There's a new player in town. The Porsche 911 better watch its back when the 503-hp AMG GT S arrives next spring.
Finally, the wraps have been whisked off the new Mercedes-AMG GT. Serving as the carmaker’s flagship in the wake of the SLS AMG, the second car to be entirely developed by AMG is the first Mercedes to drop ‘Benz’ from its name, so significant is the input from Affalterbach. Moving from the supercar to the sportscar arena, the AMG GT will be gunning for the likes of the Porsche 911 and Jaguar F-Type but maintains the basic set up of the SLS with a V8 engine up front powering the rear wheels. However the GT’s powerplant is turbocharged.
A ‘hot inside V’ arrangement sees two turbos mounted within the 4.0-liter V8’s cylinder banks, helping them to react quicker, improve throttle response, while reducing the size of the engine. By being able to slot in a front-mid position behind the front axle, the GT’s 1,540 kg curb weight is also better balanced.
The new coupe arrives in two trims. The standard GT is rated at 456 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque, for a 0-62 mph time of 4.0 seconds and 189 mph top speed. The more potent AMG GT S makes 503 hp and 479 lb-ft, hitting 62 mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 193 mph, while a seven-speed dual-clutch paddleshift transmission with locking differential comes mated to both engine flavors. An aluminum spaceframe chassis with double wishbone-suspension all round envelops the all-new drivetrain, with the GT S getting a host of performance-enhancing goodies including adjustable damping, a performance exhaust system with variable flaps, and more sensitive electronic differential.
As part of its Dynamic Plus package, Mercedes is the first carmaker to offer both dynamic engine and transmission mounts, designed to stop unwanted movements, while other options include carbon-ceramic brakes, forged alloys and Michelin Cup tires. No doubt the Mercedes-AMG GT has real presence. The single-bar chrome grille and bubble roof are a nod to the 300SL, yet this is undoubtedly a modern-day hot rod. Two massive air intakes flank the oval grille, dual powerdomes hints at the twin-turbo V8 lurking beneath, while the seriously wide back end gets some hefty rear fenders, and an electronically-controlled rear spoiler is kept neatly tucked away waiting to be deployed.
A cutting-edge interior sports Mercedes’ Drive Unit made up of an assortment of shiny knobs mirroring the V8’s cylinder layout, while the carmaker’s contemporary two-pod arrangement comes with a center-mounted electronic display. The 2016 AMG GT S will launch in the US next spring, followed by the GT a year later. Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but as one of the stars of next month’s Paris Motor Show, expect to hear a lot more about AMG’s latest high-performance coupe. Time to bring on the 911 and F-Type.