The Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
The Mercedes-Benz marque is most associated with the term “luxury cars” and for good reason. Mercedes has built its reputation in that segment for the past one hundred plus years with everything from the original 770 series, to the current S class and Maybach variants. What they’re less known for-but still exceptional at building, is their sports cars, and over the years they’ve had some of the best. From the 1955 300 SL Gullwing, to the outrageous SLR McLaren of the early 2000’s, and more recently, the slightly less outrageous SLS. The current pinnacle of their sports car category is the AMG-GT, and while less expensive than the SLS it (sort of) replaces, it’s by no means less of a sports car. Don’t let the subtle look and sub-stratospheric price tag fool you. This is a supercar, but with a healthy dose of the luxury and drivability you’ve come to expect from Mercedes Benz. And if you think Mercedes has no business building performance cars in this day and age, look no further than their absolute dominance happening in Formula One with cars piloted by Louis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas-both with Mercedes engines, consistently taking the top two spots in nearly every race.
Although many supercars have mid-engine designs, the AMG-GT is considered to have a “Front mid-engine rear wheel drive” layout. Let’s unpack that. It’s definitely a front engine, as it’s being under the hood, in front of the driver/passenger cabin. But it’s more accurately “front mid-engine” as the big eight is situated well behind the front wheels. Better for front/back weight distribution which aids in handling and allows it to be placed lower in the subframe for a lower center of gravity.
One of the major advantages of the GT is that you really get the sense that you’re in a true Grand Touring car, with fewer compromises than your usual supercar. And fewer stares and questions too. It’s obviously something special, but mostly noticed by the discerning enthusiast. Our time in the GT included a drive through Newport, and while it did catch the stares (and cameras) of a few discerning tourists, it was nothing compared to doing the same drive in a Gallardo or a California T.
While 2017 included both coupe and convertible, the example we’re looking at today is the coupe version. It weighs nearly 100 pounds less than the roadster and doesn’t require the additional bracing and beefed up doorsills that the roofless version requires. Plus, the endearing teardrop shape of the coupe’s cabin is absent in the convertible, and of course, the coupe also has more cargo room.
The heart of a supercar is the powerplant, and the GT doesn’t disappoint. All models of the GT have a hand-built 4-liter V8 with twin turbos, but unlike most turbocharged cars, these boosters are mounted between the engine’s banks. This allows for some interesting packaging choices for the associated hardware and helps give the big Benz a lower center of gravity. The GT has plenty of go, with 456 horsepower that propels it to 60 in 3.9 drama-free seconds. Yes, this car has serious speed to go along with its luxury.
Forged aluminum is abundant in the 4-wheel double wishbone suspension, and the added hub-mounted coil-overs at the rear increase steering precision. Wherever you point the long nose, it tracks perfectly and predictably. This car could actually be a daily driver. But with all that lateral grip, you’d be forgiven if you decided to track it.
The body of the GT is long and low as a GT car should be. The hood stretches on forever. Then body is almost all aluminum (93%), with a small dose of magnesium (7%) making up the front module. It was designed by Mark Fetherston who also was the lead designer for the AMG SLS. There were some minor visual updates added for the 2017 year that’s made it a bit more handsome overall.
The sound of the GT’s exhaust is pure power. This car could easily be reclassified as a muscle car, with its specially tuned exhaust that can intimidate anyone within earshot. It shrieks under power and gives off a sonorous sound that auto aficionados can appreciate, and unappreciative neighbors can wince at.
The cabin of the GT is surprisingly inviting. While most supercars have a healthy dose of compromise thrown in with their performance specs, the GT requires little. The cockpit is an inviting combination of leather, carbon fiber, and suede. There’s even an 8.4-inch infotainment system, and in this particular version, it controls the excellent Bermester sound system.
It also has plenty of driver-assistance features including automated emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlamps, and a plethora of parking sensors. Driver lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control are all optional, and were ticked on the order sheet (along with many other options) for this one.
An Exceptional Example
This particular GT is finished in Designio Cardinal Red Metallic with the Saddle Brown Nappa Leather interior with AMG Silver/Chrome trim, and has just under 3100 miles. It’s loaded with nearly $17,000 worth of options like the AMG Performance Steering Wheel and Black Dinimica Headliner, AMG Illuminated Door Sills, Distronic Plus, Panoramic Roof, AMG Adaptive Suspension, 19/20 inch AMG Split 5 spoke wheels in Silver/Titanium, The fantastic Burmester Surround Sound System, Keyless Go with Power Trunk Release and the Lane Tracking Package that includes Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist.
Configured with those options, the GT has an original sticker price of $129,980 and the current NADA valuation is $99,832.
This one owner, low-mileage example is available at Priority Premium (a division of the Priority Auto Group), on West Main Road in Middletown, and is being sold for $85,900.