Review: Mercedes-Benz AMG GT (2015)
Supercar looks with huge power and gorgeous sound. Incredibly rewarding when driven hard. Rarer than rivals.
Cabin quality could be better. Jarring ride quality. Lacks steering feel and lacks the sparkle of the Audi R8.
Recently Added To This Review
The new Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster is now available to order, with prices starting from £178,675. The GT R Roadster uses a handbuilt biturbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, which has an output of 585PS and... Read more
Limited to 750 worldwide, the AMG GT R Roadster shares a 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine with the rest of the range. It produces 585PS and hits 62mph in 3.6 seconds. Top speed is 197mph. Prices to be announced.... Read more
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Mercedes-Benz AMG GT (2015): At A Glance
You can’t really talk about the Mercedes-AMG GT without mentioning its lineage. While technically a standalone model with no direct predecessor, it is inexorably linked to the 2010 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and, before that, the 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
Both those forerunners were two-seat super-sports cars with bona fide supercar pretentions, to a greater or lesser extent. So while the AMG GT arguably does the same thing, it does so at a much lower price point than both. In fact, because the AMG GT is priced from the £100,000 mark, it operates in a fairly unusual space alongside top end versions of the Jaguar F-Type and Porsche 911.
It does so while feeling more rare than both and, arguably, that bit more special. That’s down largely to its dramatic looks. Sadly, it doesn’t have the ‘gullwing’ doors of the SLC, but the design nonetheless combines some classic supercar tropes. Very low, wide, cartoonishly long bonnet and the cabin placed at the extreme rear. It’s all slightly phallic, to be honest.
Sadly the drama doesn’t quite continue in the cabin. The AMG GT has one of those interiors that photographs well but is altogether less exotic when felt and experienced.
But that matters less once you’ve fired the engine up. Whether you’re in the standard 476PS version, the 522PS GT S or the 585PS GT R, the engine is at the heart of the AMG GT experience.
A hand-built 4.0-litre V8 with two turbochargers, it reaches a ‘mere’ ,000rpm but does so in utterly unrelenting fashion, getting to 62mph in four seconds and onto 189mph for when you're on der Autobahn.
This is what makes the AMG GT special, combined with the looks. And if that’s enough for you - and you don’t want to be another member of the ubiquitous Porsche 911 gang - the AMG GT will not disappoint. Particularly if you’re en exhibitionist – few cars attract as much roadside attention.
However, the AMG can fall short in the driving enjoyment department for a couple of key reasons, while we’ve also failed to mention the main reason you might want to overlook this car: the Audi R8.
Add a few options to your AMG GT (or go for the R model) and you have a car squarely in the Audi’s territory. And, frankly, Audi’s super-coupe is better in almost every way. There’s also the arguably more exotic (albeit more expensive) Honda NSX to consider, the more futuristic and no less dramatic BMW i8, the much quicker Nissan GT-R, and a low end McLaren or two – ‘low’ being relative, of course. All things considered, while the AMG GT is an excellent car, there are just too many reasons to overlook it.
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Mercedes-Benz AMG GT (2015): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 173–350 litres
Set against both the soundtrack and the exaggerated proportions of the exterior, the interior is certainly the biggest disappointment of the AMG GT. The R version improves things to an extent, flush with gloss black trim and the most bucket-like of seats, but in ‘standard’ form it isn’t as fantastical as it looks in pictures.
A centre console that looks framed by polished metal with knurled aluminium dials transpires to be hollow plastic and pretty flimsy. And although there are some nice touches – like the Mercedes-AMG logo embossed into the leather of the armrest, overall it feels less ‘Mercedes-Benz supercar’ and more ‘fancy two-seat A-class’.
The thick-rimmed Alcantara-covered wheel is lovely to hold and the standard chairs blend comfort and support pretty much perfectly. But the switchgear simply doesn’t have the tactility that you’d expect from a car at this price – the dials are lightweight and the buttons plasticky – and at a time when Audi is offering Virtual Cockpit, the AMG GT’s infotainment screen feels small and antiquated.
