Mercedes reveals the next generation of its flagship sports car, the AMG GT, based on the SL platform. The new car will be four-wheel drive only and offer rear seats for the first time.
At first glance, the second-generation Mercedes-AMG GT may feel like a game of spot the difference. Externally, all the design cues point towards a subtle evolution of the original car, which was based on a shortened AMG SLS platform. Looks, however, as we all know can be deceiving, because the familiar styling cues are draped across the platform of the (also AMG-developed) SL roadster.
Where the outgoing car was exclusively rear-wheel drive and a strict two-seater, the SL base means all GTs will now be all-wheel drive and available 2+2 seating. Whilst these changes will certainly broaden the GT’s mass market appeal - aligning the car closer to the Porsche 911 in usability terms - it won’t come without its sacrifices.
Gone is the predecessor's unique rear transaxle seven-speed DCT in favour of a conventionally mounted, nine-speed multi-clutch automatic. It is also likely the dry sump oiling system that allowed the original AMG GT's engine to be mounted relatively low in the chassis has been axed too. The SL platform also means the new car is larger in every dimension than its predecessor, and despite aluminium construction, no doubt much heavier.
Thankfully, the 4.0-litre twin-turbo AMG V8 remains in situ, meaning the GT will have the muscle to overcome any weight penalty. In the ‘base’ model GT 55, you get 476 bhp and 516 lb-ft of torque while in the GT 63, you’ll be in command of 585 bhp and 590 lb-ft of torque. This is a match for the old AMG GT R.
Mercedes says the GT 63 dispatches 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds and is capable of a 196 mph top speed, while the GT 55 hits the 60 benchmark in 3.9 seconds and maxes out at 183 mph. The all-wheel-drive system can send as much as 50 per cent of torque to the front axle, or all 100 per cent of torque to the rear tyres. Huge, 390 mm (front) & 360 mm (rear) steel brake discs also feature, clamped by 6 piston aluminium callipers at the front.
As you’d expect, there is also significant carry-over from the flagship roadster in other areas. The GT comes with the same hydraulic anti-roll control system as the SL and uses the same all-aluminium double wishbone suspension all around. It is similar to technology first pioneered by McLaren by connecting the compression circuit of the damper on one side of the car hydraulically to the rebound side of the damper across the axle, and vice versa.
This allows for fully variable adjustment of roll-stiffness, making the car both more comfortable in everyday driving yet reduces body roll during fast road driving or on track. There is anti-squat and anti-dive control, and also standard is rear-wheel steering and an electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential.
The GT uses 20-inch wheels all around with a nearly square stance for its tires—295/35R20 up front, 305/35R20 in the back, which are clad in the new Michelin Pilot Sport S 5 tyre. That's a fair bit wider than what's used on the SL and should bode well for the cars’ sporting intent.
Inside, the GT is much closer aligned to the SL - in fact, it is identical to the roadster. The infotainment system is also adopted from the SL, incorporating Apple CarPlay, MBUX connectivity and the AMG Track Trace data logger as standard. You can expect the usual suite of selectable AMG driving modes too, while the rear seats can fold away to make a practical parcel shelf with the GT remaining a hatchback.
There is no confirmation of UK pricing yet, however, it is fair to expect the new AMG GT to align itself closely to the SL, which has a list price of £147,415 for the SL 55, and £171,695 for the SL 63.