Mercedes AMG GT: The car that redefined AMG
Today, we'll look at how this grand touring sports car came into being, and how it dramatically changed AMG.
Mercedes-AMG makes some pretty impressive road going performance cars. They're fun, loud, filled with character, and some are as comfortable as their non-AMG counterparts. Unlike BMW M, Mercedes-AMG makes genuine sports cars and supercars quite often. There was the CLK GTR homologation special in the 90s, the SLR made in partnership with McLaren, and of course, there was the SLS AMG. In 2015, time had come to replace the ageing SLS with a new car, the AMG GT. Initially, two variants were introduced. Namely, the GT and the GT S. Over the course of 6 years, new variants were introduced, making it a sports car for everyone.
What is it all about?
The Mercedes AMG GT S is basically a grand touring sports car, with a front-mid mounted V8 engine. On first glance, it sounds like a very similar proposition to the old SLS. However, it was a completely different car. For starters, the gullwing doors were gone, and the engine was a completely different unit, the gearbox was heavily modified from the one found in the SLS, the chassis upgrades were major and weirdly, the AMG GT S was relatively down on power compared to the standard SLS coupé. Still, 510 horsepower is absolutely ample for such a car. All these changes transformed this car into an AMG like no other.
What made it stand out?
The old SLS coupé was more of a muscle car, than a sports car. Yes, the handling was okay enough, but cars like the Porsche 911 were just sharper to drive. This, on the other hand, was completely different. Journalists keenly pointed out the very SLS Black Series character of this car. This just was sharper, more engaging to drive, than the SLS coupé, and just as capable as any entry-level 911. At the same time, this had a more charismatic engine than a 911 Carrera, it was more eager to go sideways, and looked completely different to any other car on the road. In short, this was the Goldilocks zone of the sports car; sharp, yet lairy when you wanted it to be. This effectively was AMG's new ethos. All of their models that came after it, turned from being beasts on wheels to cars that were both great to drive, and had the ability to be a hooligan.
It just got better and better
The GT and GT S were just the starting point for a something huge in AMG's world. Subsequent variants, especially the GT R, proved to be an improvement from already impressive GT and GT S. The GT R was built to conquer racetracks, and people saw it as a rival to the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. In fact, Chris Harris compared them both, and he was mighty impressed by the chassis balance of the beast of the Green Hell. At the end of the test, he concluded by saying:
That verdict just speaks for itself, doesn't it?
The GT series is still around, but the GT R is to be discontinued after the 2021 model year. With the latest Black Series model, AMG set a new lap record for production cars at the Nürburgring. What's even more impressive about the GT is the impact it had on all of AMG's offerings. Cars like the E63, GT63 4 door, and even the A45 S, CLA 45 S followed the same ethos as the flagship. They aren't just tyre-shredding monsters anymore, like they used to be. They're quick in a straight line, in some cases, they've have bettered some BMW M cars in terms of handling, and yet have retained their hooligan-like character. That's the beauty of modern AMGs, and you can hold the AMG GT responsible for starting it all.