Mercedes has revealed the long-awaited replacement for the mighty SLS AMG; the Mercedes-AMG GT.
The AMG GT has been designed and developed entirely in-house by AMG. And they have thrown all their know-how at the car, in an effort to take the fight to the Porsche 911.
It certainly looks the part, lean and muscular. Gorden Wagener, Daimler AG Vice President of Design called it “a contemporary sports car which embodies the spirit of the glorious Mercedes sports cars.”
In other words, the styling pays homage to its SLS AMG and 300SL Gullwing forefathers, but treads its own bang-up-to-date path. It looks fantastic.
But a pretty face means nothing if it doesn’t drive properly, and AMG has expended a huge amount of energy making sure it does.
Under the bonnet is a brand-new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. The direct-injection, dry sump unit uses a so-called ‘Hot V’ layout, with the turbos nestled between the two banks of cylinders. The configuration has benefits for packaging, efficiency and power delivery, the exhaust gases travelling a shorter distance to the blowers.
The engine comes in two states of tune for the standard GT and the GT S. The GT produces 456bhp and 443lb/ft of torque; the GT S, 503bhp and 479lb/ft. Both drive the rear wheels via a transaxle-mounted seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
The monocoque is made mostly from aluminium, with strategic use of high-strength steel and magnesium. The result is a light, stiff bodyshell – the GT weighs little more than 1.5 tons. With the engine pushed as far back in the chassis as possible, weight distribution is 47:53, front to rear.
Suspension is by double wishbones all-round. The steering ratio varies according to speed, lateral force and Drive Mode.
Speaking of which, the standard car has three refreshingly simple ESP modes; On, Sport Handling Mode and Off. The GT S is more advanced, featuring AMG Ride Control, which toggles through Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus settings for the suspension and dampers.
You can add the AMG Dynamic Plus package to the GT S, which adds dynamic engine and transmission mounts, and a Race mode.
Performance is well within the junior supercar ballpark. The GT registers a 0-62mph time of 4.0 seconds; the GT S, 3.8 seconds. Top speeds are 189mph and 193mph, respectively.
Even with that kind of potential, the claimed economy numbers are perfectly respectable, the GT returning 30.4mpg and 216g/km of Co2, the GT S managing 30.1mpg and 219g/km.
Suitably enormous brakes haul the speed down, the front rotors measuring 360mm or 390mm mill across. Truly gigantic 402mm carbon ceramics are optional.
The GT rides on 19-inch wheels shod with 255/35 tyres at the front and 295/35 covers at the back. The GT S has 265/35 R19’s at the front and 295/30 R20’s at the rear.
It all adds up to car that should be hugely exciting to drive. Whether it’s as good as, or even better than, the 911 remains to be seen.
The interior mixes high levels of craftsmanship with Mercedes’ latest technology. Mercedes describes the dashboard as resembling a “powerful wing”, while the centre console is reminiscent of a NACA duct. The AMG Drive Unit controls have grouped together in a rather pleasing V8 layout.
With much infotainment and safety technology, a hatchback tailgate and a 350 litre boot, the car should live up to its GT name.
Daimler AG Board Member Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber said: “We are venturing into a challenging sports car segment. [We want] to prove to sports car enthusiasts the king of performance that AMG is capable of.”
CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH Tobias Moers went further: “We are positioning Mercedes-AMG even more aggressively as a dynamic sports car brand.”
The 911 is a very big gun, but on paper at least the AMG GT looks like it has the chops to take the fight to the Porsche.
The Mercedes-AMG GT will make its public debut at the Paris Motor Show next month. It does on sale in April 2015. Prices will be announced in due course.