The basic ergonomics are fantastic though. It might have dimensions and proportions lifted straight from the Ladybird Book of Supercar Design, but there’s plenty of space for even the tallest couple. There’s very little by way of cabin oddment storage, but that’s probably not a question you’re inclined to ask.
That said, by way of its front-engined layout it has a distinct practicality advantage over both the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 (and BMW i8 for that matter), whose engines sit where the GT has a handy hatchback. The lift-back opening is huge and the boot floor relatively high and flat, meaning this is actually a surprisingly useful car to do the weekly shop with – although the 350-litre quoted capacity, 34 litres greater than a Ford Focus’s, seems wildly optimistic.
Visibility isn’t too bad either, although trying to judge the end of the bonnet during parking is like trying to sign your name with a biro stuck to the end of a baseball bat, but you can at least see rearward. It certainly doesn’t feel cramped or light deficient in the cabin.
Equipment is as generous as you’d expect, with soft nappa leather upholstery, LED headlamps, huge brakes (though you can spend £6000 on carbon ceramic brakes) and Mercedes-Benz’s usual raft of safety stuff – automatic braking and such like. However, as per the rest of the cabin, the small-screened COMAND setup is a little underwhelming in the context of the all-singing-all-dancing twin screen setup found in the E-Class and S-Class models.
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What's the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT (2015) like to drive?
- Engines range from AMG GT to 6.3 V8
Thumping pace with a soundtrack to match are the highlights of the day-to-day GT driving experience – even more so if you press the loud button for the exhaust and shift the car into Dynamic mode. This makes the tailpipes cackle whenever the seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox performs a downshift.
However, first impressions of the steering rack are of over-lightness to the point of feeling oddly detached. It improves when the car is in Dynamic mode because the extra weighting gives a better impression of the tyres moving across the road but, ultimately, it’s not a patch on the beautifully natural sensation of changing direction in a Porsche 911 or Audi R8.
What’s surprising is that this left-right lightness is at odds with the suspension setup, which ranges from slightly jarring to infuriatingly so, again depending on which mode you engage between Comfort and Dynamic (or Race, which is designed specifically for the track).
These qualities are further exaggerated if you specify the AMG Dynamic Plus package, which among other things makes the standard suspension setting firmer.
But – and it’s a big one – anything underwhelming about the way the AMG GT covers ground in ‘normal’ circumstances melts away when the opportunity to really drive the car comes your way. It’s as though Mercedes-AMG did all the development of this car on its favourite back road and at maximum effort. And to hell with the rest.
It’s an important point to make, because if yours will be an ownership experience that will rarely see the car driven with any enthusiasm, this probably won’t be for you – it’s not especially comfortable, nor very good at engaging the senses at low speeds in the way most of its rivals are. But it is fantastically multifaceted, which becomes clearer the harder it’s driven.
On a bendy road, at high revs, the combination of the soundtrack, the rear-wheel drive handling balance, your backside’s closeness to the road and the all-of-a-sudden communicative steering makes the AMG GT feel as outlandish and special as it looks.
It is, of course, furnished with all manner of electronic gadgetry to stop you from flailing sideways at every turn, but actually, this is a coupe that feels assuredly planted even with those things switched off.
In other words, drive it hard and it sings, literally and figuratively. And so the question becomes ‘how often will you use it like that?’
It’s also worth noting that, driven as such, the AMG GT will return nowhere near its claimed 30.4mpg (even less in the more powerful versions) but then, as hackneyed as it is to say this, if this is in your price range you’re unlikely to be overly concerned about that.
|6.3 V8||21 mpg||3.7–3.8 s||308 g/km|
|AMG 63 R Pro||-||-||284 g/km|
|AMG GT||25–30 mpg||4.0 s||216 g/km|
|AMG GT C||23–25 mpg||3.7 s||259 g/km|
|AMG GT C Roadster||23–25 mpg||3.7 s||259 g/km|
|AMG GT R||23–25 mpg||3.6 s||259 g/km|
|AMG GT R Roadster||-||-||284 g/km|
|AMG GT Roadster||25–30 mpg||4.0 s||219 g/km|
|AMG GT S||25–30 mpg||3.8 s||219 g/km|
|AMG GT S Roadster||25 mpg||3.8 s||262 g/km|
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