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First drive: Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.

First drive: Mercedes-AMG GT S
Mercedes-AMG replaces its SLS with the lighter, sharper, cleaner and cheaper GT. What's not to like?

   



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Mercedes-AMG GT S

5 5 5 5 5

Mercedes-AMG's long talked about Porsche 911-fighter has finally arrived. Turbocharged V8 power, beautiful balance and good looks give it the edge over its omnipresent Porsche adversary.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Mercedes-AMG GT S
Pricing: £110,495
Engine: 4.0-litre turbocharged petrol V8
Transmission: rear-wheel drive, seven-speed automatic
Body style: two-door coupé
CO2 emissions: 219g/km (Band K, £285 per year)
Combined economy: 30.1mpg
Top speed: 192mph
0-62mph: 3.8 seconds
Power: 510hp at 6,250rpm
Torque: 650Nm at 1,750- to 4,750rpm

What's this?

A foil to the Porsche 911: Mercedes-AMG clearly thinks its rival Stuttgart brand has had its own way in the sports car market for too long. The AMG GT replaces the SLS, losing its predecessor's gullwing doors in the process, but it's about a third cheaper and just about as fast. The second wholly-developed AMG model the GT will be initially available in standard 462hp GT guise, as well as in GT S form as driven here. Its output increases to 510hp, allowing it to reach 62mph in 3.8 seconds and onto a top speed that's electronically limited to 192mph. Plenty then. With sensational looks inside and out, AMG's new contender in the sports car class has everything it needs to take on, and beat, its obvious Porsche rival.

How does it drive?

That entirely new bi-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine sits in a front-mid position, helping the AMG GT's weight distribution of 47/53 front to rear bring the promise of supreme balance. And so it proves on road and track, the Mercedes-AMG GT S's agility initially quite shocking, as expectations after the SLS are that the GT might lean more towards grand tourer than outright sports car. Driving it on the road removes such preconceptions, the GT exhibiting remarkable agility, the steering offering good weighting and real immediacy, turning in decisively and without the slightest hint of understeer.

Despite having to deal with 510hp and 650Nm of torque the rear axle is just as impressive. Most notably on traction, the GT S able to exploit its prodigious output even on the wet, autumn leaf-covered mountain roads of California. Naturally, with all that power on offer, and the ability to turn off all the electronic stability and traction aids, it'll also steer enthusiastically with its rear wheels and your right foot.

It isn't just the chassis that impresses. AMG's pre-launch assertions that the new engine would, despite a move away from natural aspiration, be an authentic AMG engine, are entirely upheld. The blown 4.0-litre doesn't just deliver its force with no perceptible lag from its 'hot-V' bi-turbo set-up, but also offers something approaching the core-rearranging sound we've come to expect from Affalterbach's products. All without any help from the car's speakers - it's achieved via exhaust flaps and plenty of acoustic tuning. The switchable sports exhaust offers marked choices: a quiet, background rumble, or a full-bore near NASCAR accompaniment, depending on your mood.

The seven-speed twin-clutch transmission is a carryover part from the SLS and it continues to be in a transaxle position in the GT. Unlike in its previous home it's entirely faithful to your demands at the wheel-mounted paddles, not trying to outsmart and second-guess you as it so frustratingly did at times in the SLS AMG. That, combined with the engine's response, its broad spread of power and rousing top-end make for a hugely engaging and entertaining drive. One that Mercedes-AMG is only too happy to let us sample.

Out front is Bernd Schneider, a German racing legend, and he's in a hurry. Around Laguna Seca. The familiarisation lap feels like qualifying pace, but the AMG GT S, if not its driver, takes it all in its stride. Three laps in and the GT S really reveals its best; with the ESP in Sport Handling Mode and the AMG Drive Unit set to 'Race' the GT S exhibits its incredible balance and searing pace on the famously challenging, undulating circuit. It's hugely capable, but involving too, up to and beyond its limits of grip and traction. The engine response is what's most impressive though, allowing small, but crucial adjustments to the GT S's line via the accelerator without any delay. Get it right and it'll make you look like a hero, with high speed power oversteer through and exiting bends. The brakes are mighty too. They're optional carbon ceramics on the track cars, though AMG's head Tobias Moers resisted the temptation to put the optional, track-biased tyres on the cars, insisting "we want the cars here to be representative."

They are, very much so. And there's more yet to come - a Black Series model is an inevitability and a GT3 race car is also confirmed. The people at Porsche's HQ should be a little bit worried.

Verdict

Top dog status in the sports car market has long been held by the Porsche 911, but the Mercedes-AMG GT has got everything it takes to unbalance that long-held equilibrium. It's a hugely exciting and capable sports car, with remarkable poise and it even rides decently given its focus. Then there's its exceptional powertrain: the 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 engine is a triumph. The AMG GT S is only hampered against its most common foe by virtue of it being slightly less practical thanks to its two-seat layout. If that doesn't matter to you then cancel that 911 order: the AMG GT really is that good.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 26 Nov 2014



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2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.



2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 

2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S. Image by Mercedes-AMG.
 






 

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