Mercedes is hard at work making life as difficult as possible for the new Jaguar F-type R Coupe, Porsche 911, and Audi R8. This is the GT AMG, undergoing cold-weather testing in the frozen wastes of Scandinavia.
Mercedes GT AMG: the story so far
Last time we caught a glimpse of the new Mercedes sports coupe (one of CAR’s Most Wanted cars of 2014), it was spotted near Germany’s Nürburgring wearing heavy disguise.
As the car approaches its 2015 date with destiny, we’re now down to a thin skin of swirly camouflage, showing off the GT AMG’s sleek, cab-back stance, pert tail (complete with pop-up aerofoil) and more front-end styling clues.
Mercedes insiders promise the car is going to be a stunner, and on this evidence, they’re not wrong. The again, it has to compete with a gorgeous Jag…
The GT AMG isn’t strictly a replacement for the SLS AMG supercar. Production of the gullwing-doored £170k flagship will end in 2014. Mercedes has confirmed it won’t replace it with another mega-bucks model to compete with the Ferrari 458 Speciale, McLaren 12C and Lamborghini Huracan.
So what does that make the GT AMG?
A smaller, lighter, and cheaper proposition. And with prices thought to start at £85,000, it’s a dead-ringer for Porsche 911 Carrera S and Jaguar F-type R Coupe buyers.
That said, plenty of the much-loved SLS’s template will be recycled. The long-nosed GT AMG is, like the SLS, a front-engined, rear-wheel drive machine, which positions a dual-clutch gearbox at the rear of the car for optimum weight balance.
Its engine will be a V8, but not the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre thunderstorm that drives every SLS. Instead, Mercedes is downsizing to a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, which develops 485bhp in the ‘basic’ GT AMG.
You mean there’s more to come?
Oh yes. Mercedes has big plans for the GT AMG, which will spawn a three-model range. Above the basic car in the range sits an uprated ‘S’ version, boosted to 505bhp. If that’s not enough, wait until 2017 and Mercedes will sell you a lightweight, tuned Black Series model, just in time to fight the Lamborghini Huracan Superleggera. Expect to pay six figures for that beast.
The GT AMG Black Series will wear carbonfibre aero wings, much like those aboard the £230,000 Mercedes SLS AMG Black Series. Its engine is set to churn out a titanic 585bhp, outstripping even a Porsche 911 Turbo S’s output, and rocketing the GT AMG back up into true supercar territory.
Much as we enjoy the SLS AMG, it’s a heavy old beast. Mercedes knows as much, and has targeted a 1395kg kerbweight for the regular GT AMG: 300kg lighter than the SLS.
The GT AMG will reuse a cut-down version of the SLS’s aluminium spaceframe, but ditch the current halo car’s trademark (but hefty) vertical doors, in favour of conventionally hinged ones. So, there’s less theatre when hopping into the 2+2-seater cabin, wielder dimensions, monster turbo torque and a healthy diet should make up for that.
The GT AMG will go on sale in 2015, but we’ll see a barely different ‘concept car’ later this year. Just don’t go holding out for a soft-top cabrio. Mercedes doesn’t want to cannibalise sales of the SL63 and SL65 AMG, so there’ll be no GT AMG Roadster. This one’s not for the posers – it’s for the drivers. Bring it on!