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First look: Mercedes-AMG GT uncovered

It’s arrived: The Mercedes-AMG GT coupe will lob in the second quarter of 2015, and should kick off from about $240,000 plus on-roads.

Mercedes-AMG GT’s biturbo V8 to offer two states of tune when it arrives next year


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10 Sep 2014

MERCEDES-BENZ has ripped the covers off its all-new AMG-developed GT coupe that will take the fight up to Porsche and its revered 911, but the German luxury car-maker says it is not aiming to eclipse the famous sportscar in the sales race.

The GT is a co-development between Mercedes and its performance subsidiary AMG, with the fast-car skunkworks developing a completely new 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 in-house while styling was handled by the parent company at its Sindelfingen studio.

Speaking with Australian media overnight at the GT’s international launch at AMG headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany, Daimler AG chairman and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Dieter Zetsche said the low-slung two-seater coupe could beat the 911 on most fronts, but not global sales.

“Obviously Porsche has been there since ever with the 911,” he said. “It’s clearly for them an icon car.

“We think on a factual basis we can beat them in almost all measures, but this will not give us the market leader position. This is unrealistic.” While final pricing is yet to be confirmed, expect the GT to storm into Australian dealerships in the second quarter of next year starting from about $240,000 to $250,000 plus on-road costs for the entry-level variant.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy told GoAuto that the company was expecting strong demand for the long-anticipated coupe, particularly now that it has been fully revealed.

“AMG owners are passionate,” he said. “And they know about this car. Now they have seen it, in yellow, I will be very surprised if there aren’t a big batch of orders when I get back. Price isn’t the issue – it’s when they can get one.

“There has been a lot said about Porsche 911. The reality is, the market is big enough for everyone. We have proven that with our brand – a few years ago we were doing 20,000 units, but we will probably do close to 30,000 units this year.

“Something like the GT it is not necessarily conquest sales, but when people buy this car they will stay with the brand. It’s not a matter of aiming this at 911 price-wise, it’s probably likely to be around (Porsche 911) Carrera S money.

“But the reality is a 911 is a very different car to this.” The GT is the second car to be developed in-house by Mercedes-AMG following the SLS AMG supercar built between 2010 and 2014 in limited numbers.

The German car-maker has changed its naming policy for the all-new sportscar, removing the ‘Benz’ name and calling it the Mercedes-AMG GT.

Although powertrain details were revealed ahead of this week’s unveiling, Mercedes saved the world premiere to confirm that the GT will be available in two states of tune.

The new-generation 3982cc biturbo bent-eight will be offered in base GT guise with 340kW of power at 6000rpm and 600Nm of torque from 1600-5000rpm, while the flagship GT S ups the ante considerably to 375kW at 6250rpm and 650Nm from 1750-4750rpm.

Tipping the scales at just 1570kg, the GT S can accelerate from rest to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds, on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 310km/h.

And the (1540kg) GT is not far behind it, reaching the national speed limit in 4.0 seconds, and continuing on to 304km/h until the speed limiter kicks in.

In comparison, the 294kW/440Nm 3.8-litre natural-breathing flat-six 911 Carrera S can reach 100 clicks in 4.3 seconds with the PDK gearbox (or 4.1s in Sport+ mode).

Official fuel consumption on the European combined cycle is listed as 9.3 litres per 100 kilometres for the GT and 9.4L/100km for the GT S.

Besides the 911, GT rivals include Jaguar’s 404kW/680Nm F-Type Coupe R, Maserati’s 338kW/520Nm GranTurismo and Aston Martin’s 313kW/470Nm V8 Vantage Coupe.

While comparisons will also be made with the SLS AMG, Mercedes-AMG chairman Tobias Moers said the GT sits in a completely different segment.

“Comparing to SLS is something I don’t want to do,” he said.

“Power output of the engine, even as V8 biturbo is very similar to a naturally aspirated engine, so you don’t miss the 6.2-litre (AMG-built V8). This is something we achieved now with that engine.” The GT’s 4.0-litre V8 features two turbochargers that are mounted inside the V configuration rather than outside the cylinder banks which the company says makes for better response from the turbos, a more compact engine design and lower emissions.

It also features dry sump lubrication which Mercedes says ensures oil supply under high lateral forces and allows the engine to be positioned lower, moving the centre of gravity closer to the road.

The transmission in the rear-wheel-drive coupe is a seven-speed DCT Speedshift dual-clutch unit in transaxle configuration at the rear axle, mirroring the layout of the SLS.

Drivers can alter the shift and response time of the transmission via an AMG Dynamic Select system, with modes including Controlled Efficiency, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual, while the GT S also features a Race mode for racetrack use. A manual mode is included, too.

The GT S has an electronic rear differential, which the company says improves traction and driving safety as well as increasing cornering speeds.

Double wishbone suspension is used at the front and rear, with many of the components made from aluminium to reduce weight, while the 47:53 front/rear weight distribution, low centre of gravity and suspension layout make for a highly agile car with promises of precise steering and excellent traction.

Optional on the GT but standard on the GT S is the AMG Ride Control sports suspension which can alter the damping depending on the driver’s choice of Comfort, Sport or Sport Plus mode.

The GT has speed-sensitive sports steering and the GT S is available with the optional AMG Dynamics Plus package, which includes engine and transmission mounts that help boost comfort levels and reduce noise, vibration and harshness (NVH).

In base GT guise the coupe features 360mm brake discs on each wheel – increasing to 390mm diameter on the GT S – while a ceramic high-performance brake system is available as an option on both variants.

Wheels choices include 10-spoke 19-inch light alloys with 255/35 front and 295/35 rear tyres on the GT, while the GT S uses 265/35-section rubber up front and 295/30 at the rear.

Engineers have kept the weight down by using aluminium components on more than 90 per cent of the spaceframe, while the greenhouse and body is made from light alloy, the bootlid is steel and the front deck is magnesium.

At first the exterior design gives the impression of a shrunken SLS AMG, but a second glance reveals that while the GT carries a similar silhouette, it is a completely new design.

It features a dome-shaped roofline, frameless doors, a long bonnet with ‘power domes’, a greenhouse that is set back to emphasise the nose and a large hatchback tailgate.

At the front, the GT carries the three-dimensional diamond radiator grille, LED headlights with eyebrow-like daytime running lights, a bulbous nose and large lower air intakes.

The rear end features slimline tail-lights with 18 individual LEDs on either side.

Mercedes has maintained an aviation theme for the GT’s interior, which a company executive revealed was benchmarked against the Porsche 911.

There is a cockpit-like feel to the cabin and high-quality materials have been used throughout. The centre console is available with a choice of silver chrome, matte carbon-fibre, black diamond, high-gloss carbon-fibre or matte silver fibreglass finish.

It also comes with a flat-bottomed leather-clad three-spoke steering wheel, the now-familiar 7.0-inch tablet-like display at the top of the centre stack, a TFT display in the instrument cluster, aluminium shift paddles and faux-leather Artico/black fabric sports seats with AMG lettering.

Mercedes’ Comand controller is situated in the console and provides access to audio and other functions.

Cargo capacity is 350 litres, which is typical of the sportscar segment.

On the safety front, the GT gains adaptive braking, a driver fatigue warning system, a collision prevention system and tyre-pressure monitoring, while options include Mercedes’ Pre-safe system, a reversing camera, adaptive high beam system, blind spot monitor and lane departure warning.

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