What Car? says...
Here’s something that might surprise you: generally speaking, building a low-volume supercar isn’t as much of a challenge for a big car manufacturer as you might think. Turning your low-volume sports car into a more mass-market machine, like the Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe, is rather more testing, though.
Why? Well, supercars, such as the Ford GT and Honda NSX, require some seriously cutting-edge engineering, but when you're only having to produce them in low numbers and collectors are willing to pay big bucks to have one on their driveway, you can afford to charge a big premium to cover your costs. That means an acceptable risk to reward ratio that won’t have the accountants bursting their stress balls like bubble wrap.
The GT Coupe was the result. It's similar in concept to the SLS: a big, front-engined, rear-wheel-drive muscle-car coupe with a seven-speed automatic gearbox. However, the GT’s need to include practicalities, like a decent-sized boot, without costly fripperies, such as the SLS's jaw-dropping gullwing doors, means that its designers and engineers have effectively had their wings clipped.
So what’s it like? Well, the general opinion is that it still looks ace, but does the GT – or the open-top GT Roadster, which you can read about by clicking the link – drive as well as a Porsche 911, an Audi R8, or even more exotic rivals, including the McLaren 570S?
Read on to find out, and when you're ready to make a purchase we may be able to help out there, too. Pop over to our New Car Deals pages and you will find big discounts on many of the new cars on sale today.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
All GT Coupes use AMG’s mighty twin-turbocharged, 4.0-litre V8 engine, with the ‘entry-level’ model – the GT Edition 476 – offering 469bhp. That figure jumps to 569bhp for the GT C, and a quite astounding 577bhp for the GT R and racier GT R Pro. Now, this engine is no shrinking violet: in all iterations it sounds booming and brutish, and its engineered-in pops and crackles are more tantalising than the strait-laced song of the McLaren 570s's motor. The Porsche 911’s flat-six engine and the Audi R8’s V10 both sound less contrived, though, and more like true sporting thoroughbreds.
And of course, with all versions producing well over 450bhp, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the AMG GT is quick – the slowest version will accelerate from 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds, while the GT R and GT R Pro drop that time to 3.6sec. That's a match for a 911 Carrera 4S, but, believe it or not, still slower than a 570S or R8 Performance.
Impressive as straight-line speed is, though, it's not the only element to focus on. A successful sports car also needs to be rewarding to drive, and this is where the GT misses the high watermark set by its rivals. Compared with a 911 or 570S, it's heavy, and that heft (between 1650kg-1700kg) makes it feel cumbersome and considerably less agile. The standard steering isn't precise or intuitive enough to breed confidence, either, while the versions with rear-wheel steering add an element of nervousness that you don't get with 911s. Or a 570S, which on road or track, is unquestionably superior.
In the hardcore GT R and GT R Pro, you get a curious-looking yellow knob just above the air-con controls. Twisting this changes the level of interference from the stability control system; at one extreme, the software will step in immediately to help if you’re a bit enthusiastic with your right foot. At the other, you’ll have to rely solely on your driving skills to control how much of the 577bhp is going to the rear wheels. The latter setting is intended solely for track use.
In essence, the GT – in every form, including the GT R Pro, with its numerous aerofoils and winglets that make it look like a racing car – feels more like a toy rather than it does a truly serious sports car.
It doesn't make up for its dynamic shortcomings by being particularly easy to live with, either. For those who want to cross countries quickly, a BMW M8 offers a softer ride at speed than the entry-level AMG GT Edition 476. Oddly, the most extreme GT R Pro's manually adjustable suspension is firmer but better controlled, so in some respects it is the most comfortable car in the range. Still, in most situations, a 570S is better still. Then there's the road noise. As is the case with the 911, the GT's massive wheels and tyres cause noticeable amounts of drone at 70mph; this grates after an hour or so at the wheel.
The interior layout, fit and finish
The interior of the GT looks almost as dramatic as the outside, thanks to a bulbous centre console that fences the driver off from the passenger. Material quality is sadly lacking, though.
Some of the plastic panels are lightweight – the stability control panel on the GT R is flimsier than an OJ Simpson defence plea – and the faux-metal trim (actually plastic) on the centre console, is seriously low-rent for such a high-value car. Oh yes, and the entry-level version comes with plastic 'leather' and fake suede seat trim. McLaren, Porsche and Audi all do it much, much better.
On the centre console, you’ll find a myriad of buttons and switches to change the character of the car; among other things, you can adjust the responsiveness of the accelerator, the speed of gearshifts and the loudness of the exhaust.
Fortunately, it’s not as complicated as it looks at first glance, but the oddly positioned gear selector – positioned closer to your elbow than your hand – makes swapping from park to drive or reverse an act of contortion.
The infotainment system is standard Mercedes fare. That means most major functions are easy enough to use, and it's a more up-to-date Mercedes interface than Aston Martin borrows for its DB11, with a larger, clearer 10.3in screen. That said, the touchpad controller isn't as intuitive as the rotary dial you get in a BMW M8 or Audi R8, and the software isn't as slick. Add the Plus Pack and you'll get an upgraded Burmester stereo with 10 speakers and 640 watts of power.
The standard digital dials, on a 12.3in screen, are easy to read and can be set-up in various styles. There’s also lots of seat and steering wheel adjustment to help drivers of different sizes get comfortable, and the seats themselves are supportive – especially the AMG bucket seats.
Rear visibility isn’t too bad, but you'll still be glad of the rear parking sensors and rear-view camera; the long bonnet – the end of which you can’t really see –means you’ll need to rely on the front parking sensors, too.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The GT doesn’t have the small but useful rear seats of the Porsche 911; it’s a strict two-seater. However, there's plenty of leg and head room for a couple of six-footers.
In fact, in terms of accommodation alone, the GT would actually be practical to use every day – thanks in no small part to its good-sized boot, which is accessed by a hatchback-style tailgate. It has a respectable 350-litre capacity, which is more space than you get in the 911 and R8, and enough for a couple of weekend bags.
In terms of storage, things are a little less impressive. The door pockets are small and the glovebox is suitable only for… well, gloves. Thankfully, there’s a decent-sized cubby with two cupholders between driver and passenger.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Even the cheapest GT Edition 476 is a big chunk of change – more expensive than the entry-level Porsche 911. The more expensive models, such as the GT R and Pro, are a big step up in price, and sit nearer the likes of the McLaren 570S and Aston Martin DB11.
Fuel, tax, insurance and tyre bills are also going to be steep, but the same is true of rivals. As the saying goes: if you can afford to buy it, you can probably afford to run it.
The GT Coupe comes reasonably equipped, with 19in alloy wheels at the front and 20in wheels at the rear, privacy glass, dual-zone climate control and keyless start. You'll need to add the pricey Plus Package to get the sort of things you might expect at this price, such as keyless entry, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, power-folding door mirrors and a panoramic sunroof. There are also plenty of pricey performance options, such as track-focused carbon-ceramic brakes.
In terms of which GT Coupe you should buy, we reckon the Edition 476 makes the most sense. More expensive versions are dynamically not up to rivals that are available for similar money, so the Edition 476 gives those that want the GT's looks and noise the experience without the leap in price.
Safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and driver attention alert, but the GT hasn't been certified by Euro NCAP.
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|RRP price range
|£156,415 - £180,765
|Number of trims (see all)
|Number of engines (see all)
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)
|petrol, petrol parallel phev
|MPG range across all versions
|20 - 32.5
|Available doors options
|3 years / No mileage cap
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)
|£4,621 / £13,180
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)
|£9,241 / £26,360