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Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review

Published:05 September 2017

Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • At a glance
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5

By Matt Joy

Former associate editor of CAR magazine

By Matt Joy

Former associate editor of CAR magazine

Spicier version of AMG GT Roadster
CAR’s UK road test review
549bhp twin-turbo V8, from £139,460

After experiencing the GT C Stateside in glorious Arizona sunshine, how does one of the brawniest AMGs ever to drop its top cope with the intermittence of the UK weather? There was only one way to find out.

What does the ‘C’ mean anyway?

Stay focused. The AMG GT range has a few tiers to it; both coupe and roadster can be had in standard form with the mechanical rear diff and 469bhp from the twin-turbo V8.

Next up are the S variants, with 515bhp, AMG ride control suspension and an electronic differential, followed by the C: 549bhp, 502lb ft of torque and performance figures just a whisker behind the full-on GT R version.

So C has nothing to do with a convertible roof, more an expletive to describe the acceleration.

Does it look any different?

It does indeed, and while the changes might seem slight the effect they have is significant.

All versions now get the imposing chromed grille, dubbed Panamericana in Mercedes-speak, and a wider front bumper to go with it. More specifically the GT C gets a wider rear to accommodate the bigger track of the active rear-steer axle, both features nabbed from the GT R.

AMG GT C Roadster rear tracking

With the roof folded it seems even wider and more muscle-bound, filling out in all the right places and mixing in hot-rod cues with Germanic precision. I wish I was exaggerating, but one passer-by offered me his wife in exchange for the keys. This car turns heads (and ends marriages).

Nice. What about the drive?

C-spec means you get the full five driving modes, and even kicking off in the most pedestrian Comfort setting the GT C still sounds like it’s going to eat you and your children when you start it up.

The 3982cc V8 has been around a while now but familiarity hasn’t lessened its impact, offering up over 500lb ft of torque from only 1900rpm, allowing you to be spectacularly lazy with accelerator and still stay ahead of the swim.

With the gearbox in its doziest setting it shifts smoothly but without hesitation, and it can deal with the task of touring.

AMG GT C Roadster interior

You’ll want to dodge bigger road imperfections just for fear of hurting the alloys and although they can be felt they don’t send a shudder through the cabin or your spine.

Move up a mode or two into Sport+ and the most obvious difference is the alertness of the throttle, which now offers zero slack before belting you around the head with a left-right combo of endless torque and thunderous exhaust.

With the roof up it’s snug and pleasingly refined, but it’s simultaneously wasting half the experience. To get the most out of it, flip the drive mode into Race, back off the suspension (because you’re in the UK) and get the roof down. That unleashes the full noise of the V8, including a shotgun salute from the exhausts when you back off the throttle, but more importantly sharpens the rest of the driving experience to the maximum.

The steering feels sharper as the speed rises while its agility is undoubtedly helped by the rear-steer effect; below 62mph the rears steer in the opposite direction to the front, helping the turn in and the rear to pivot.

AMG GT C Roadster front end tracking

There’s plenty of scope for making your own contribution with ESP switched to Sport or off altogether too, where the obvious love for oversteer at AMG means the GT C is laughable playful and benign when you begin to throw it around.

This is still a heavy car with a big motor up front so it was never going to be a millimetrically precise instrument but it’s an absolute blast to drive at speed and more than sharp enough, unless you’re the kind of person that uses a micrometer when chopping your veggies.

Sounds amazing. But can I live with it?

There’s not too much to grumble about, and what there is you’ll find concentrated on the inside. The transmission tunnel is like having a permanent third occupant and the layout of the drive control buttons is aesthetically understandable but would send an obsessive compulsive into a meltdown.

AMG GT C Roadster side

Other than needing to put fuel in it pretty often, it’s impossible not to love.

What else do I need to know?

Should it rain you can raise the GT C’s roof in a modest 11 seconds, and as long as the speed is below 30mph you can do it on the move too.

Verdict

Delightfully brutish but manageable with it, the AMG GT C delivers all the thrills and spectacle a car costing the thick end of £150,000 should deliver but without making unreasonable demands when you just want to get around.

It’s a mix of Hollywood presence and drama with girl/boy-next-door civility, which is an impressive trick to pull off. What price a GT R Roadster?

Specs

Price when new: £139,460
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 3982cc twin-turbocharged V8, 549bhp @ 5750rpm-6750rpm, 502lb ft @ 1900rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed paddleshift DCT, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 0-62mph 3.7sec, 196mph, 24.8mpg combined, 259g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1735kg/aluminium
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4551/2007/1260mm

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  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster (2017) UK road test review

By Matt Joy

Former associate editor of CAR magazine

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