Monster 7m 29s time for 650bhp ZL1 beats lots of insanely fast things
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The Top Gear car review:Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
For:Bespoke, beautiful Benz-AMG supercar that takes the fight to Porsche
Against:There’s likely to be quite a waiting list
GT S 2dr Auto
It’s our first shot in Merc’s 503bhp, V8 sports car on home roads. Brit correspondent Ollie Marriage reports
Liked the look of the V8 bruiser on Sunday’s show? Here’s our in-depth review of the SLS replacement
What we say:
This is Mercedes going straight after Porsche. The GT is a thoroughly impressive supercar
What is it?
AMG’s own sports car, in no way just a go-faster version of a regular Benz. The body, suspension and cabin are all bespoke. Unlike the more expensive and lower-selling SLS, the GT is aimed right at the heart of the serious sports car market. Which means it has no business adopting the SLS’s oddball and spiky character. Everything has to be right: look at its rivals, particularly the ever-present Porsche 911. The GT’s aluminium body carries a twin turbo V8 upfront, and a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission out back, for excellent weight balance.
There are two versions on sale, a ‘base’ (we’re talking relatives here) GT and the GT S that Merc expects most to go for. The S is mighty fast, 193 mph and 0-62mph in under four seconds fast. The engine is a bellicose-sounding 4.0-litre V8 that packs the mid-rev thrust of turbos while impersonating the quick reflexes of a big N/A jobbie. It’s a real thriller.
The steering’s reassuring in its progression, but turns the car with quick wits. The handling’s always grippy and level, thanks to correct fundamentals of weight distribution and suspension design. Excellent ESP calibration and an e-diff, plus active engine and transmission mounts (a £1,795 option), keep things tidy to and beyond the limit. It might just be 2WD but the rear wheels’ traction is iron-willed.
You need plenty road space though: it’s a wide machine. What’s more, the S version has near-endless permutations of powertrain and chassis setups, but none of them lets you escape what is a pretty firm ride for touring duty; it’s optimised for autobahns rather than A-roads.
On the inside
The driving position is low, and you’re flanked by a high, sweeping transmission tunnel, peering out through a shallow screen. So it’s obviously a sports car. But it’s equally obviously a Mercedes: materials quality and ergonomics are first rate, and there’s a beautifully realised navigations and communications suite, plus a very comprehensive set of electronic safety gear.
All of which ought to make it the great GT car its name aspires to. But with a knobbly ride, loud tyres and slightly harsh gearchange at low loads, it’s not as suave as the Jaguar F-Type or 911. It’s also a strict two-seater, although there is a hatchback boot.
The S model is priced pretty steeply compared with the Jag or the Porsche, but you’d probably want to add the 4WD option on the Jag – it’s otherwise an intimidating car. Still, the resale predictor crystal-ball gazers say the AMG will have a strong used price too, so what goes in eventually comes out. Besides, getting early dibs on a car that’s certain to shake up the established order is always fun; it’s such a striking-looking machine, you’ll feel like a superstar behind the wheel. The base GT is 12 percent cheaper but loses about 10 percent of the power and torque. It also does without adaptive damping and the e-diff, and comes with smaller wheels and brakes. Most buyers are expected to bypass it for the S.