Mercedes-AMG is using this weekend’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance – part of the annual Monterey Car Week auto extravaganza – to showcase its all-new GT coupe.
Although distinctly evolutionary in its styling, the second-gen GT is a totally revamped vehicle that shares most of its hardware with the latest SL roadster that recently went on sale in the UAE. The all-new GT is expected here in the first half of next year, with pricing likely to start north of Dh600,000.
Mercedes-AMG claims the latest GT is a much more practical and usable coupe than its predecessor, as a significant dimensional stretch has liberated sufficient space for optional 2+2 seating and greater luggage capacity.
Measuring 4,728mm long (+177m), 1,984mm wide (+44mm), 1,354mm tall (+66mm) and with a wheelbase of 2,700mm (+70mm), the latest GT is pitched as a genuine long-distance grand tourer, rather than an uncompromising sportster that carries only two occupants and some soft luggage.
In addition, the outgoing GT’s rear-wheel-drive format makes way for fully variable AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive, which is supplemented as standard by active aerodynamics, active roll stabilisation and active rear-axle steering. The all-new coupe also has a larger glasshouse, which claims to provide better visibility in all directions.
The GT is built around an elaborate composite aluminium body structure that’s been designed with rigidity and light weight in mind, but it’s still no waif at 1,970kg with all fluids and a 75kg driver on board.
The optional rear seats are allegedly adequate for occupants up to 1.5 metres tall and, crucially, boot capacity now starts at a respectable 321 litres, expanding to a cavernous 675 litres with the optional rear seats folded down. Adding to practicality is an electrically operated tailgate with hands-free operability.
The AMG GT will initially be offered with two performance levels of AMG’s 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine, both hand-built in Affalterbach according to the performance division’s “One Man, One Engine” principle.
The range-topping GT 63 4Matic+ is tuned to belt out 585hp and offers maximum torque of 800Nm over a wide range from 2,500 to 4,500rpm. This prodigious grunt translates to supercar-baiting performance as the GT 63 4Matic+ bolts from 0-100kph in only 3.2 seconds and the car maxes out at 315kph.
The lesser GT 55 4MATIC+ is no slouch either, as its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 thrashes out 476hp and maximum torque of 700Nm. It, too, is decently rapid, sprinting from 0-100kph in 3.9 seconds and hitting 295kph flat out.
Drive is relayed to all four wheels via the AMG Speedshift MCT 9G nine-speed auto transmission, in which a wet start-up clutch replaces the torque converter. AMG claims this set-up reduces weight and, thanks to its lower mass inertia, delivers a fast and “emotional shift experience”.
Keeping the GT’s high-speed capability in check is a brand-new active aero package that’s been conceived to balance the conflicting parameters of low drag, downforce, optimal cooling efficiency and low wind noise. This package includes a retractable rear wing and a vaned "Airpanel" at the front that normally remains closed to optimise airflow, except when there’s a need for maximum cooling air to be channelled to the engine bay.
It’s not too hard to overwhelm traction (especially in wet conditions) in the existing AMG GT, but the second-gen car should unleash its prodigious torque far more efficiently, thanks to a fully variable AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive set-up.
An electromechanically controlled clutch connects the front and rear axles, enabling the GT to be driven as a traction-oriented all-wheel drive – with 50:50 power distribution to the front and rear axles – or as a pure rear-wheel drive.
The new GT also gains active roll stabilisation as standard, but the system doesn’t use a conventional 48-volt electromechanical anti-roll-bar setup (as used in several other vehicles). Instead, the GT’s anti-roll system has all four adaptive dampers interconnected, with sophisticated chassis control software co-ordinating the compression and rebound of each damper to all but cancel out pitching and rolling.
The other key ingredients in the GT’s dynamic recipe are a rear axle locking differential and active rear-axle steering as standard. The rear wheels steer in either the opposite direction (up to 100kph) or in the same direction (faster than 100kph) as the front wheels, making for more manoeuvrability at low speeds and greater stability at high speeds.
Mercedes-AMG describes the new GT’s cockpit layout as “hyper analogue”, combining traditional design elements with the latest digitised interfaces, including a portrait-style 11.9-inch multimedia touchscreen incorporating Merc’s MBUX functionality.