Mercedes-AMG's GT four-door coupé is for families who want sports-car fun, too
The auto maker is stretching the definition of a coupé even further with this model unveiled in Geneva
The new Mercedes-AMG GT four-door coupé revealed at the 88th Geneva International Auto Show is further proof that categories can be bent to meet market demands.
For decades, there was consensus in the industry that a coupé had distinct qualities: a fixed roof, two doors and a sloping rear. Mercedes stretched the definition with the creation of a "four-door coupé" a couple of years ago. It is pushing further with the addition of a hatch on the GT.
Which is not to complain. After all, families deserve to have sports-car fun, too.
The Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupé is the first four-door sports car developed by the sports-oriented Affalterbach division. Mercedes says the car "opens up the sports-car segment to those customers seeking a vehicle they can use every day" without giving up Mercedes-AMG performance levels. It is being offered with a turbo-boosted inline six-cylinder engine (435 hp) and a V8 rated at 639 hp.
Top speed is rated at 315 km/h, yet combined fuel consumption is rated at 11.2-9.1 l/100 km, depending on choice of power plant.
"There's plenty of space in the back – and plenty of performance in the front," said Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "With the all-new Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupé, we are adding another great option to our portfolio. It now offers more variety and choice than ever."
The company also unveiled a new off-road performance vehicle, the Mercedes-AMG G 63, and heavily redesigned C-Class cars, all featuring more efficient engines. A pre-production version of a plug-in diesel hybrid for both C-Class and E-Class cars was shown but there are no plans to bring it to North America.
The company is unapologetic about continued support for the development of diesel engines in spite of the emissions scandal that rocked Volkswagen and plans by major European cities to ban the engines.
Ola Kallenius, member of the Daimler AG management board, said advances in technology have given diesel a future: "Improving it is better than banning it."
His comments echoed those by Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller on Monday. He told Automotive News Europe that he believes there is a coming diesel renaissance.
"Diesel will see a renaissance in the not-too-distant future because people who drove diesels will realize that it was a very comfortable drive concept," Mueller said in Geneva. "Once the knowledge that diesels are eco-friendly firms up in people's minds, then for me there's no reason not to buy one."
Like many manufacturers at the show, Mercedes is also increasing its commitment to hybrid and all-electric cars. The 20-year-old Smart car line is being rebranded as Smart EQ and going all-electric, first in North America and then rolled out around the world. It will continue to offer only the Smart EQ fortwo in Canada, not the four-door model.
Smart CEO Annette Winkler said a new generation of customers want auto makers "to create a better environment in the cities."
The city-focused Smart commuter cars have an estimated range of 160 kilometres on a charge. On a rapid charge, the Smart can go from 10 to 80 per cent charge in 40 minutes, she said.
In Canada, the Smart EQ is available at all Mercedes dealerships.
Wilko Stark, Daimler vice-president, said the company's aspiration is to transition its cars to electric and shared automobiles. The company has invested $16-billion in its electrification strategy. It has 10 electric vehicles and a total of 50 will have an electrically assisted drive system. The company estimates that as much as 25 per cent of its fleet could be EVs by 2025.
"Nobody knows what demand will be," said Stark. "Flexibility (in manufacturing) is the key."
A major variable is the length of time it takes to build charging infrastructure. Mercedes is collaborating with Volkswagen on the development of Ionity charging stations, but all major manufacturers are establishing common protocols.
Fuel-cell cars are still under development, but "the attractiveness of the battery-electric is higher," he said.
The writer was a guest of the auto maker. Content was not subject to approval.