2016 Mercedes-AMG GT
Following the path blazed by the SLS, the GT is the second sports car designed in-house by Mercedes-AMG. All-new for the latest model year, the GT takes all of the features that made the SLS a blast to drive both on and off the track and packs them into a smaller, more buttoned-down - and more accessible - package.
By the numbers
The GT rides on a shortened version of the SLS AMG's proven platform, although the latter's signature gullwing doors have been replaced by more conventional side-hinged units to improve structural rigidity and reduce mass. Crafted largely out of lightweight materials like aluminum and magnesium, the GT tips the scale at about 3,400 pounds in its lightest configuration.
Power for the coupe comes from a hand-built twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine. It features a dry-sump lubrication system, lightweight forged pistons, a patented Nanoslide coating on the cylinder walls that reduces friction losses and turbochargers mounted internally, a setup called a "hot inside V" in Mercedes-speak.
In the basic GT, the eight-cylinder generates 456 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 443 lb-ft. of torque between 1,600 and 5,000 rpm. The GT sprints from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and goes on to a top speed of 189 mph.
The more expensive GT S packs an evolution of the eight-cylinder that is tuned to generate 503 horsepower at 6,250 rpm and 479 lb-ft. of torque over a wide band that stretches from 1,750 all the way up to 4,750 rpm. The extra grunt sends the S to 60 mph from a dead stop in 3.7 seconds and allows it to a hit top speed that is electronically limited to 193 mph.
Fuel economy checks in at 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway thanks in part to a standard start/stop system.
Mounted in front-mid position, the V8 spins the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission located over the rear axle, a setup that gives the GT a 47 front/53 rear weight distribution. The transmission can be left in drive or shifted manually by using shift paddles. Additionally, Mercedes' AMG Dynamic Select technology lets the driver choose from several driving modes called C (Controlled efficiency), S (Sport), S+ (Sport Plus) and I (Individual). The GT S benefits from an additional mode called Race.
Both versions of the GT offer a speed-sensitive power steering system and forged aluminum suspension components that reduce unsprung weight. The GT S ups the ante with an electronically-adjustable suspension.
The GT S comes standard with an AMG performance exhaust system fitted with fully variable vanes that make it possible for the driver to change the exhaust note by simply pushing a button on the center console. The aforementioned driving modes also have their own exhaust note.
Looking the Part
The GT's front end pays a discreet homage to the iconic 300 SLR that raced in the 1950s with styling cues such as elongated headlights, slightly raised wheel arches and an oval single-slat radiator grille. The look is accented by a long hood with twin power domes and a pair of air vents near the base of the windshield.
Moving towards the back, the GT features broad haunches, a smooth-surfaced decklid and thin horizontal tail lamps similar to the ones found on the S-Class Coupe. An optional electronically retractable spoiler provides additional downforce at high speeds.
The GT's interior gets a wide dashboard, six round air vents and an instrument cluster made up of analog gauges and a configurable TFT screen. The prominent slanted center stack is designed to resemble a NACA duct, while the controls of the AMG Drive Unit are arranged to mimic the cylinder layout of a V8 engine.
The GT S stands out from the GT thanks to red accents in the instrument cluster, a performance steering wheel upholstered in a combination of black Nappa leather and an Alcantara-like fabric called Dinamica and the iconic AMG Affalterbach crest embossed in the center arm rest.
Both versions of the GT are fitted with a smartphone-like touch pad on the center console that lets the passengers control the COMAND infotainment system with simple finger gestures. Occupants can also use the touch pad to enter an address in the navigation system or to add a contact in the phone book.
The standard mbrace system includes a number of cloud-based goodies including a concierge service, location-based traffic and weather updates, stolen vehicle location assistance, automatic collision notification and more. Available apps add internet browsing, Google local search with street view, Yelp reviews, Facebook access and news reports. Owners can even use a purpose-designed mbrace smartphone application to remotely lock, unlock or locate their GT.
Designed with day-to-day practicality in mind, the GT offers 12.4 cubic feet of cargo space, which is enough room to hold two golf bags either lengthwise or crosswise. The trunk is accessed via a large hatch.
Standard and Optional Features
The basic GT is not on sale yet. However, the GT S comes standard with a Burmester surround sound system, a navigation system with an 80GB hard drive, keyless entry and go, dual-zone A/C, heated power-adjustable sport seats with a memory function, SiriusXM satellite radio with a six-month subscription, LED headlights, a rear-view camera, highbeam assist, black Nappa leather upholstery, black seat belts, Silver Chrome trim on the inside, red brake calipers as well as 19-inch alloy wheels up front and 20-inch units out back.
The list of standalone options includes dynamic engine mounts, ceramic brake discs, a host of different alloy wheel designs, additional paint colors, silver or red seatbelts, different shades of leather upholstery, carbon fiber trim on the center console, illuminated door sills, a carbon fiber engine cover and an upgraded Burmester sound system.
Mercedes-AMG also offers a number of option packages including the Exterior Silver Chrome package, the Night package and the Exterior Carbon-Fiber package.
The GT offers eight airbags, traction control and a three-stage ESP. It also comes with a long list of electronic driving aids including Collision Prevention Assist Plus, a technology that warns the driver if he or she is too close to the car in front and automatically applies the brakes if it senses a collision is imminent. The coupe also comes with Adaptive Brake, Attention Assist, parking sensors, Mercedes' Pre-Safe technology and a rear-view camera.
Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist can be ordered at an extra cost.
The Mercedes-AMG GT S is unabashedly aimed right at the Porsche 911 GTS. It can also be cross-shopped against a wide number of competitors including the less expensive Jaguar F-Type R, the bulkier and less driver-focused BMW M6, the less extreme Maserati GranTurismo, the surprisingly accessible Aston Martin Vantage, the brutal Nissan GT-R and the second-gen Audi R8.