Mercedes has joined the Nurburgring test mule bonanza, bringing its new GT AMG sports coupe along to the party where we’ve spotted the BMW 2-series GT and 4-series Gran Coupe recently. Even McLaren has been hard at work attempting a new lap record with the P1 supercar. Mercedes, meanwhile, is in the early stages of prepping its new Porsche 911 rival, which will go on sale in 2015.
Is the Mercedes GT AMG the replacement for the SLS ‘Gullwing’?
No – Mercedes’ next AMG flagship won’t be a £160k Ferrari 458 rival, like the current SLS. Instead, the GT AMG, codenamed ‘C190’, takes the form of a more compact, less expensive 2+2-seater sports coupe. It’ll dive into battle with the Porsche 911 Carrera S, new Audi R8 and Jaguar F-type coupe.
What powers the Mercedes GT AMG?
CAR sources report the three-model GT range (basic, boosted ‘S’ and hardcore Black Series) will all use a twin-turbocharged, 4.0-litre V8 engine. Despite being further downsized from AMG’s current suite of 5.5-litre twin-turbo and naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8s, the GT AMG won’t be left wanting for power. The base car is expected to develop a 911 GT3-busting 485bhp, with the uprated GT ‘S’ rated at 505bhp. A future Black Series model will be more potent even than today’s SLS AMG, and – get this – a Porsche 911 Turbo S – thanks to a stonking 585bhp output.
What about the rest of the GT’s powertrain?
It’s a mouth-watering spec: the dry-sumped engine is mated with a rear-mounted dual-clutch transmission via a lightweight carbonfibre propshaft. Cog-swapping is handled by an updated version of the SLS’s seven-speed ‘DCT’ dual-clutch gearbox, operated by steering wheel paddleshifters. And, unlike the new E63 and S63 AMG, the GT AMG will be rear-drive only, in spite of AMG’s ‘4Matic’ all-wheel drive push lower down the range.
Any word on the Mercedes GT’s construction?
Though the GT will borrow its SLS relative’s aluminium spaceframe, it’ll be smaller, stiffer, and – crucially – lighter than the porky 1695kg Gullwing. AMG’s engineers have benchmarked a 991 C2S’s 1395kg kerbweight for the GT, which loses the SLS’s vertical-opening doors, saving production costs and lowering the car’s centre of gravity at the expense of some car park-theatre.
So, it should handle then, the GT?
Yes, but not only thanks to the low, well-distributed mass – Mercedes is going to town on the aerodynamics too. Expect the production car to feature Venturi floor tunnels that create huge levels of downforce, wheelarch vents to minimise turbulence, and a pop-up rear spoiler atop the pert rear deck, which looks very Aston V8 Vantage-esque to us. Expect the slim rear lights to ape the sleek Mercedes S-class coupe concept’s.
Most aggressive of all the new Mercedes GTs will be the Black Series, sprouting even more overt aerodynamic devices, including a menacing front splitter and fixed rear wing. It’ll arrive in around 2018 – three years into the life-cycle of the GT AMG.
And it’ll cost the same as a 911?
That’s the plan. The base price is thought to fall around £80,000: half as much as an SLS. While you can get behind the wheel of a 911 for a whole £7000 less, by the time you’ve added a paddleshift gearbox, and the more powerful ‘S’ engine, it’s an £85k car – and right in the Mercedes’ firing line.
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