Did you wake up this morning extremely excited? Did you spend the first few hours glued to your computer screen? Of course you did but probably not for the same reason I am referring to. While you were busy watching Tim Cook reveal the new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch, Mercedes Benz was revealing their new flagship performance car, the AMG GT. Meant as a replacement for the very lauded SLS, the AMG GT has some pretty big tires to fill. So how does the AMG GT measure up? Lets find out…
First thing’s first. The AMG GT does look similar to the SLS but it is definitely evolved design-wise from its predecessor. The AMG GT Coupe is very curvy. The SLS has its fair share of curves as well but there are a few hard edges in its design but the GT coupe has a very sculpted, fluid look. You would be hard pressed to find an edge or hard lines. Its also appears to be slightly shorter than the SLS and its front grill is very reminiscent of the radical GT Vision concept MB built for Gran Turismo 6.
AMG’s new coupe will be available in two trims: The GT S and the “base” GT. What’s the difference? In a word: performance. The GT S features a more powerful twin-turbo V8 engine which makes 503HP to the GT’s 456HP. Both those numbers are down over the out going SLS however the GT will offer a whole host of other performance tweaks that may make up for the lack in horses. For example the GT S will have a system dubbed “AMG DYNAMIC PLUS” as an option. This system features dynamic engine and transmission mounts. Yes, the engine and tranny mounts can move depending on the conditions to help optimize weight distribution! It will also feature the obligatory electronically controlled dampening system to dial dampers in to specific situations (sport, road, etc). Both trims will put their power down through seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions with locking differentials. Ceramic brakes are also available as an option on both GT S and GT.
The interior is as cushy as you might imagine. In the photos it does seem that they were leaning more towards “luxury” this time but there are lots of racy performance-based cues such as the flat bottom alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and the decision to forgo a full digital dash and sticking with race-inspired traditional needle gauges. However the center console is teaming with dials and buttons to control all of the electronic goodies. It looks to be a bit overwhelming and against the trend of simplifying interior tech interfaces the way Audi has over the last few years. I can see it being a potential sticking point when the reviews start rolling in.
Mercedes Benz has made it clear that they are aiming at the Porsche 911 and the Audi R8 (V8) with the new GT Coupe. I personally find that somewhat troubling. With the mighty SLS they had no qualms going after the likes of Ferrari. Now they aim at Porsche (who doesn’t) and the 2nd stringer R8? It makes me wonder if there is yet another car coming down the pipe from Germany that we may yet to know about. Or maybe, Mercedes Benz just decided that its in their better interests to go after a bigger market of those affluent individuals who want near supercar performance in a package that is easily daily drivable. When I think deeper about it I can’t really fault them for that.
Really it just seems like Mercedes Benz is doing everything differently when it comes to this new offering. Take the release dates for example the GT S comes out next spring while the standard GT isn’t due until 2016. Typically, the protocol is to release the “standard” version first then hit everyone with the high performance model but Mercedes has even flipped that on its head. In a refreshing move the ravenous performance-addicts get their fix first!
Sure, the GT Coupe may not be as powerful as the SLS on paper but I am sure it will be lighter, more capable in the corners, and more accessible (AKA less $$$) as well. These days things are less about max HP and more about driving experience. With a chassis that can move the engine and transmission for optimal weight distribution on the fly, the GT Coupe may just have us asking “SLS who?”
For now, you can check out a (short) spec sheet and all the official pictures in the embedded facebook gallery below:
|AMG GT||AMG GT S|
|Engine||4.0L twin-turbo V8 handbuilt
|4.0L twin-turbo V8 handbuilt
|Drive Configuration||Rear-Wheel Drive||Rear-Wheel Drive|
443 lb-ft torque
479 lb-ft torque
|Transmission||7-Speed AMG Dual Clutch
with Manual Shifting Mode
|7-Speed AMG Dual Clutch
with Manual Shifting Mode
|0-60 (sec.)||3.9 (est.)||3.7 (est.)|