Subdued Violence » Mercedes-AMG GT S

11-Oct-2015
Tested

The second sports car developed entirely in-house by Mercedes-AMG – the first one being the SLS AMG – the GT and GT S are Affalterbach’s answer to Porsche’s timeless 911. Myriad rivals have come and gone, attempting to topple what many consider to be the consummate modern-day sports car, but while a few have come scarily close, most have just faded into the distance. With the GT, Mercedes intends to take on Porsche at their own game, and makes no effort to hide the fact that they’re really serious.
Porsche-philes might disagree, but the AMG GT blows the 911’s timid (some might call it classic) styling into the weeds. Yes, the GT3 RS does look awesome, but what we have here is a car that, in both variations, sits comfortably in between the GTS and the Turbo, and looks more aggressive than either of them. It’s a very Coke bottle-ish shape, emphasizing the RWD character with a long hood and short rear deck. Strategically placed creases, bulges and flares are accompanied by short overhangs, massive front air intakes, LED lights front and back, a rear spoiler and a pair of beefy exhaust tips integrated into the black diffuser insert.

Porsche-philes might disagree, but the AMG GT blows the 911’s timid (some might call it classic) styling into the weeds. Yes, the GT3 RS does look awesome, but what we have here is a car that, in both variations, sits comfortably in between the GTS and the Turbo, and looks more aggressive than either of them. It’s a very Coke bottle-ish shape, emphasizing the RWD character with a long hood and short rear deck. Strategically placed creases, bulges and flares are accompanied by short overhangs, massive front air intakes, LED lights front and back, a rear spoiler and a pair of beefy exhaust tips integrated into the black diffuser insert."

Our "Edition 1" tester came with black-coloured aero bits including a larger front splitter, carbon-fibre roof, gloss black exterior accents, and 10-spoke alloy wheels fitted with 265/35 R19 and 295/30 R20 high-performance tyres front and back."

The interior is a mixed bag; some might find it racy while others might find it a bit over the top, though you simply cannot fault the quality or the choice of materials. It’s a very snug place to be in, a feeling further heightened by the high beltline, short A-pillars and wide dashboard. The massive centre console intends to bring to mind a NACA air intake, and is peppered with eight buttons that operate the AMG Drive Unit, arranged like eight cylinders in a V layout. Two traditional gauges for the speedo and rpm flank a multifunction display that lets you toggle between several performance options and information. Typical of current Mercedes-Benz vehicles, a free-standing display sits above the quartet of central HVAC dials. You get to choose between two Burmester sound systems - an 11-speaker set-up mated to a 1000W 11-channel amplifier or 10 speakers matched to a 640W 10-channel amplifier."

Again, being the "Edition 1" variant, our car came equipped with a black nappa leather interior with red contrasting stitching, AMG Performance seats, interior Black Diamond package, flat-bottomed steering wheel in DINAMICA microfibre, and aluminium shift paddles."

To take on Porsche’s sublime flat-six, AMG has dropped its M178 4.0-litre V8 into the car’s engine bay. Dry sumped and featuring a pair of turbochargers mounted inside the V, the compact engine makes 462hp in GT guise, with the GT S belting out 510hp to the rear wheels via a 7-speed dual clutch transmission. The latter also benefits from a performance exhaust system with variably controlled exhaust flaps."

On the road, there is just one word to describe the GT S - ballistic! The mid-front-engined layout makes for beautiful balance and extremely sharp responses, aided perfectly by precise and feelsome (if a bit light) steering. Comfort mode is good around town, and you can ramp it up to Sport or Sport+ modes when it comes to play time, resulting in flat cornering, instantaneous shifts and a cracking exhaust note. The way everything connects is a job well done by the folks at AMG, as your inputs are carried out without any delay by the GT S. Traction is huge, the turbocharged V8 punches in anger and the optional carbon ceramic brakes are phenomenal."

The only gripes we have are with the awkward placement of the gear selector, which is situated far backward to use comfortably, as well as sighting issues due to the long hood and high beltline, especially when charging hard around narrow roads. The latter just needs some getting used to, but in that respect Porsche still takes the cake. It might be difficult to wean purists off the 911, but for a new buyer, I think AMG’s GT S offers an equal experience, and definitely much bigger thrills."

Engine: 3982cc V8 twin-turbo
Layout: Front engine / RWD
Power: 510hp @ 6250rpm
Torque: 650Nm @ 1750-4750rpm
Transmission: 7-speed DCT"