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2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Overview

Aiming to shed its image as a builder of sedate luxury sedans, Mercedes-Benz’s reinvigoration of its AMG division over the last decade has resulted in its pinnacle achievement so far: the AMG GT coupe.

With AMG now standing apart as its own division within the Mercedes family, not simply a trim level, the group has become free to work on its own projects. The GT lineup, which debuted initially as the high-performance GT S, grows for 2017 with the more accessible (but still ferocious) AMG GT. In AMG-speak, adding the letter S to the end of a trim's nameplate means it offers more performance—but also more compromise. S trims tend to be faster but also more aggressive to drive and, of course, more expensive.

The AMG GT, instead, shoots for the Porsche 911 and the Audi R8 V8, two highly-established German sports cars. More frugal shoppers will find similar performance, if a slightly lower degree of refinement inside, in the Chevrolet Corvette.

By contrast, the AMG GT S guns more for the Porsche 911 GTS and the Audi R8 V10.

To that end, the AMG GT utilizes a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine rated at a stellar 456 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, figures that will help it sprint from a standstill to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds. Step up to the GT S and you’ll net the same engine tuned to deliver 503 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, enough to shave about two-tenths of a second off that 0-60 mph sprint.

One thing that sets either variant of the AMG GT apart from some rivals, however, is that neither offers a manual transmission. A 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is the only gearbox available. The dual-clutch design provides rocket-fast shifts completed much faster by the car’s computer than would be possible for a human.

Both deliver the same 2-door styling and firm-riding, grip-oriented high-performance suspension. Given the model was developed on Germany’s demanding race tracks—and to excel on its network of non-speed-limited autobahns—the AMG GT’s credentials make both variants legitimate rivals to Porsche and Audi.

Unlike those German competitors, however, the AMG GT is offered only with rear-wheel drive, as well as a limited-slip differential to apportion power between the rear wheels. An adaptive suspension is adjustable at the tap of a button, as are elements like the car’s throttle response and transmission tuning.

An optional Dynamic Plus package brings with it a host of performance upgrades like special transmission and engine mounts to deliver improved handling, as well as a unique tune to the engine that changes where its peak power occurs. In short, it seems like a worthwhile option for those looking to get the most out of an AMG GT.

One thing that helps the AMG GT stand apart from its predecessors is a comfort mode that makes it considerably more docile in daily driving. With a refined interior and a relatively cavernous cargo area, the AMG GT is the first of its breed that can truly be driven comfortably on a day-to-day basis (although opting for winter tires would help in snowy climates).

Helping keep drivers and passengers in place are special performance seats wrapped in Nappa leather trim. Otherwise, the AMG GT’s cabin is so refined that it could easily have been plucked from any other model in the Mercedes lineup. Luxury options are limited primarily to a high-zoot Burmester audio system, a blind-spot monitor, and, of course, a near endless array of paint and upholstery choices.

Updated by Andrew Ganz

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