Mercedes AMG GT review – 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
The GT’s M178 engine is the dry-sumped brother of the M177 engine found across AMG’s range. That means it has a displacement of 3982cc and two turbochargers residing in the 90 degree V. In standard GT form it produces 523bhp between 5500rpm and 6750rpm, around 50bhp more than it did at launch. Like all AMG V8s, torque is also strong, peaking at 494lb ft on a plateau between 2100rpm and 5500rpm. GT R models up the game with 577bhp at 6500rpm and 516lb ft, figures that put it ahead of key rivals like the Porsche 911 GT3, but short of the brawniest Audi R8 Performance.
On both road and track, performance of the Mercedes-AMG GT never feels anything less than ballistic. Despite being turbocharged, throttle response is fantastic, punching you out of every corner and actually matching the alacrity of the handling. The V8 then hauls with an unrelenting ferocity down the straights, reeling in the horizon in an almost surreal fashion. With the exhaust button pressed, all this is of course overlaid with a soundtrack that gargles blood and thunder like some sort of tetchy Norse god.
Where fast Mercedes models of the past have often fallen a little short is in the gearshift. However, AMG has got it sorted with the GT. The seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box cracks through upshifts as smartly as you like, but more importantly it will also down-shift when you ask it to. It still can’t quite match a Ferrari ‘box for overall downshift speed and theatre but the mere fact we’re making the comparison means it is a huge step on.
The GT Black Series goes on its own path, holding onto the same underlying engine architecture, but swapping out the traditional cross-plane crank for a supercar-style flat plane crank. This makes the V8 inherently better balanced, allowing engineers to pack a whole lot more performance into it without the engine shaking itself to pieces. The compromise comes in its aural quality, which sounds far more like a four-cylinder than its exotic ingredients would suggest. Still, the Black Series’ figures are well beyond any GT so far, with 720bhp at 6700rpm, with torque also up to 590lb ft.