Is the AMG GT 4-door too complex for its own good?
At some point we started to harp on about a car’s ‘duality’. But it’s a redundant description in 2020, and the GT four-door is a case in point: we’re talking quintality here, at least.
This is Mercedes-AMG raiding the Affalterbach tech cupboard until it’s bare, so we’re talking air suspension, adaptive damping, an active rear axle, and electronically controlled rear-axle diff lock. It has a 4.0 ‘hot vee’ V8 biturbo, which delivers 630bhp and 627lb ft from 2500 to 4500rpm. Just to recap, steering, suspension, engine and transmission parameters are all governed by the Dynamic Select drive system, which spans six set-ups from Slippery through to Race, which you can access using the button on the lower part of the steering wheel. On top of that, there’s a further Dynamics Plus palette, encompassing Basic, Advanced, Pro, and Master. There’s also a Drift mode, if you can find the space and simply insist on bonfiring all your money.
Now here’s my contention: this car is over-evolved. It simply has too many layers. The furthest into this algorithm-laden wonderland I’ve gone is twiddling the GT four-door into Sport mode and pushing the exhaust button, as the noise somehow amplifies the performance. But the car is also big and heavy, and although track experience in it confirms that the GT four-door feels something like 500kg lighter than it is, where in the UK in the bleak mid-winter are you going to feel comfortable probing its outer limits?
It’s the same story inside. Mercedes’ decision to ditch the rotary controller in favour of a touch-sensitive track-pad is ergonomic lunacy. A few of us discussed this recently and Professor Horrell, whose views on such matters I pay particular attention to, reckons it’s a play for the next generation, particularly in the A-Class. Having watched my kids on their phones, maybe generation Z has the sort of thumbs that can cope. Mine sure as hell can’t. I believe in what I can see and feel.