Mercedes-AMG GT S: Two-Minute Road Test

What is it?

The AMG GT is a sports car of the old school, with a throbbing V8 engine up-front and rear-wheel drive. Priced from a whisker under £100,000, it sits above the SL roadster in Mercedes’ model range – and effectively replaces the gullwing-doored SLS AMG (2010-2014).

What are its rivals?

There’s no shortage of six-figure sports cars competing for your cash. The evergreen Porsche 911 is perhaps the GT’s most obvious rival – and it’s a formidable foe. The Audi R8 offers an even more focused alternative, while the BMW M6 errs towards being a luxury GT (albeit a ferociously fast one). Jaguar’s muscle-bound F-Type V8 R Coupe, however, is perhaps closest to the Mercedes in terms of character.

Which engines does it use?

Which engines does it use?

Under the GT’s long, curvaceous bonnet lurks a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that produces 462hp in the standard car and 510hp in the S tested here. It’s mated to a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox with ‘flappy paddle’ shifters behind the steering wheel. Performance? Yes, there’s plenty of that. The S hits 62mph in 3.8 seconds and doesn’t run out of puff until 193mph.

Fuel economy and running costs

Let’s just skip over this section, shall we? OK, you want figures? Well, the GT isn’t quite as filthy as you might expect. Average fuel economy is 30.1mpg, and CO2 emissions of 219g/km mean it escapes the top tax-bracket for VED. Needless to say, though, if you flex your right foot too much (as you surely will) economy can dip perilously close to single figures…

What’s it like to drive?

Fuel economy and running costs

Your first impression is of thunderous, all-enveloping V8 noise. Once you get past that, though, the AMG GT is surprisingly civilised and easy to drive; its steering is light and ride comfort is better than a 911. But don’t be fooled. Select one of the sportier driving modes and the mega-Merc sharpens up its act, changing direction with an agility that belies its considerable size. You’ll do well to use a fraction of its potential on the road, but every journey is an occasion.

Is it practical?

Is it practical?

Again, this is hardly the car’s strong point. It doesn’t offer rear seats like a 911 or M6, but there’s enough luggage room for two people on a week in St Tropez (that’s where supercar owners holiday, right?). Indeed, squeeze your bags either side of the carbon fibre strut brace and there’s 350 litres of the space. For comparison, a Ford Fiesta musters just 290 litres…

What about safety?

Mercedes-Benz is a leader in safety technology and, as you’d expect, the AMG GT comes loaded with the lot – including automatic emergency braking, Attention Assist (to monitor driver tiredness) and Adaptive Brake Assist (primes the brakes if an emergency stop looks likely). Our test car was fitted with optional ceramic composite brakes, which scrub-off speed at a reassuring rate. They certainly aren’t cheap, though – at £6,000.

Which version should I go for?

Which version should I go for?

At the time of writing, the AMG GT costs £97,200 and the S is £110,500. There’s no rational reason to spend £13,000 more for an extra 48hp (the standard GT is hardly slow), but then this isn’t a rational sort of car. The monster-Merc celebrates excess, so go for the GT S and worry about the loan repayments later.

Should I buy one?

We would. Little else this side of a Lamborghini comes close to the AMG GT for aural and visual drama. It isn’t a car for shrinking violets, but it feels special – and it makes you feel special, too. We preferred the similarly-priced Porsche 911 GTS on-track, but the easygoing AMG is better on the road.

Pub fact

Pub fact

It’s not often we describe a car costing north of £100,000 as ‘good value’. But the AMG GT S costs £60,000 less than the old SLS AMG, yet offers similar power and performance. Yes, you forgo the gullwing doors, but you can buy yourself a BMW M3 with the change.