Let’s be clear, right off the top: there is nothing wrong with the new, second-generation of the Mercedes-AMG GT coupe, unless you count being very expensive as a detriment. The official price is not yet released or even decided, and won’t be announced until closer to its arrival in Canadian showrooms next spring or early summer. It will certainly be more costly than the current generation, which was discontinued a year ago and listed at about $180,000 and $200,000 for its two “mainstream” production versions.
The car has no faults that I could determine. None – and I tried hard to find them. Perhaps that is its greatest fault. It’s a Teutonic tour-de-force: fast, furious and utterly devoid of emotion. A passionate purchase like a sports car should be deserving of a name, like Eleanor or Enzo or whatever turns your fancy, but the GT? Maybe I’d call it Arnold, but I’d probably just call it “the GT.”
GT stands for Grand Touring, and this AMG does the term justice in every sense of the words. It’s a larger vehicle with a massive engine underneath its long composite aluminum hood, designed to eat distance with elegance whether the roads are curved or straight. There is nothing electrified about its four-litre twin-turbo V8, and so this will be one of the last of its kind. It replaces the first generation (with which it shares absolutely no body panel parts) and compliments the four-door AMG GT that is powered by a similar engine.
The new GT is equipped with all-wheel-drive as standard, though it’s primarily a rear-wheel focused car: in the right setting of one of its six configurable drive modes, it can even be driven only by the rear wheels, for a more “dynamic” experience. The GT will drift if you want it to – you can slide its hefty back end on dry-asphalt corners, or spin donuts in the snow.
“When I drive to work in the morning, I usually drive in Sport-Plus [drive mode]. I just like this emotional driving behaviour,” says Michael Schiebe, chairman of the management board of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. But, he adds, “when I go to work, I usually don’t drift.” The Sport-Plus mode offers a louder exhaust and allows the tires to spin to a greater degree, among other altered parameters. (In fact, he says, this will slow lap times on a track from the more precise Sport setting, or the more extreme Race setting.)
Even in Sport Plus, however, where I spent the majority of my time while driving the glorious twisting roads of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, the GT seems deliberate and composed. Its predecessor was loud and not very comfortable; it could be twitchy on the curves, not helped by poor sightlines through the shallow windows. You needed a certain bravery to push it. The new car, however – well, it’s got a handle on whatever situation you throw at it. There’s a bit of wind and road noise, but it’s smarter than you, and it lets you know it.
“When you compare it to its predecessor, that car had more faults,” says Schiebe. “It was a little bit more extreme, but we consciously took a decision to make [the new car] a little bit more mature.”
By that, he means the new GT is intended to be a more driveable, everyday car, and in this, it succeeds admirably. That’s why, if I was wealthy enough to indulge myself in such things, I would drive The GT to work every morning, and on Sundays, I’d choose Eleanor, or Enzo, or whatever else takes my fancy.
2024 Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe
- Base price/As tested: n/a ($200,000+ expected)
- Engine: Four-litre twin-turbo V8; GT 55: 469 horsepower, 516 lb-ft; GT 63: 577 horsepower, 590 lb-ft
- Transmission/Drive: Nine-speed automatic / All-wheel drive
- Fuel consumption (litres per 100 kilometres): n/a (15.9 observed)
- Alternatives: Jaguar F75, Aston Martin Vantage, Porsche 911 GT3
Broad, squat and full of muscle, the GT has no creases or sharp edges aside from a discreet swipe along the bottom of the doors that suggests speed, and a couple of ripples along the hood that suggest power. The large grille is shallow enough to not overwhelm the front, while the rear spoiler tucks flush against the trunk when it’s not deployed in any of its four raised positions. This car drew looks everywhere I drove, and there were more thumbs-up than eat-the-rich stares.
The cabin is gorgeous and driver-oriented, but I can’t say how the many trim upgrades of the test car compare to whatever comes as standard. As mentioned, there’s no pricing yet. Suffice to say, if you like what you see in the photos, such as the sport seats or coloured seat belts, that’ll probably be at least an extra $20,000 or so in options.
New for this generation is the option for 2+2 seating, as opposed to the standard parcel shelf of the test car. I’ve never understood the 2+2 concept, and Mercedes advises that it’s only suitable for back-seat passengers no taller than five feet (152 centimetres). Even then, you’ll have to slide the front seats way forward to make space for their legs; your kids will probably only manage the school run a couple of times before they start insisting on your SUV instead.
I only drove the GT 63, which has the more powerful 577-horsepower engine and snaps your neck from zero-to-100 kilometres an hour in 3.2 seconds. This is similar to the mid-grade four-door GT, though its 590 lb-ft of torque are a step up from the previous GT. The various drive modes let you choose your favourite responses from the steering and suspension and throttle and even the sound. The rear-axle steering helps the big car feel smaller and tighter than it really is, while the paddle-shifters flick through the nine gears like a video game. I only used them for down-shifting – if you leave them alone, the car will always seem to know the best gear to be in.
There’s also a GT 55 that makes 469 horsepower and accelerates in 3.9 seconds, and it does this purely through lowered boost pressure and different management of the forced air, as well as modified engine software; there are no differences in the actual hardware. It will be less expensive, though it still won’t be cheap. But why should there be a price difference at all? “There are different internal resources that we need to invest, and different testing strategies,” for building the different engines, explains Scheibe. “There are reasonable costs behind it to have this differentiation.”
Mercedes makes no secret that other, higher-performance engines will become available as the GT settles into production. The next iteration will probably provide the 630 horsepower of the GT S four-door, and there’ll be others still, all with an engine built and signed-off-upon by a single engineer at the Bremen manufacturing plant. After all, the last generation topped out with the 720-horsepower, $379,900 GT Black Series coupe.
All the driver’s safety assistance you can imagine is available, to help prevent scratches and dents in parking lots and collisions out on the road. If you have any sense of dignity, however, you’ll turn off the lane guidance assistance and drive the GT for yourself. This is a driver’s performance car, not a taxi cab.
The parcel shelf behind the front seats helps provide room for small bags, and if you fold the rear seats down on the optional 2+2 package, there’s as much as 675 litres of cargo space back there.
The second generation of the GT is an improvement over the older version in that it’s more comfortable, more capable and more driveable. Your grandmother could drive this car well, and would probably be happy to do so. Does that make it better? That’s up to you.
The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.