Think of it as the facelifted AMG GT. Three years have passed since Mercedes-AMG first showed off its two-seater hot rod and now the guys and girls at Affalterbach have given it a mid-life nip and tuck. The distinctive ‘Panamericana’ grille with its wide-spaced vertical slats is the giveaway; pre-facelift cars have a single horizontal spar across a wide open snout.
The GT range is now nine-strong, if you count all variants across Coupe and Roadster body styles, plus the GT3 and GT4 racing cars. The GT Coupe sits at the foot of the line-up, its £98,760 asking price the only one to dip below six-figures. Next is the GT Roadster, costing £110,160.
DESIGN AND STYLE ;
Although smaller than the SLS AMG, the GT can be considered the former’s spiritual successor from a design point of view. The sports car’s lines are muscular and dramatic, two features that are more noticeable now that the veils have been lifted. Much like the SLS AMG and the iconic 300SL Gullwing, the GT is highlighted by its long hood, a short boot and a greenhouse that has been moved farther toward the rear.
Needless to say, the front fascia also reminds me of the SLS AMG. A wide grille fitted with Mercedes’ new diamond pattern dominates the landscape, with beautifully shaped headlamps extending onto the fenders. Down below, a thin air dam makes up most of the apron, while large intakes are mounted on each side to help cool those large front brakes. The resemblance continues around back, but, much like its front end, the Mercedes-AMG GT’s rear fascia brings new styling cues into the equation. The thin taillights provide a great contrast to the beefy bumper and large exhaust tips. More importantly, the regular trunk lid of the SLS has been replaced by a larger lid that now incorporates the rear glass.
Overall, the AMG GT is shorter than the SLS AMG, but at the same time it kept the latter’s wide and low stance. The design is not overly dramatic and it certainly doesn’t represent a significant departure from the SLS, but the AMG GT boasts that pure sports car emotion we expect from vehicles that can perform on the street as well as on the track.
CABIN AND COMFORT ;
However, getting inside the Mercedes AMG GT-S was more or less similar, because the way the dashboard and centre console are laid out, it is no less than the cockpit of a plane. The steering wheel is similar to the one that we saw on the C63 AMG S. The instrument cluster is also similar to other AMGs and it is clear and easy to read.The centre console is large and comes with an array of buttons. At the front, you get a thin strip of small buttons which are used for the AC and climate control system. Behind them, you get the knob for the COMAND infotainment system and at the very back is a small but chunky gear selector that is shared with the G63 AMG. You don’t get Mercedes’ traditional steering-mounted gear selector on the AMG GT-S. The centre console gets 4 buttons on either side and they are used to select driving modes, toggle the engine on and off, tweak the suspension settings, toggle the traction control, etc.
The seats are very snug and provide good support all around. Frontal visibility is excellent and you also get a good view of the long bonnet. The ORVMs offer a good field of view while the tiny rear windscreen is pretty much useless in tight situations. We didn’t get a chance to check out the Burmester audio system of the car though, since we were quite immersed in getting a eargasm from the exhaust note. The AMG GT-S is definitely very long and it takes some time getting used to the sheer size. Cargo carrying capacity isn’t much and the boot should be able to hold just a couple of bags with 280-litres of space.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION ;
The GT gets a 4-litre, V8, direct injection, twin turbo, and all aluminum motor. As you can tell by the previous sentence, this one is one high tech car. And I still haven’t mentioned the 7-speed Directshift DCT rear mounted transaxle which connects to the engine via a carbon fibre driveshaft. Phew, this is intensive. Not to forget, this drivetrain also gets four driving modes – Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race. And for those who are choosier still, there’s an Individual mode wherein one can choose various setups from the stock modes and create an all-new one.On the road, the best way to enjoy the AMG GT is to select the Individual mode. Turn the drivetrain and exhaust to Sport+, the dampers to Comfort, and do leave the ESP ON! Then, it’s just a matter of how much gas you give. Floor it in a straight line and the AMG GT shocks you with the amount of grip it possess. It catapults off the line and just goes on building momentum relentlessly, gear after gear, revving effortlessly to 7,000rpm, and sounding great all the while.Floor it around bends, and again, a little twitch later, the GT is back doing what it does best – chasing the horizon with utmost ferocity. It is here that one appreciates leaving the ESP on because the engine’s grunt easily overwhelms the rear tyres. Leave it off and if you have a lead right foot and a hand-eye co-ordination of a baby – like me – you will scare yourself silly every corner.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
Driving this car quickly on the road means peeling your eyelids back and dialling your concentration levels up to 11. That hyper-responsive wheel offers just enough feedback at the straight-ahead to keep the car from feeling nervous on the road, although it doesn’t escape by much.And yet both off and on-centre, the steering is in serious need of greater confidence-inspiring weight and feedback. The firm springing makes the helm react to every medium-sized bump that the front wheels cross, and this, on a really testing B-road, can challenge your capacity to guide the car smoothly and with total precision. Want exciting? You’ve found it all right.The ride is short and staccato. It’s slightly less aggressive when the softer damping modes are selected, but no less busy. Long-wave undulations hardly disturb the level of the body at all, but when the road’s topography turns particularly savage, the suspension often becomes skittish, as tyres part company with the road surface and impacts thump through that spaceframe chassis.
SAFETY AND SECURITY ;
The body structure of this sports car itself is a representation of next level safety in the auto world. It has a precise structure featuring crumple zones at critical locations and impact beams for added strength. This enables to create a protective shell for the occupants inside and safeguards them from impact. Besides these, airbags and three point seatbelt are already present to minimize injury risks. Like other Mercedes models, this GT S too gets an Attention Assist function that analyzes the driving data and detects signs of inattentiveness of driver towards driving. There are other advanced features like adaptive brake lights, electric parking brake, automatic child seat recognition, tyre pressure monitoring system and a few other security functions.
The AMG GT now comes in three flavours in India – S coupé, Roadster and R coupé – and the best part is that they all fall within a pretty tidy price band that’s just Rs 14 lakh across. So it’s simple, right? Ignore the base S model and go for the R, the loudest, most powerful and most visually dramatic. Not quite, and although a full evaluation on the road will have to confirm this, we suspect that some might find the R a little too much for everyday use, be it the noise, the ride, the sharp throttle or even the added width. The GT S has plenty of drama as is. But as ever, there will inevitably be plenty of takers for the top dog of the range, even though most will never take the R to a racetrack. So just where on the sportscar spectrum does the AMG GT R fit? Like all rear-drive AMGs, it’s still a shouty, tail-happy animal if provoked, but this time there’s more to it than just that, provided you drive it right. The lap records are proof of that. It serves as the quickest-accelerating, most powerful version of the AMG GT range, while simultaneously being the sharpest-handling and most track-focused. Think of the Porsche 911 Turbo and GT3 RS rolled into one, and you get the picture. It’s equal parts GT and R, and at an almost reasonable Rs 2.23 crore (ex-showroom), we hope to see a number of ‘Beasts of the Green Hell’ on Indian roads.