The Chinese giant has added another arrow to its quiver. And this one actually flies
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Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
The Top Gear car review:Mercedes-Benz AMG GT
What is it like on the road?
Regardless of spec or power output, all AMG GTs have the same basic feel out on the road. That’s because you sit right over the rear axle with acres of car reaching out ahead of you. A skilful pilot could probably land a light aircraft on the bonnet of an AMG GT. The distance between you and the front wheels can be a little intimidating at first and you can’t actually see where the front of the car stops, but you do very quickly get used to it.
What helps no end is the location of the engine. It’s mounted so far back in the chassis that it nestles beneath the dashboard as much as the bonnet; if Mercedes had put a little flap in the dash you could probably check the oil level without unbuckling your seatbelt. Technically the AMG GT is front-mid engined, so it isn’t as woefully nose-heavy as those signature proportions suggest. In fact, it can be freakishly agile.
Early GTs were characterised by steering that was so flighty and hyperactive that you had to recalibrate your mind entirely just to avoid pointing the thing into a ditch. For these revised models AMG has retuned the steering, and to brilliant effect. There’s some much needed weight now and a calmer, more predictable response, too. The very long front end does still mean you pour the car into a bend rather than really fling it in, but at least the more fluid steering helps you to do so without driving clean off the road and into an orchard, or whatever.
The GT and GT S models are much more composed and settled at the rear end now, too, whereas before they seemed to flop and roll around too much. On smooth roads, these cars are now immensely flat-bodied and brilliantly tied down. Rear-wheel steering is one of the key AMG GT technologies. It’s not available on the GT, optional on the GT S and standard on all other models. All you need to know is it makes the car feel sharper and more agile in medium and low speed bends, helping to negate the slightly disconcerting effect of that very long bonnet.
The hotter GT C and GT R models have wider rear tracks with swollen arches that add truck loads of visual muscle. Once seen, you can’t un-see how weedy the lesser models look by comparison. Those wider tracks help the GT C and GT R to be more stable and precise in really hard cornering. If you love driving, these are the models to aspire to.
With its active aero and track-biased tyres the GT R is the fastest and most aggressive of the lot. It is brilliantly entertaining to chuck around a circuit, but it doesn’t have the poise or composure of a 911 GT3 RS.
What of the Roadster models? Despite losing their roofs they don’t feel wobbly and there’s very little sense of the structure shuddering over rough patches of road. But you can really sense the extra 55kg - in the base GT Roadster you constantly feel like you’re a gear higher than you really are - and they just aren’t as sharp or agile as a result.
The twin-turbo V8 engines, meanwhile, are very impressive regardless of power output. They’re all muscular, responsive and energetic right up near the 7,000rpm redline. The aggressively popping, crackling exhaust notes may be a little contrived, but at least the soundtrack isn’t all flat, monotone turbo blare. The twin-clutch gearboxes, meanwhile, are wonderfully snappy and responsive.
Power starts at 469bhp in the entry-level GT and steadily rises to 577bhp in the fire-spitting GT R.