This car is good. I mean, really good. We’ve always been fans of the GT coupé but there were things about the way it drove that were less than satisfying. It was too quick to respond just off straight-ahead, as if AMG was trying to give a car with a long bonnet and wheelbase a greater sense of agility than it needed.
Then it failed to support the cornering stance properly, feeling like it was falling too quickly into oversteer at the rear, and with no great body control or finesse. This meant that it was less than reassuring to drive quickly and it felt pretty wide.
Well, AMG has been at the roadster (and the coupé, too, incidentally, although more on that another time) and has comprehensively sorted this car’s chassis, making a set-up that will be the same on both coupés and roadsters. It’s still quick to turn initially, but body control is much better and steering response more linear, so the car still feels agile, but predictably so, and it corners with far greater purpose, reassurance and feedback.
Forget Floridian poseurs: it’s becoming the sports car the coupé should have been in the first place. The C version gets adaptive dampers as standard and the ride quality is reasonable. Sudden edges – potholes, abrupt surface changes – give the GT C Roadster a thud, but at no time do you detect any hint of chassis twist or flex and never does the image in the rear-view mirror shimmy to suggest that much rigidity has gone in the roof-losing process. Weight is up by around 70kg over the coupé, but the three-layer hood itself is nicely engineered. It raises and lowers quickly and looks good up or down.
It’s also very quiet with the hood in place (although one car we tried had some wind noise from the driver’s window that another didn’t, suggesting that it’s sensitive to seals closing properly) and buffeting is minimal with the hood down.
In either hood state, the 4.0-litre V8 is as terrific as we’ve come to expect it will be. It starts with a roar, is very responsive for a turbo unit, always sounds lusty and drives through the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox cleanly and efficiently. Select gears yourself via flappy paddles and it listens to what you want. Leave it to make the shifts itself and, as you flick through the drive modes, its responses become a little more aggressive and appropriate for swift driving each time.
All in all, the new changes don’t just make for a decent roadster: they also make the GT the 911-troubling sports car it always should have been, rather than just a laid-back GT car that got more flustered the more you asked of it.