Mercedes-amg GT C
We loved Roadster. Now we get behind wheel of thrilling 550bhp coupé.
Why 550bhp coupé could be the most complete AMG GT yet
THE Mercedes-amg GT was a single car when it was launched two years ago, but since then the model line-up has expanded so rapidly that Mercedes now refers to it as the “AMG GT family”. Ranging from the standard 470bhp GT to the track focused 577bhp GT R via the S version and GT Roadster, it provides buyers with plenty of choice. So where does the GT C fit?
The 550bhp GT C borrows some crucial elements from the GT R – the wider body and rear track, active rear-wheel steering and a portion of the extra power – to make it more focused to drive than the standard car. But it’s also supposed to be a more usable and subtle package than the GT R.
We were impressed by the GT C Roadster when we drove it in the UK earlier this year (Issue 1,466), but does the coupé version do anything to change our view? It’s not as expensive as the equivalent drop-top (by £11,500), for starters. But for the time being, the coupé is only initially available in limitedrun ‘Edition 50’ spec, celebrating 50 years of AMG. This adds matt paint, black chrome trim and wheels, plus quilted leather upholstery.
The coupé is 70kg lighter than the Roadster, on account of the removed folding roof mechanism and reduced chassis strengthening. But to be honest, you’ll be hard-pushed to notice the lower weight on the road. What you will spot is the bigger boot, making this a true grand tourer.
Yet what makes the GT C more appealing than the GT and GT S is its sheer breadth of ability. The stretched rear track makes it feel impressively planted and composed where lesser AMG GTS lack finesse, scything through fast bends with barely any body movement. The steering is another real improvement – it’s still super direct, so takes a bit of getting used to, but there’s more feel and natural weighting than in this car’s cheaper siblings. This combines to give a confidence-inspiring experience, allowing you to build speed and exploit the car’s grip.
The momentous traction, combined with the GT C’s near-two-metre width, means this isn’t a lairy, old-school AMG car, however. While it was reasonably easy to place on the road on our German test route, we suspect Britain’s narrow B-roads may make it more intimidating. It’s far from straight-laced,
“The GT C’s exhaust is more vocal than lesser GTS’ and offers a cacophony of crackles and bangs”
though. You can thank the engine for that. We’re very familiar with AMG’S hand-built 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, and it remains a dominating feature in the GT C.
All 680Nm of torque arrives at 1,900rpm, and from there the GT C builds speed with explosive urge. It rifles through the gears rapidly, particularly in the racier drivetrain settings, and it feels every bit as fast in-gear as a Porsche 911 Turbo. It’s also remarkably responsive for a turbo engine, seeming happy to rip through to the red line.
The speed is only half the story, though, as no AMG V8 would be complete without the trademark guttural soundtrack. The GT C’s unique exhaust means it’s more vocal than lesser AMG GTS, snarling off the line and offering a cacophony of crackles and bangs when you lift off. It’s addictive, and provides an element of theatre that some rivals lack.
Equally impressive is that once switched to Comfort mode, with adaptive suspension damping the worst intrusions and the exhaust in its quietest setting, the GT C will cruise serenely all day long. It’s still a firm car, but it manages to feel less jiggly than the standard AMG GT. But we’ll reserve full judgement until we get to try it in the UK.
And it’s in this setting that the brutish Mercedes allows its occupants to enjoy the lavishly trimmed cockpit. All GTS remain ergonomically flawed, but the high-quality materials and knurled switches give the luxurious Audi R8 a run for its money.
The only fly in the ointment that stops us recommending the GT C is the price hike caused by the Edition 50 spec. However, Mercedes will launch a more modest version of the coupé once this one has sold out.
Edition 50 version gets plush quilted diamond leather seats and black cabin detailing
NEED TO KNOW Edition 50 is only GT C available at launch, but standard car will appear when this top-spec model sells out New GT C features wider track of GT R model, but is designed to be more usable
INTERIOR Ergonomically flawed cabin feels tight for taller adults, but luxurious materials and a clear screen make up for it. Knurled metals, gloss plastics and leather cover all surfaces
ENGINE Bellowing 4.0-litre twinturbo V8 remains the star of the show, screaming to the red line with pops and crackles when you lift off. Drive modes (above) allow you to alter settings