Evo India - - Radar - Words: Sirish Chan­dran

With an SLS-in­spired sil­hou­ette, stun­ning de­sign and a brand new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, Mercedes-AMG's

sec­ond be­spoke model takes aim at the 911

DIAL 911 BE­CAUSE MERCEDES-AMG has cocked its ri­fle and trained sights on Zuf­fen­hausen. This is the AMG GT, the re­place­ment for the spec­tac­u­larly gull­winged SLS AMG and slot­ted one seg­ment lower. It's built to di­rectly ri­val the ven­er­a­ble Porsche, as well as a whole host of ac­com­plished ri­vals in­clud­ing the Audi R8 and Jaguar F-type. Es­ti­mated to be priced in the re­gion of ` 1.3 crore when it is launched in mid-2015 in In­dia, the AMG GT will be sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than the ` 2.4 crore price tag the SLS wore to­wards the end of its run, and will be the sec­ond se­ries pro­duc­tion model from Mercedes-Benz's per­for­mance car di­vi­sion in Af­fal­ter­bach in Ger­many.

Sim­i­lar to the SLS AMG, the GT has an Alu­minium space­frame chas­sis but apart from the pas­sen­ger cell, which is car­ried over, the rest of it has been de­signed from scratch. The AMG GT has a shorter wheel­base and re­duced over­hangs for bet­ter agility, though the width and tyre sizes re­main the same as the SLS.

The coupe is clothed in a light­weight Alu­minium body struc­ture that is claimed to weigh 231kg. Only the rear hatch is steel and you can op­tion a glass or Car­bon fi­bre roof. The front cross-mem­ber is in even lighter Mag­ne­sium – a crit­i­cal area to keep weight down as it is ahead of the front axle line. There's a be­spoke dou­ble wish­bone front and multi-link rear sus­pen­sion also made largely from Alu­minium.

The en­gine is the brand new M178 4.0-litre di­rect-in­jec­tion V8, closely re­lated to the CLA 45 AMG's four-cylin­der unit with which it shares a bore and stroke. Dubbed ‘hot-V', the twin tur­bocharg­ers are squeezed be­tween the cylin­der banks, keep­ing the mo­tor com­pact. Mounted well be­hind the front axle line for a front mid-ships lay­out, the en­gine gets Nanoslide low-fric­tion cylin­der-bore sur­faces that also fea­ture on AMG's F1 en­gines, forgedA­lu­minium pis­tons, Zir­co­nium al­loy cylin­der heads and a dry-sump lu­bri­ca­tion sys­tem. And de­spite the tur­bos, AMG prom­ises a prop­erly full-chested AMG sound­track and none of that ex­haust piped through the speak­ers stuff.

To give it 43:57 front/rear weight dis­tri­bu­tion, the 7-speed twin-clutch Ge­trag gear­box is mounted at the rear in a transaxle lay­out, con­nected via a Car­bon fi­bre torque tube. The ESP sys­tem gets two Sport modes: S for bumpy race­tracks like the Nur­bur­gring, S+ for ul­tra smooth tracks like Hock­en­heim and our very own BIC. The GT S gets Race mode (launch con­trol) and of course, you can switch ESP off com­pletely. It may not be as lairy and over­steery as the SLS was, but the GT is also de­signed to be a lot of fun, “not like a Playsta­tion”.

The AMG GT will be avail­able in two guises: the stan­dard vari­ant gets 456bhp at 6000rpm and 600Nm of torque be­tween 1600rpm and 5000rpm. The GT S gets 503bhp at 6250rpm and 650Nm from 1750-4750rpm for a claimed 0-100kmph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 310kmph (4.0 seconds and 303kmph for the GT). Both ver­sions get a lock­ing rear dif­fer­en­tial, me­chan­i­cal on the GT, elec­tronic on the GT S for faster re­sponse and ac­cu­racy. The GT S also gets ac­tive dampers from F1 sup­plier Mul­ti­matic, which are faster act­ing and more pre­cise

than reg­u­lar mag­ne­torhe­o­log­i­cal units. Ac­tive en­gine and driv­e­line mounts can also be spec­i­fied – all four in­di­vid­u­ally con­trol­lable – to pre­vent the torque tube and trans­mis­sion from flex­ing un­der ac­cel­er­a­tive load.

Brakes are mas­sive 360mm steel discs on the GT, while the GT S gets in­creased 390mm discs at the front. Car­bon-ce­ramic discs mea­sur­ing 402mm at the front and 360mm at the rear can also be spec­i­fied for fur­ther per­for­mance gains and weight re­duc­tion. Steer­ing is elec­tro-hy­draulic, claimed to be tuned for bet­ter ac­cu­racy and feed­back. Nine­teen-inch 255/35 front and 295/35 tyres are fit­ted on the GT, while the GT S gets fatter 265/35 19-inch fronts and 295/30 20- inch­ers at the rear.

To the styling then, and the sil­ver ar­row proportion­s look fan­tas­tic in the flesh, par­tic­u­larly with one of the dis­play cars cloaked in a matte Alu­minium fin­ish that in­stantly brought to mem­ory those leg­endary rac­ing cars. There are no gull­wing doors but the shape still has an ex­ag­ger­ated long bon­net and cab-rear­wards de­sign rem­i­nis­cent of the SLS, now with lovely de­tail­ing. The lift­back-style tail­gate is rem­i­nis­cent of the F-type, while there's an ac­tive rear spoiler to aid aero. The tail­gate also al­lows the GT to pass the golf bag test (two in fact, will fit) and the sus­pen­sion has been tuned to be com­fort­able when not on a race­track.

To ques­tions on hints of the 911 in the de­sign, ex­te­rior de­signer di­rec­tor Robert Les­nik says, “The


911 is an icon, but this company has some de­sign icons. We don't need to copy any­one.”

Inside, Mercedes has cre­ated an en­vi­ron­ment that is com­fort­able yet sporty, with a low seat­ing po­si­tion, con­cave door pan­elling and thick, curv­ing cen­tre con­sole en­com­pass­ing the pas­sen­gers. There's an 8.4-inch cen­tral screen sit­ting atop the dash, whilst a mix­ture of leather, Car­bon fi­bre trim and matte sil­ver fin­ishes add to the sport­ing lux­ury theme. The cen­tre con­sole's ‘Drive Unit' is even set in a V8 lay­out as a nod to what's bur­bling away up front.

Mo­tor­sport is at the heart of AMG and not only did Nico Ros­berg drive the AMG GT at the launch, but it was pre­ceded by the back cat­a­logue of great­est hits in­clud­ing the 300SEL 6.3 ‘Red Pig' and 300CE 6.0 ‘Ham­mer', while in the au­di­ence sat AMG founders Hans-Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher. That his­tory, along with the MercedesAM­G's pur­ple patch in For­mula 1 will be a cru­cial part of the AMG GT's ap­peal as it takes aim at the best from Zuf­fen­hausen, In­gol­stadt and Coven­try.

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