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Sub-S Mercedes-AMG GT arrives

Coup d-etat: With a new more affordable coupe variant joining the GT stable, Mercedes-AMG has closed the gap between it and the cheapest Porsche 911 hard-top.

Most affordable GT joins Mercedes-AMG ranks from $259,000 BOCs

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Mercedes-AMG logo13 Dec 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

MERCEDES-AMG is offering fans of the GT a more affordable way into the high-performance sports coupe with the sub-S variant now available Down Under from $259,000 before on-road costs – $40,000 cheaper than the GT S.

Since the introduction of the GT S in July 2015, the German car-maker has confirmed that it will offer more versions of the GT including the GT C convertible and a pumped up GT R for the power hungry, but a more accessible coupe has been off the cards, until now.

Mercedes is yet to publish official local specifications but in European markets, the GT has a majority of the GT S’ kit but is powered by a detuned version of the dry-sump turbo V8 and 340kW/600Nm – a reduction of 35kW and 50Nm.

With the cash-saving mods, the AMG GT takes a little longer to get to 100km/h from a standing start with a 4.0-second dash versus the GT S’ 3.8s time, while top speed falls a negligible 6km/h to 304km/h.

Porsche’s venerable 911 has always been regarded as the GT’s target rival and the new variant’s asking price falls directly into the Carrera S Coupe neighbourhood which is on offer from $252,500.

Based on other global markets that already offer the two variants in parallel, the Australian GT is likely to get 19-inch wheels in all four corners, while the GT S has a 19-inch rim on the front axle and 20-inch wheels at the back.

Other than the obligatory S badging and wheel design, GT and GT S variants do not differ on the outside but the GT forfeits a number of technical and luxury features as part of the deal.

The full-fat version has an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and the GT gets a more traditional mechanical version, while the Speed Shift seven-speed automatic transmission does not have the ‘race’ setting of the GT S.

AMG sports suspension is standard fare for both variants but the GT S adds to it with AMG Ride Control for adaptive damping, although the system can be added to lesser variants optionally.

In the name of weight saving, the GT S has a lithium-ion 12-volt battery in place of the GT’s more orthodox lead acid version, but despite the lighter battery, the GT weighs in at 1615kg versus the 1645kg kerb weight of the GT S.

Unlike some other brands that seek to cut costs with iron brake rotors in place of exotic carbon-ceramic, both GT and GT S get the high-performance composite material discs.

In the case of the GT, it gets a smaller 360mm front disc and the same diameter at the back, while the GT S has a 390mm front rotor diameter. GT brake callipers are silver but GT S versions are painted red and display the AMG brand.

On the inside, both variants have full Nappa leather trim but pricier versions get synthetic suede inserts in place of the GT perforated leather and an AMG emblem embossed into the centre arm rest.

The GT’s instrument cluster is highlighted in white, while the GT S is decorated in a more evocative red.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific was unable to confirm local specification, exact timing or production limitations, but the company has previously said it would consider the most affordable variant once demand had been forecast with the GT S pioneer.

So far this year, Mercedes has sold 139 GTs after finding 58 homes in 2015 following its July launch.

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