Edric has a go in the AMG GT, and it’s not quite what he ex­pects.

Torque (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

AALMOST ev­ery other piece I’ve read about the Mercedes-AMG GT touts it as some sort of ri­val to the Porsche 911. Fun­nily enough, Mercedes has, back in the day (from the 1960s to the early-90s, to be ex­act), ac­tu­ally built a 911 be­fore, ex­cept that it was a heavy-duty multi-pur­pose truck, the three-ton­ner vari­ant of which Sin­ga­porean men of a cer­tain age will re­call rid­ing in dur­ing their NS days. But back to the AMG GT. De­spite the model hav­ing been around for a cou­ple of years now, I’d never driven it, so I bor­rowed one to have a go the other day. Just for ed­u­ca­tional pur­poses. Ahem. They handed me the keys to the full-fat GT S ver­sion with the higher-pow­ered 510bhp en­gine, no less. It’s the hard­est-core model in the AMG range, at least un­til the re­cently an­nounced GT C and GT R vari­ants ar­rive in Sin­ga­pore. And hav­ing sam­pled the car for my­self, I can re­port that the pun­dits have got it wrong. The AMG is noth­ing like the Porsche 911.

For one thing, it grabs you by the eye­balls in a way that the more func­tion­ally styled Porsche doesn’t. That ex­trav­a­gantly long front end is sug­ges­tive of un­told cu­bic ca­pac­ity and horse­power lurk­ing un­der the end­less bon­net, whereas the Porsche is much more

cab-for­ward, less overtly mus­cu­lar, its pow­er­plant dis­creetly con­tained within its trade­mark hunch­backed tail. The AMG is much more of an event to sit in, too – its cabin lav­ished in leather and chrome, its bat­tery of dash­mounted eye­ball air vents im­part­ing vis­ual drama, its high and wide trans­mis­sion tun­nel adding to the sense of oc­ca­sion.

The 911’s cabin, on the other hand, is well-made and su­perbly er­gonomic, but fairly mun­dane in lay­out and so en­tirely de­void of aes­thetic flour­ish that right now I can’t re­call what it looks like with­out Googling a picture.

And the re­spec­tive driv­ing experiences are very dif­fer­ent, too. In the AMG, per­haps be­cause you’re seated al­most two-thirds back along the car’s length, you feel like you’re at the helm of some­thing mas­sive and mighty – an im­pres­sion am­pli­fied by the per­cus­sive, bel­liger­ent V8 sound­track re­ver­ber­at­ing from its tailpipes with ev­ery throt­tle blip. The Porsche feels like a much smaller car to sit in (which it is), its flat-6 en­gine sings a hard­eredged tune, and it piv­ots into cor­ners with far less in­er­tia. It’s the age-old sportscar-ver­susGT di­chotomy. So, no, the AMG GT isn’t Mercedes’ take on the 911. Rather, it’s a big, bruis­ing coupe, a gen­tle­man’s mus­cle car in the ilk of a Jaguar F-Type V8 or an Aston DB11. To me, a 911 from Mercedes is still a truck painted green.

The MercedesBenz L 911 lorry did its “na­tional ser­vice” in Sin­ga­pore as the ven­er­a­ble SAF three­ton­ner. FUN FACT: THE FIRST 911 THAT EDRIC EVER DROVE WAS A MERCEDES TRUCK, NOT A PORSCHE SPORTS CAR.

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