The Mercedes AMG GT is undoubtedly one of Porsche’s biggest headaches. It follows on from the dramatic SLS, doing without the gullwing doors, but lowering weight and increasing performance.
It’s one of the most expensive and powerful Mercedes you can buy; and, its two-door, two-seater layout, coupled with sharp, engaging handling and a thundering V8 engine, put it firmly in 911 territory.
The base 516bhp model is a fun car, but those after a track-biased weapon will want the storming GT R – it’s got 577bhp, a more focused chassis setup and technology to help flatter the driver and set blistering lap times.
Mercedes has also introduced the standalone 720bhp GT Black Series, which comes with the added kudos of being the world’s fastest production car around a lap of the Nurburgring. What isn’t so impressive is the price – at £335,000 it takes the AMG GT into a seriously different league.
Perhaps the best compromise for customers is the 549bhp GT C Roadster. It’s faster than the regular model and a more agile and engaging driver’s car, yet it’s more set up for the road than the GT R.
All except the GT R make surprisingly good cruisers, though. Because the suspension isn’t too firm, the AMG GT is comfortable enough on long, lazy journeys. It’s a pity the steering isn’t as natural and communicative as the Porsche – the set-up in the GT R is the best of the range – while some may find the interior ergonomics aren’t that intuitive.
The AMG GT’s price – and the AMG GT roadster prices – show the model family was conceived with one primary mission: to give the Mercedes family a sporting rival to the omnipotent Porsche 911. Targeting the 911 means potential buyers may also consider the Aston Martin Vantage, Audi R8 or even the Jaguar F-Type R. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to consider the hottest AMG GT R model, you could also be thinking about the fabulous McLaren 570S or 570GT as possible alternatives.
The Mercedes-AMG GT model lineup is pretty straightforward, with the entry-level versions available in either Coupe or open-top Roadster forms. You can also upgrade to the Night Edition variants which offer plenty of moody black trim and various cosmetic tweaks.
The GT C, which arrived soon after the GT R, is a bit of a performance compromise – featuring more power than the entry model, plus details such as the wider rear track and suspension setup largely borrowed from the GT R. Ultimately, it’s designed as a road-biased sports car, with enough comfort and refinement to be used daily.
All the AMG GT models share versions of the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that now appears elsewhere in the AMG line-up. The motor is mounted ahead of the driver, but set well-back, in what Mercedes describes as a front-mid engine configuration. Drive is directed to the rear wheels through a paddle-shifted seven-speed dual-clutch automated gearbox, and there’s no manually shifted option.
The AMG GT starts at around £108,000 for the Coupe and £120,000 for the Roadster version. Consequently, running costs are very high and every model is in insurance group 50 (though that’s on a par with their rivals).
The handling is extremely sharp, but the AMG GT is much more composed and less intimidating than you’d expect a 500bhp+ rear-wheel drive sports car to be. It’s quite civilised and as comfortable on long journeys as it is racing around a track.
One look at the specification of the AMG GT is enough to get you excited about the driving experience. An all-new 4.0-litre V8 with twin-turbochargers, a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, multi-link suspension and a low centre of gravity – it has all the best sports car ingredients.
You sit low in the car and the driving position is good, although the view is dominated by a large bonnet bulge. The engine is mounted behind the front axle for better weight distribution and a lower centre of gravity. As a result, the car feels sharper than previous AMG models and very stable.
Body control is excellent and, for a powerful front-engined rear-wheel drive car (which are often quite twitchy), the grip is sensational. The back end is really steady under acceleration and the AMG GT feels incredibly composed. The steering is light and sensitive, and it doesn’t have the same level of feedback that you’ll find in a Porsche 911. That can affect confidence when pushing on, but you’d need to find a track to really explore this car’s limits.
The GT C and R models rank up the planted, secure feel, with virtually no body roll and a more engaging steering setup. The extra stability of the wider track, combined with the extra power on offer, makes the R in particular a far more visceral driving experience, particularly on a circuit, where you can take advantage of its lower weight, active aerodynamics and rear-wheel steering that give it a greater sense of connection. The GT C almost matches it for fun at the wheel, but is more usable on the road.
Despite its sharp handling, the AMG GT is actually a reasonably refined cruiser. The suspension is just the right side of firm and on smooth tarmac with the dampers in Comfort mode, the AMG GT rides decently enough to be comfortable. The wide tyres generate some road noise at speed and the engine does tend to make more of a racket than that of rivals, but overall refinement is good.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
Press the starter button on the transmission tunnel and the 516bhp 4.0-litre V8 barks into life. The noise is addictive and really comes into its own above 3,000rpm – especially with the sports exhaust activated.
With 670Nm available as low as 2,100rpm, the AMG-GT feels instantly responsive, yet peak power doesn’t arrive until over 6,000rpm – so there’s performance on offer throughout the rev range.
As for acceleration, you’re looking at 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds from the standard model and 3.6 seconds from the R Coupe, while top speed is 194mph and 198mph respectively. The GT C splits the two at 3.7 seconds and 196mph.
The dual-clutch gearbox shifts seamlessly, and there’s a nice blip on the downshift accompanied by pops and bangs from the exhaust when you’re decelerating. Those noises are even more pronounced on the GT C and R models, making every drive a real event.
A high performance V8-engined sports car with a near six-figure price tag is never going to be cheap to run, but the GT gives you the image, sound and thrills of the spectacular SLS model for a lot less money.
