Mercedes' SLS replacement will go on sale in the UK early next year, priced from about £95k, and will be powered by a new twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine
3 October 2014

This is the new Mercedes-AMG GT – the second series-production model from Mercedes-Benz’s performance car division in Affalterbach, Germany, following on from the recently discontinued SLS AMG.

Mercedes' new model made its public debut at the Paris motor show. The rear-wheel-drive performance coupé shares elements of its body structure with its predecessor and is the first Mercedes-AMG model to use a newly developed twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine.

“With the new GT, we are positioning Mercedes-AMG even more aggressively than to date,” said the chief executive of AMG, Tobias Moers. 

Buyers will be able to choose between a standard GT and a more powerful GT S, although only the GT S is planned for delivery initially. The two are set apart visually by different bumpers, tailpipes and wheels. 

Pricing is not planned to be made public until orders start later this month. However, it's believed that the standard GT will be priced from around £95,000, with the GT S commanding a premium at around £110,000. Either way, that's significantly less than the £168,485 of the SLS AMG. The new car is due to reach the UK during the first quarter of next year.

The Mercedes-AMG GT is 4546mm long, 1939mm wide and 1289mm tall. That means it is 92mm shorter than the SLS AMG it succeeds, although it is still the same width and is 27mm taller.

Both GT models are powered by AMG’s new ‘M178’ engine. Developed from scratch, the direct-injection 4.0-litre V8 is features twin turbochargers mounted inside the cylinder banks.

This configuration makes for a compact design, optimum throttle response and reduced emissions, claims Mercedes-AMG, because of closely coupled catalytic converters. 

The new engine receives dry-sump lubrication and is mounted behind the front axle line in what Mercedes-AMG describes as a front-mid positioning.

It provides the standard GT with 456bhp at 6000rpm and 442lb ft of torque between 1600rpm and 5000rpm. With added boost pressure and other internal tweaks for the GT S, the 90deg V8’s outputs rise to 503bhp at 6250rpm and 479lb ft from 1750-4750rpm.

Like the SLS, the new coupé is based around a lightweight aluminium body structure, which is claimed to weigh 231kg. In a bid to shed weight and reduce its centre of gravity, the new car eschews the heavy gullwing-style doors of the SLS in favour of regular front-hinged doors.

In standard GT guise, it tips the scales at 1540kg and the GT S comes in at 1570kg. This gives them respective power-to-weight ratios of 296bhp per tonne and 320bhp per tonne.

Channelling the GT’s reserves to the rear wheels is a revised version of the Getrag-engineered seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox used on the SLS. Mounted at the rear in a transaxle layout and offering both manual and automatic shifting, it helps to provide the new car with a 47 per cent front and 53 per cent rear weight distribution. 

The revised gearbox offers up to five different driving modes: Controlled Efficiency, Sport, Sport Plus, Individual and – on the GT S only – Race.

Both models receive a standard locking differential. But whereas the GT receives a mechanical unit, the GT S is fitted with an electronic function that is claimed to provide greater sensitivity by varying the locking effect in acceleration and overrun.  

Official performance figures give the GT a 0-62mph time of 4.0sec and a top speed of 189mph. The GT S is claimed to possess slightly sharper performance, with a 0-62mph of 3.8sec and a maximum speed of 193mph. 

Combined cycle fuel consumption is put at 30.4mpg for the GT and 30.1mpg for the GT S, correlating to average CO2 emissions of 216g/km and 219g/km respectively. 

Continuing developments brought to the earlier SLS AMG Black Series, the GT uses a damper unit to reduce what AMG describes as “undesirable rolling motion of the drivetrain” for added handling precision. Going one step further, the GT S also receives active driveline mounts, which continuously vary the damping effect and act independently on the engine and transaxle.

A bespoke double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension fashioned largely from aluminium underpins the new coupé. Allied to electro-mechanical steering whose assistance alters with speed and lateral acceleration, as well as three-stage stability control, it is claimed to give the GT more neutral on-the-limit behaviour than the SLS.

The GT receives 19-inch wheels shod with 255/35 front and 295/35 rear tyres. The GT S sports a combination of 19-inch wheels with 265/35 tyres up front and 20-inch wheels with 295/30 rubber at the rear. 

Alongside standard road tyres, the new car can be ordered with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres as part of an AMG Dynamic Plus pack. 

Helping to rein in the GT’s colossal performance are standard 360mm front and rear ventilated and cross-drilled steel disc brakes. They are increased to 390mm at the front on the GT S. As an option, buyers can specify the new car with carbon-ceramic discs that measure 402mm at the front and 360mm at the rear, bringing further savings in unsprung weight and performance gains.

The styling of the GT retains the exaggerated proportions of the SLS, albeit with more contemporary detailing. As well as receiving front-hinged doors in preference to the SLS’s gullwing arrangement, the new Mercedes-AMG model adopts a liftback-style tailgate in place of a conventional bootlid.

This is intended to improve the car’s everyday practicality by allowing easier access to the luggage compartment, whose capacity is put at 350 litres. 

As part of efforts to provide the new car with greater handling prowess than its predecessor, the GT also boasts slightly smaller dimensions than the SLS. Exact figures have yet to be revealed, although Mercedes-AMG officials have confirmed that the new car has a shorter wheelbase and more compact overhangs than its predecessor. 

