Mercedes-AMG GT review – a supercar with an identity all of its own
The engine dominates what is a captivating and distinctive performance car awash with character.
The Mercedes-AMG GT has been through quite a transformation since its debut in 2016. Initially revealed as an R8-rivalling junior supercar with more than a bit of the previous SLS’s charisma, it’s since made headlines by breaking Nurburgring lap times and placing runner-up at our 2019 Car of the Year test respectively in its hardcore Black Series and GT R Pro forms.
But below these headline-grabbing flagships, the lesser GT has continued down its own path of subtle tweaks and updates to keep in touch with its junior supercar rivals. As of 2021 the range has been consolidated to an entry-level GT in Coupe and Roadster forms, a GT C Roadster, the GT R Coupe and the range-topping Black Series Coupe.
Base prices have gone up across the board, but to compensate the ‘base’ GT has seen a power and equipment boost. While the GT may lack the range or powertrain variety of some rivals, its front-mid engined layout and hot-rod proportions keep it as a distinctive and desirable addition to the sub-supercar class.
Mercedes-AMG GT: in detail
- Engine, gearbox and technical highlights > The dry-sumped version of AMG’s superb V8 dominates the whole experience; the dual-clutch gearbox keeps improving too
- Performance and 0-60 time > All GTs are rear-wheel drive only, so dry, warm tarmac will be needed to match the impressive on-paper stats
- Ride and handling > Adjustable, interactive and satisfying, if not quite as delicate as some rivals
- MPG and running costs > AMG’s engine has proven to be solid over the years, but running costs will be higher than a comparable 911
- Interior and tech > Can feel cramped, and tech is a generation or two behind newer Merc models, but is full of drama
- Design > The GT’s design has become fussier with age, but the cab-rear shape and long bonnet still make it a distinctive change to the supercar norm
Prices, specs and rivals
The simplified AMG GT range kicks off in the UK at around £105,000, or around £10k more than its initial launch price. Over time the basic car has picked up a more potent version of its V8 powertrain essentially replacing the previous GT S, and that goes some way to explain this price rise. Standard equipment has been given a bump, but it’s the staggered 19/20-inch wheel set, uprated brakes and electronically controlled limited slip differential that are the important upgrades.
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An optional ‘Night Edition’ package is also a new addition for 2021, which for under £10,000 adds a selection of blacked-out visuals, adaptive dampers and a carbonfibre roof. The GT Roadster is priced from around £12,000 more than the hard-top.
Above the standard models, the GT range splits into the Coupe-only GT R and Convertible-only GT C. Each of these models were previously available in both body styles, but for 2021 have been consolidated to each offer just the single option. On top of its small power bump to 557bhp, the £151,000 GT C Roadster features rear-wheel steering, a different wheel design, higher-spec leather trim inside the cabin and the option of carbon ceramic brakes.
At over £155,000, the GT R takes things further, which aside from its many technical upgrades around the powertrain and chassis, also brings bucket seats, a load of Alcantara and AMG’s nine-stage traction control system accessible via the dash-mounted twist knob. As with the GT C, 402mm carbon ceramic brakes are an option.
A six-figure Porsche 911 is not a hard thing to specify in the latest 992-generation, making it an extremely capable, if not quite as dramatic, rival to the big AMG. Audi’s R8 is priced from £114,000 for the base R8 RWD, aligning it to the GT Night Edition model, while the full-fat 612bhp R8 Performance gets closer to the GT R at £141,000.
Aston Martin’s £120,000 Vantage is another alternative, and while it may share the GT’s V8 (albeit not in dry-sumped form) it’s a markedly different experience, feeling like more of a British thug compared to the AMG’s hot-rod demeanor.