Mercedes AMG GT S review: updated Roadster hits the UK Reviews 2023 | Top Gear
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Saturday 23rd September
First Drive

Mercedes AMG GT S review: updated Roadster hits the UK

£126,985 when new
Published: 23 Aug 2019


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One of the lesser AMG GTs?

Indeed. You might not see many around, and you may not hear us talk about them very often, but there are Mercedes-AMG GTs that aren’t GT Rs or GTR Pros.

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First is the regular AMG GT, then comes the GT S, then the GT C and finally the GT R and GT R Pro. All use AMG’s ubiquitous 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and with the exception of the GT R Pro, are available in both Coupe and Roadster body styles.

Believe it or not, the GT has been around in some form since 2014 – yep, this really is a five-year-old car. So earlier this year the whole range was given an update.

What did said update involve?

Much tech has been added to bring the GT into line with the GT 4-door. Which, incidentally, isn’t really a GT at all – it shares a platform not with the car you see here, but the Mercedes E-Class and CLS.

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Nonetheless, the GT gets new head- and tail-lights, re-styled bumpers and new wheel, colour and trim options. Inside, the infotainment system has been upgraded to Merc’s latest, which subs a trackpad for the old click-wheel. It talks to a standard-fit digital instrument cluster with a few different display modes.

You also get more controls on the steering wheel – such as a rotary controller for switching between drive modes – and the same centre console-mounted ‘display buttons’ as the GT 4-door.

As for dynamics – there’s a new ‘Slippery’ drive mode, plus the ‘AMG Dynamics’ electronic stability programme Merc introduced with the latest C63.

Which AMG GT is this, then?

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This is the GT S Roadster – so one up from the bottom – costing £129,175 before options. That’s just over £11k more than the GT S Coupe.

Its 4.0-litre V8 – which is just as brilliant here as it is in every other AMG – makes 515bhp to the standard car’s 469bhp and GT C’s 550bhp, giving 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 191mph.

Over and above the regular GT, the S adds three-mode adaptive suspension, the switchable sports exhaust and a limited-slip diff. It does, however, miss out on the GT C’s wonderful widebody styling and rear-axle steering.

What’s it like?

All AMG GTs are quite theatrical in the way they go about their business. You sit low and as far back as possible, cocooned in a tight interior, with a vast expanse of bonnet stretched out ahead of you (though the engine is actually back behind the front-axle, so all that bonnet is really just for show).

The TG office is divided on whether this is a good thing or not – some think it adds to the drama and sense of occasion, whereas others just find it a bit unnecessary and inconvenient.

So it’s a bit intimidating?

At first, but you soon get used to its cartoonish dimensions. Early GTs were plagued by hyperactive steering, but things are calmer now. It’s still a sharp and pointy set-up, but newfound fluidity helps you drive the car more smoothly, while increased weight gives you more confidence in the GT’s front end.

It’s not an uncomfortable car, either, though it is very firm and thumps through potholes. We’d leave the suspension in its softest setting pretty much all the time. But happily, while you can feel the extra 45kg added by the chassis strengthening and roof mechanism (it’s canvas and folds in just 11 seconds at up to 30mph), there isn’t much wobbliness or chassi shudder speak of.

Do I want one?

The AMG GT S Roadster might not be as precise or practical as a Porsche 911 Cabriolet, but it is a much more dramatic thing. It makes even popping out to the shops a real occasion, with its outrageous silhouette and burbly exhaust.

We might be tempted to save up for the GT C, however – rear-steer makes it feel more agile, and you absolutely want the wider bodywork. Go big or go home, or so they say.

Score: 7/10

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