WITH DRY ice billowing from industrial-size smoke machines and fireworks threatening to singe the eyebrows of onlookers, the sleek bonnet of Mercedes-AMG’s newest model emerged to a rapturous welcome at the sports car maker’s Affalterbach headquarters in Germany last night (September 9).
This was a very special moment for AMG because it is only the second model to be produced entirely in-house by the company, following the potent SLS.
The Mercedes-AMG GT, a compact sports car to rival the Porsche 911 Turbo and the Jaguar F-type R, will go on sale early next year priced at around £95,000. It will woo customers with its all-new high-performance 4-litre V8, and styling evoking Mercedes’ hugely successful Silver Arrow racing cars of the 1950s. It will be publicly unveiled at next month’s Paris show.
There are two models: the 503bhp GT S, which is on sale from launch, and the 456bhp GT, available shortly after. The two models are distinguished by slightly different body detailing, tailpipes and alloy wheels.
Mercedes-AMG GT walkaround video with Robert Lesnik, chief designer:
Designed by a team led by Gordon Wagener, the vice president of design at parent company Daimler AG, the AMG GT blends the typically elongated bonnet associated with Mercedes sports cars, with a design language that favours smooth surfaces over sharp creases.
Inside the car, owners enjoy a cockpit which, unlike that in the recently revealed S-class coupé, wraps around the driver and passenger like a fighter jet’s. All dials and controls are placed within close proximity of the driver, ensuring vehicle settings can be adjusted at high speeds.
But this car really isn’t about smartphone connectivity or Adaptive Brake; it’s about speed, a compelling mechanical soundtrack and sheer drama.
A sleek, 8.4in central screen dominates the infotainment package and is controlled by Mercedes’ familiar COMAND system. Meanwhile, many of the car’s driver-assistance features are borrowed from the S-class and include Collision Prevention Assist Plus and and Attention Assist.
But this car really isn’t about smartphone connectivity or Adaptive Brake; it’s about speed, a compelling soundtrack and sheer drama. The new 4-litre V8 engine provides all of this while, on the GT S at least, it is possible to control the exhaust valves for an even more visceral engine noise. The car’s new aluminium chassis helps to keep the GT’s kerbweight down to 1,540kg, and the GT S’s to 1,570kg, ensuring as little of the engine’s performance is wasted as possible.
Power is directed to the car’s rear wheels by a revised version of the Getrag seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that featured on the SLS. Keeping the new model safe from the greenery is a set of enormous 360mm disc brakes, front and rear. Optional ceramic composite discs measuring 402mm are available for drivers who crave even stronger stopping power.
But the Mercedes- AMG GT isn’t exclusively about performance. It is surprisingly practical, too. The rear hatch boasts an impressive 350 litres of space. Admittedly, that’s over 50 litres less than the Jaguar F-type’s boot but it thoroughly trounces the measly 260 litres in the Porsche 911 Turbo.
Its golf club-swallowing boot aside, the AMG GT is likely to attract young buyers. It has heaps of style, a cutting-edge infotainment system, soul-stirring performance and a price tag that shouldn’t bother the Tinie Tempahs of this world.
It might bother the likes of Porsche, Jaguar and Lamborghini, though.
2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S specifications
On sale: Early 2015
Price: £95,000 (est)
Engine: 3,982cc, 8 cylinders
Power: 503bhp @ 6250rpm
Torque: 479lb ft from 1750rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch semi-automatic
Acceleration: 0-62 in 3.8 seconds
Top speed: 193mph
Fuel: 30mpg (combined)
Vehicle Tax Band: K