The new Mercedes-AMG GT is the latest and, in my experience, the greatest so far. AMG Mercs have always been fast but have not been as good when it came to handling. They tended to feel a bit heavy up front with a nose reluctant to turn. The AMG GT changes all that.
The GT is the second sports car developed entirely in-house by Mercedes-AMG and that explains a lot about the improvement. The AMG engineers have been able to focus on weight distribution for better balance and a lower centre of gravity. They have opted for a front mid-engine position with power then transmitted to a transaxle seven-speed dual clutch gearbox and locking diff at the rear. Moving so much weight aft allows for a 53% to 47% distribution of its 1 540kg kerb weight biased to the rear. In addition, Mercedes-AMG has gone for a material mix on the body of the GT. The chassis and body are made of light alloy, the boot lid of steel and the front deck of magnesium. This extremely light element at the front reduces the inertia ahead of the front axle, thus improving the vehicle’s agility. Over 90% of the weight-optimised spaceframe is made of aluminium components. The bodyshell weighs 231kg.
With the car so nicely balanced, all the other AMG components can really perform. Double-wishbone suspension is used at the front and rear, and wishbones, steering knuckles and hub carriers on the front and rear axle are manufactured entirely of forged aluminium in order to reduce the unsprung masses.
The AMG 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine has internally mounted turbochargers (“hot inside V”) and dry sump lubrication and is configured in two output ratings: as a GT with 340kW and as a GT S with 375kW. Torque is 600Nm and 650Nm respectively. This makes for a healthy straight line speed as always, with Mercedes claiming a 3.8 second 0-100km/h time, with the help of launch control, on the way to a top speed of 310km/h.
But it was a couple of laps of the Zwartkops Raceway that really impressed me. Having scared myself earlier this year in a C63 AMG on a track, I was fairly apprehensive climbing aboard the AMG GT. However, within no time the GT had restored confidence. Despite its power and speed, it was controllable, with power feeding in quickly but not brutally, which meant you can get on the throttle much earlier. Hard braking could get the GT to squirm predictably into the corners and then turn in immediately the wheel received the input. All in all, it was great fun to drive.
Despite genuine race car performance, the AMG GT is much more than that. It provides the luxury and comfort for everyday use a Mercedes owner would expect. A large compartment in the centre armrest, a centrally located double cupholder, a large, easily accessible glove compartment and parcel nets in the passenger footwell and on the left behind the seat further confirm the day-to-day practicality of the GT.
The luggage compartment capacity of 350 litres will hold two golf bags either lengthways or crossways. The large boot lid makes for convenient loading and an integrated load compartment cover is standard. The cross strut made of aluminium behind the seats prevents luggage from sliding forward as the vehicle brakes.
The AMG Ride control sports suspension with electronically controlled damping and comes as standard on the Mercedes-AMG GT S or as an option for the GT. The driver can adjust the damping characteristics at the push of a button between Comfort, Sport and Sport+.
The speed-sensitive sports steering features a variable steering ratio: this enhances vehicle handling and agility at low speeds while maintaining driving safety at high speeds. A specific engine application in the Dynamic Select “Race” drive mode and in the manual “M” transmission mode makes the GT S even more dynamic.
The Mercedes-AMG GT adopts numerous Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive assistance systems familiar from the new S-Class. Standard equipment includes: Pre-Safe system, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Adaptive Brake, Attention Assist, Parktronic and a tyre pressure monitoring system.