Among the aerodynamic developments is an active rear spoiler. It deploys from the rear of the tailgate at speed to increase the car’s downforce.

Rumours have suggested that a roadster variant of the GT could be launched in 2016, but these have been denied by Mercedes-AMG, which is keen to see the new car positioned as an uncompromised racer for the road.

“The car is manufactured according to our motto ‘Handcrafted by racers’, which perfectly encapsulates our heritage and spirit,” said Moers.

The cars the Mercedes-AMG GT must beat

The new Mercedes-AMG GT is launching into a very crowded segment. A couple of years ago, Lamborghini revealed that the market for what it calls “super-sports cars” had taken a huge hammering during the global credit crunch. 

Sales at the tail end of the boom in this market had bulged globally to about 35,000 vehicles annually. After the crunch, this niche shrank back to just 25,000 units, and although it will have risen somewhat over the past 24 months, this is still a very hard-fought niche.

It is, of course, a potentially highly profitable segment, as Porsche’s 911 Turbo proves, with its industry-leading cash profit per unit. Car makers are clearly aware of this and there are plenty of new products in the super-sports car market. 

Lamborghini has just refreshed its range and McLaren’s upcoming P13 family will be aimed at this market when it arrives in September 2015. A batch of new Aston Martins are also planned over the next few years (ironically, sharing much of the AMG GT’s powertrain and electrical tech). Ferrari, the strongest player after Porsche’s range-topping 911, is committed to regularly replacing its models to stay at the cutting edge. An all-new Audi R8 is expected next year, too. 

But the AMG GT is not just about pure sales performance. The company has been on a mission for the past few years to reduce the average age of Mercedes buyers. The AMG GT is a big part of Merc shaking off its ‘old man’ image.

Indeed, the CLA baby saloon has led the way, with buyers around 10 years younger than the company average, and ‘conquest sales’ are said to be running as high as 80 per cent for the CLA in the US.

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9 September 2014
More like OMG ! Probably the most beautiful car in the world.

Slightly safe looking both inside and out. On the plus side it looks athletic and crisp. Should have launched it in a different colour in my humble opInion. 

11 September 2014
The front and back don't gel for me, and the back looks like a duck's bill, or a 911 that melted in the sun. Compared to the Jag F-Type it's just nowhere near. Compared the 911 it's nowhere near. Interior is nice, but for this kind of money the exterior should be too. Perhaps it would look less duck-like in another colour.

9 September 2014
A previous comment appears regarding the jag xe ! Can you delete please !

Slightly safe looking both inside and out. On the plus side it looks athletic and crisp. Should have launched it in a different colour in my humble opInion. 

9 September 2014
What an absolute stunner! beautiful interior! Far better looking than anything else in the segment, maybe something about the 911 in it's shape though! and slightly more expensive than i was expecting. But still......WOW!!!!!!!!! Not far off an SLS in sheer performance too!

twitter @anikadamali, @notPCnairobi

9 September 2014
Or any other diversionary tactics? No? Thought not - just a stunning car that carries the event itself. Jaguar could learn a thing or three.

9 September 2014
..if you watched the live launch this car looks far better in the flesh!! Fantastic classic proportions ! Great detailing! Great sounding engine! Lovely interesting interior! It even looks good in yellow!!

Want want want... Can't wait for drive review .. Hope it dynamically as good as Merc have been saying !

9 September 2014
Is this the best Mercedes can come up with? It looks awful, ill-proportioned and looks nothing more than a restyled BMW Z8 with a roof. After the beautiful F-Type you'd have thought Mercedes would have tried to at least come up with something to rival the Jaguar, but no. And yet, Mercedes had the audacity to say the GT was as beautiful as the E Type! Jaguar have trumped the GT's design with ease, even with the XE! Looks apart, Mercedes will have needed to work a miracle to ensure the GT outdrives and beats the class-leading F-Type. Can't see it happening though, such is Jaguar's brilliance.

9 September 2014
Saucerer wrote:

After the beautiful F-Type you'd have thought Mercedes would have tried to at least come up with something to rival the Jaguar.

This AMG GT has made the F-Type look a bit rubbish. It's a classic design that doesn't look dated nor retro, and that's not an easy thing to come by.

10 September 2014
Motormouths wrote:
Saucerer wrote:

After the beautiful F-Type you'd have thought Mercedes would have tried to at least come up with something to rival the Jaguar.

This AMG GT has made the F-Type look a bit rubbish. It's a classic design that doesn't look dated nor retro, and that's not an easy thing to come by.

You have got to be joking. This is what the F-Type should have been. Beeeyooootiful. There are traces of E-type in this car.

10 September 2014
Jinx59 wrote:
Motormouths wrote:
Saucerer wrote:

After the beautiful F-Type you'd have thought Mercedes would have tried to at least come up with something to rival the Jaguar.

This AMG GT has made the F-Type look a bit rubbish. It's a classic design that doesn't look dated nor retro, and that's not an easy thing to come by.

You have got to be joking. This is what the F-Type should have been. Beeeyooootiful. There are traces of E-type in this car.

I can only assume that you have put someone else's glasses on by mistake.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

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