You have the combination of an aluminium spaceframe, a potent V8 biturbo engine with dry sump lubrication, a fast shifting seven-speed dual clutch transmission in transaxle configuration at the rear axle – locking differential, sports suspension with aluminium double-wishbone suspension, a low kerb weight of 1 645kg and a weight distribution of 47 to 53% between the front and rear axle all contributing to a car that is as fast on the track as it is on the road.
Backing this up is an electronically controlled rear-axle locking differential as standard on the S model I drove, which is likewise integrated into the compact transmission housing. The electronic function provides even more sensitive, faster control than the mechanical option in the non S version, thus pushing the limits of handling dynamics even further. And providing the fast part with a capital F is the best sounding V8 in the business. This car does not try and pretend it is subtle or slow. The four litre biturbo powerplant barks into life in a way that sends a tingle down your spine before you have even moved off.
Moving off takes on a whole new meaning, thanks to the 375kW on tap at 6 250rpm and 650Nm from a low 1 750rpm that is smeared into the tar via the cars 295 wide, 30 profile, 20 inch rubber at the rear and Race Start function of the AMG SpeedShift transmission. The efficiency, shift speed and precision of the seven-speed sports transmission have been further optimised for specific usage in the AMG GT. This is not a massive amount of power in the modern era of sportscars and supercars, but the fact is this AMG GT S Edition 1 makes excellent use of what it has and is not only the fastest AMG I have ever tested, but it is also one of the fastest rear wheel drive cars I have ever tested, only coming second by fractions to the substantially more expensive McLaren supercars.
Again, just remember this is a rear wheel driven car. This machine bolts to 100km/h in a mere 3.46 seconds, while crossing the quarter mile in a quick 11.49 seconds at 202.15km/h and the one kilometre mark at a heady 257.51km/h and only topping out at 311.81km/h on top when ran at the Gerotek Test Facilities just outside Pretoria. Maybe some further perspective is needed here – this is quick enough to see off Nissan’s mighty AWD GT-R from the word go.
And ensuring you stop just as quickly comes courtesy of the optional ceramic high-performance composite brake system that offers longer service life and even better fade resistance, thanks to the ceramic brake discs with a diameter of 402mm at the front and 360mm at the rear.
Added to this, the Mercedes-AMG GT boasts the brand’s hallmark active and passive safety of the very highest calibre and also adopts numerous 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 the tyre pressure monitoring system, along with optional items such as reversing camera and Lane Tracking package, including Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist.
The sportily designed cockpit in carbon-fibre look provides all the information you want with two classic circular instruments in a two-tube look and a 360km/h speedometer on the S model. The flat bottomed performance steering wheel sits perfectly in the hand but the gearlever and other engine and suspension type controls do not.
This was my only gripe with the car – and that is you have to rotate your arm almost behind you to activate the controls I have just mentioned each and every time you want to use them. It would have been far better if they were all simply moved forward up the centre console and more in line with where your hand naturally falls when removed from the steering wheel.
I thought I would just throw this in here – the luggage compartment capacity of the AMG GT S is said to be 350 litres and it will hold two golf bags either lengthways or crossways. Not that I can see too many owners worrying about luggage space in such a car, but I guess it is worth having for those nice long weekends away.
Mercedes said the AMG GT would be a very special car: it is only the second sports car developed entirely in-house by Mercedes-AMG, but it is the best AMG I have driven to date – and probably the most dynamic fun you can have for around R2 million on the road today, bar none.