As a bastion for excess, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG was perfect. There was too much of everything. It was unnecessarily lengthy, had doors like an outstretched albatross and boasted booming vocals. There was heaps of performance too, although the heavy flagship car felt a bit blunt and cumbersome when real dynamic showcase was demanded.
For its latest halo car, the folks at Mercedes-AMG sought to create something with more focus and poise. The new GT landed on South African shores this week and its makers were clear about their mandate to be seen as a real competitor to the evergreen Porsche 911. Our full launch drive report runs in your print edition of IgnitionLive this Thursday. In the meantime, let’s take a brief look at some of the technical highlights of the newcomer.
It employs the same engine as the recently launched C 63 and it is available in two states of tune. The standard offering has an output of 340kW and 600Nm while the S produces 375kW and 650Nm. The latter also brings an electronically controlled rear-axle locking differential to the party, promising more poise than the mechanical system in the regular GT. In the S model you will be able to rocket from standstill to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds while the standard model does it in four. A dual-clutch transmission shifts all this power.
Balance was at the top of the priority list and the GT has a 47/53 weight distribution. It tips the scales at 1540 kilograms – the shell itself weighs 231 kilograms – and the stuff around it is composed of light alloys, including aluminium and magnesium. There are various driving modes, including the obligatory Race setting for track stints, which we had the chance to engage at Zwartkops Raceway.
The practical merits are there too, which is important given the 911’s status as the everyday high-performance sports car. Boot space is ample, which a luggage capacity of 350 litres. Mercedes says this is enough for two golf bags, whether stowed lengthways or crossways. And the usual assortment of contemporary creature comforts are all present.
Pricing starts off at R1 642 000 and the GT S costs R1 981 000 and as with the rest of the Mercedes-Benz passenger car range, you get a six-year/100 000-kilometre maintenance plan as standard.
Buy your copy of The Times or Sowetan newspapers this Thursday for our driving impressions of the AMG-GT, in the IgnitionLive supplement. Watch IGNITION GT in the first week of August for our report.