Mercedes Challenges Porsche With Follow-Up to SLS AMG
As the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, the company’s rehash of the legendary 300SL coupes of old, reaches its final production legs, it appears that Mercedes hasn’t been sitting idly waiting for Porsche, Aston Martin, BMW, or other luxury car manufacturers to make the next move. On Tuesday, it pulled the curtains back on the Mercedes-AMG GT and GT S, its stunning new supercoupe that will essentially fill the shoes left vacant by the outgoing SLS AMG.
In true coupe fashion, its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine resides up front, concealed within the elongated hood, and powers the rear wheels. The engine is available in two flavors, at least for now: There’s the 456-horsepower GT and the 503-horsepower GT S. Zero to 60 is dealt with in 3.9 and 3.7 seconds respectively, and the engine boasts 443 pound-feet and 479 pound-feet of twist in each setup. Top speeds are capped at 189 and 193 miles per hour, respectively. There’s a seven-speed transmission in the middle and a locking differential at the receiving end.
The layout gives the GT a clean 47:53 weight distribution, and since the engine is mounted behind the front axle, the weight is nicely distributed more toward the center of the car. This should prove to be useful when thrashing the GT around a track or a winding mountain road. Standard adjustable damping will also help in this regard.
It’s a powerful coupe that will undoubtably be great fun to drive, but the GT’s real appeal lies in its looks. It’s a stunning car from just about every angle, and Mercedes-AMG has done a superb job at blending its modern design language with cues taken from the original SL.
It’s sleek, curvy, and not overly exaggerated, and in being so, is considerably more elegant looking than the SLS AMG. What you can’t see in these photos is the spoiler that protrudes once at speed but blends into the body when at rest. It looks well-planted from just about every angle thanks to its wide, low stance. At a quick glance, the GT is almost reminiscent of the Jaguar F-Type, and that’s never a bad thing.
Compared to some of AMG’s other projects, the GT actually shows some restraint. This is more of a grand touring car (as the name would imply) than it is a track-day racer. It has its share of wide intakes, vents, and scoops, but overall — especially in comparison to the SLS — it’s more refined and cleaner looking; something that’s more Aston Martin and less Lamborghini. It’s unclear as to whether the new engine will be as brash and brutal as the AMG favorite naturally aspirated 6.3-liter V8, but we’re willing to bet that the GT and GT S will be more subdued.
The interior, too, reflects a more leisurely driving style, with an enormous center console — which Mercedes has lovingly dubbed the “Drive Unit” – full of fancy switches and dials and crowned with Mercedes’s trademark vents and an infotainment screen the size of a small TV. Though we’ll have to get inside to see for sure, it looks rather cluttered from the pictures, but overall, it’s more akin to the cockpit of an S Class sedan than it is to that of one of AMG’s raucous creations. The layout is intended to mimic that of the V8 engine under the hood, the company says.
“The new Mercedes-AMG GT is a sports car in its purist form,” Gorden Wagener, Daimler AG’s vice president of design, said in the press statement. “Breathtaking proportions, powerfully sculpted surfaces and flowing lines turn the new AMG into a contemporary sports car which embodies the spirit of the glorious Mercedes sports cars.”
To bolster the car’s handling, aluminum has been used extensively to save weight and help each horsepower go further. Mercedes-AMG estimates that “over 90 percent of the weight-optimized spaceframe is made out of aluminum components,” and the bodyshell alone weighs just 509 pounds.
The GT S will launch next year as a 2016 model year vehicle, and the GT will become available the following year. Pricing details have not been disclosed, but figures in the $120,000 to $150,000 range would be a good ballpark guess. The GT and GT S appear to be remarkable cars, but what they perhaps will do best is offer a solid foundation on which Mercedes-AMG can build a Black Series special edition — for some reason, we have a hard time believing that the boys at AMG will be content with tying off a twin-turbo V8 at 503 horsepower.
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