Did you know that spiders don't have muscles in their legs? It's true. Their legs are controlled with what amounts to a hydraulic system that uses blood as the fluid. It's why spiders' legs curl up postmortem. We're not saying that AMG was inspired by spiders here, but the new Mercedes-AMG GT's standard hydraulic anti-roll control echoes the arachnid's limbs.
As with the hydropneumatic system long used by McLaren, the GT's corners are linked via circuits that manage the roll stiffness. At each corner is a cylinder that looks like a damper, but the actual damping is done externally, at electronically controlled valves on the damper body. There is no valving inside the tube. The system has the advantage of being able to effectively disconnect the anti-roll effect to improve ride and then crank the anti-roll stiffness up to 11 when you want to corner like you mean it. The downside is that it's heavier than conventional anti-roll bars, and heavier is a bit of a theme with the new GT.
Bigger Than Before
This second-gen GT is basically a clean-sheet design that now shares its underpinnings with the Mercedes-AMG SL. No more dual-clutch transaxle, dedicated platform, or long-hood proportions that the first GT, and the SLS before it, had. A twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 makes 577 horsepower and drives all four wheels by way of the corporate nine-speed automatic. A back seat is optional, and the monolithic infotainment screen and digital gauges are shared with the SL. The platform is larger. Its 106.3-inch wheelbase is 2.8 inches greater than before, and the overall length has ballooned 7.1 inches to 186.1. As such, the GT carries about 600 pounds more than it used to.
While the rear seat is optional, it should be considered mandatory. What little mass it adds is shaded by a metric ton of functionality. AMG claims the pair of seats can fit people up to four feet 11, which basically means "kids," and that tracks. What makes the seats a must is that they fold. When folded, the cargo space grows from 11 cubic feet to 24, and the increase in area is enough to wedge a bicycle in there (after removing the front wheel). Go with the two-seater, and there's a parcel shelf and a fixed vertical partition.
The vestigial seats were driven by customer demand. AMG listened to what its buyers wanted, and the overwhelming consensus was more functionality and, despite the wonderful advancements in winter tires, all-wheel drive. While owners didn't clamor for more performance, AMG being AMG decided it needed that too.
AMG GT Performance
All-wheel drive all but guarantees the car will outaccelerate its predecessor. Put your foot to the floor, and the engine responds with a ferocity not often found in six-figure grand tourers. The nine-speed transmission, utilizing a clutch pack in lieu of a torque convertor, snaps off shifts with increasing haste as you cycle through the drive modes (Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Race, as well as Individual). The GT63 should be capable of sub-3.0-second dashes to 60 mph with little effort.
Fortunately, AMG didn't concentrate solely on that dimension. Standard tech also includes rear steer, with the rear wheels pointing out of phase up to 60 mph. All the fancy chassis systems do a commendable job of masking the additional mass. Turn into a sweeper, and the car grips like a spider to a wall.
Still, we can't shake that the GT feels in a lot of ways like a step back. Don't get us wrong, the car is plenty capable. And once you get over the learning curve of some seriously frustrating infotainment menus, it's way more livable as a daily driver than before. It's just not the dedicated sports car that the first one was.
We expect pricing to start somewhere around $180,000 when the AMG GT63 goes on sale early next year. There's also a GT55 coming that uses the same 4.0-liter V-8, albeit in a 469-hp state of tune. It'll undercut the 63 by at least $20K and broaden this car's appeal even more.
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