb3,000 shy of lb100,000, but you’ll quickly add at least that (and more) with options. Indeed, figure on spending at least 10 percent over the list price on options and more if you start adding frivolities like a carbon fibre engine cover under the bonnet.
| | | | | | | |
Any will mark you out as bucking the Porsche 911 norm, though we’d start with a GT S.
The GT R is your track-honed AMG GT weapon of choice here.
Opt for the premium package and all the assist systems as well as the Track App.
There’s a 911 to rival any GT, though it’s omnipresent and such a predictable choice in the AMG’s company.
Jaguar F-Type SVR
Performance to match the GT S and more, with all-wheel drive and lots of noise for less money. Doesn’t feel quite as special, though.
Without a traditional sports car (the i8 doesn’t count), BMW’s grand touring M6 is a different beast to the AMG GT.
Entry-level McLaren is a mid-engined sports car that feels more supercar. Very tempting in this company, too.
Turbocharged V8, rear-drive and a folding hardtop, the best of everything? Not quite, but that badge has huge draw.
What others say
“It’s capable of involvement more vivid than some supercars twice the price.”
“An all-round incredible package.”