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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