The entry GT model emits 289g/km, with the GTC variant only slightly higher at 291g/km. Under WLTP testing procedures, all Mercedes-AMG GT cars are expected to achieve an average of around 22mpg, although you can expect this figure to drop significantly if you explore the full performance that’s on tap.
As with mpg and CO2 emissions, insurance costs for the AMG GT are extremely high. Every model sits in group 50, which is as high as it’s possible to get.
However, you can’t really single the Mercedes out in this area, as the majority of rivals at a similar price point and with equivalent levels of performance also sit right at the top end of the insurance scale, so it’s the same situation across the board.
Cars with a premium badge on the bonnet are usually off to a good start when it comes to used values and, while the AMG GT’s stock has softened a little, it should still be worth around 50% of its original cost after three years.
It’s worth bearing in mind how much it costs in the first place, though, as there’s more outright value to lose than with cheaper cars.
The Mercedes-AMG GT follows in the footsteps of the old SLS Gullwing model. It’s a smaller car, but it retains the same front-mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout (The engine is mounted at the front of the car but pushed back as far as possible for better weight distribution).
The design shows a clear lineage back to Mercedes’ famous sporting models from the 1950s and earlier, too.
With the same long nose and squat proportions, there’s a hint of the SLS about the AMG GT’s shape, but delicate lines make the GT look far more svelte and its proportions are similar to those of the Jaguar F-Type. At the front, traditional AMG bonnet and side vents leave you in no doubt as to the car’s potential.
Customers can choose from a range of carbon, black or chrome exterior detailing packages, but even in its most basic form, the GT has the head-turning appeal to rival the world’s most desirable sports cars.
Inside, the driver-focused cabin makes a strong impression. The seats are low and a huge transmission tunnel runs between them. In a nod to the V8 engine, the centre console has eight buttons laid out in a V formation – and it comes in a choice of chrome, matt carbon, high-gloss carbon, black diamond or matt silver finishes.
The AMG GT’s build quality is first class, with plenty of leather and metal used throughout. The huge centre console is the dominant feature: it splits the cabin in half and features two banks of buttons to control an assortment of functions. A lovely flat-bottomed steering wheel, covered in Alcantara trim, finishes off the stunning cabin and if you’ve got the funds, there’s huge scope for personalised leather trim and other high-end options.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The dashboard has Mercedes’ excellent tablet-style screen, which is controlled by the latest COMAND system with a touchpad and roller dial, while clear navigation mapping and audio controls mean it’s easy to operate on the move.
The COMAND control wheel and touchpad are located where you’d expect the gearlever to be – the lever itself is positioned further back because you use it only to select forward or reverse before switching to full auto mode or using the steering wheel paddles.
As you’d expect with a car that costs as much as the AMG GT, the likes of Bluetooth, DAB radio, a pair of USB sockets and an SD card reader are all standard.
Day-to-day usability is key to rivalling coupes such as the Porsche 911, but the Mercedes-AMG GT isn’t the most practical sports car on the market.
For starters, it’s strictly a two-seater and while cars in this class are not bought for their seating capacity, rivals such as the 911 and Aston Martin DB11 at least offer small back seats suitable for children.
The Mercedes’ chunky A-pillars (the solid bits on either side of a car’s windscreen) make visibility tricky at junctions, and the high bonnet means some hills will be tough to see over. With tiny door pockets and a small glovebox, storage space is a bit tight in the cabin, too.
The AMG GT is 4,546mm long, 1,939mm wide and 1,287mm tall, which makes it longer, lower and wider than a Porsche 911. It’s also longer than the Audi R8, almost exactly as wide but a bit taller.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
A low seat means there’s plenty of headroom and the driving position is excellent, so the AMG GT can be a comfortable long-distance grand tourer. It’s the same deal for the passenger seat, so transporting two in comfort is easy enough, but that’s about the extent of the Mercedes’ abilities in terms of space.
The boot is similar in shape to the F-Type Coupe’s, and it will hold two golf bags longways. There’s a maximum of 350 litres, or 285 litres if you pull the load cover closed, but at least that keeps your belongings out of sight. The boot lid opens wide so access is easy and there’s an aluminium strut to stop luggage sliding forward under braking.
However, the shallow boot and its lumpy floor make the space a little awkward. By comparison, the F-Type Coupe has a 407-litre boot, while the 911’s combination of rear seats and a 115-litre deep nose boot gives it a slight advantage over the AMG GT.
The GT is new from the ground up, but it’s been subjected to rigorous performance testing, so we wouldn’t be too concerned about reliability. Especially as AMG’s famous ‘one man, one engine’ principle means the 4.0-litre V8s are hand-built to the strictest quality standards.
Across the car, a host of proven Mercedes components should further cement confidence in its reliability. The AMG GT didn’t appear in the models section of our 2020 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but Mercedes ranked a lowly 28th out of 30 car brands in the manufacturer survey.
Safety kit is a strong point. The GT comes as standard with Collision Prevention Assist, knee airbags for driver and passenger and tyre pressure monitoring, while optional extras include adaptive high-beam LED lights, a reversing camera, lane tracking, blind spot warning and traffic sign recognition.
The AMG GT comes with a three-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, which is comparable with the cover offered by other premium brands with high-performance models.
Porsche has the exact same three-year/unlimited package, as do BMW and Jaguar. The only exception is Audi, which falls behind the pack with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty.
Mercedes recommends a main service for the AMG GT every 12,500 miles. The firm does offer a fixed price service plan for its cars and a monthly payment plan can be arranged based on mileage and usage. On the AMG GT, it works out at £45 per month over two or three years for an annual service, if your annual mileage is less than 15,500 miles.