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AMG's new weapon, the Mercedes GTS

15.07.2015

I don't know if it started out as a dare or if it was an actual challenge but someone at the Mercedes-Benz AMG plant in Affalterbach, Germany arrived at work one morning and proposed that they make a Porsche 911 rival. I'm pretty sure that everyone in the office erupted with laughter at this ridiculous suggestion until he told them that he was serious. I imagine that the room went silent and everyone looked at each other, nodding in agreement. A Porsche 911 rival, now that's a bold statement. Well, Mercedes-Benz AMG reckons that it has built just such a rival and I spent the day trying to tame it.

What is it?

To put it bluntly, the Mercedes-AMG GTS is a bold, unlikely move aimed squarely at the Porsche 911. And it's a move that AMG has – in my opinion- completely succeeded with, at least in terms of design and performance. Mercedes-Benz AMG is also adamant that this is not a replacement for the now discontinued SLS supercar. The GTS is a car that has been built by racers.

Born to race

Mercedes-Benz is renowned in the motoring world for giving us some of the best German built muscle cars. Cars such as the S63 AMG coupe, the C63 AMG and the SLS Black Series are sledgehammers designed to be both brutal and menacing. The GTS on the other hand is a precision tool, effective and precise. The most impressive handling AMG car to date, that I’ve driven. In fact, you have handling that’s capable of rivalling the current Porsche 911. What’s more is that the GT makes use of the SLS’s front axle setup which uses hydraulic steering and not electric like in the Porsche. The front axle grip is impressive and the steering feel and response is beyond fantastic.

The GTS features many hidden enhancements which improve its handling characteristic, for example it employs the use of dynamic engine mounts which can change the viscosity of the damper, this ultimately decreases unwanted movement and improves balance. A transaxle configuration has been used, this means that the engine is in the front and the gearbox, which is a new 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox is at the rear. The benefits of this is better weight balancing and improved handling. Connecting the engine to the gearbox is a massive yet light carbon fibre prop shaft. The rear axle design is all new and unique to the AMG GTS.

Internal affairs

Inside the AMG GTS you are greeted by premium leathers, real metals, and top-tier plastics. The centre console finished in silver catches your eye, it’s surrounded by all sorts of buttons that do all sorts of wonderful things. I particularly like the Start Engine button. There is a centre mounted tablet like screen nestled on the dashboard which controls all the important infotainment functions. It’s a snug place to be yet space is limited but who cares, especially when you are sitting low down, hugged by a sports bucket seat and you have a mile of bonnet in front of you. 

If looks could kill

I have a confession; I don’t find the GTS very pretty. It’s not ugly but you need to catch it at the right angle before it becomes sexy, like S-Class coupe sexy. One such angle is undoubtedly the side profile, its clean lines, long bonnet and set back cabin really reminds me of the SLS, and it should because as I mentioned, this might not be a replacement but Mercedes-Benz has still draw inspiration from the SLS. The GTS features big AMG designed rims which further enhance its presence. Another nice angle is if you are standing directly in front of the car, looking down upon that long bonnet towards the passenger cell. The car sits low to the ground which improves its centre of gravity. 

However, the best angle has to be the rear end of the car. It features long, narrow tail lights and a beautifully rounded bum. I guess the designers decided to pay special attention to the rear because that is what most people are going to see.

A growl that intimidates the road itself

The Mercedes-Benz AMG GTS makes use of a 4.0-litre twin turbocharged V8, similar to that found in the new C63 model but with some slight upgrades. The engine develops a menacing 375kW and a monstrous 650Nm of torque but it is the sound that this car makes that truly gets my heart pounding. It’s loud, rough and explosive, the boys out at Affalterbach really nailed the aural pleasure brief, especially when it changes gears. The car has an active exhaust system which means that you are able to quieten it down if you wish by a push of a button but that’s silly, it needs to be loud.

Out on the road I managed to reach speeds of up to, well I’d rather not say as it could land me in trouble. What I can tell you is that it will hit 100km/h from stand still in about 3.8 seconds. At the local launch I found myself behind the wheel of the AMG GTS Edition 1. This model features a fixed rear boot spoiler instead of the standard electronic one. It also featured a carbon fibre roof, optional carbon ceramic brakes and an aero kit which adds a few go-faster bits here and there. The Edition 1 is how the GTS should look in my opinion.

Final thoughts

After a day of driving the AMG GTS on road and track it is without a doubt that Mercedes-Benz has given the world a true Porsche 911 rival. The car handles like no other AMG before it. The GTS is a true sports car in every sense of the word and it utilises the latest and greatest technologies in order to enhance ones driving experience. It also works well as a long distance GT car, as the name suggests. What’s more is that the design possibilities with the  GTS are endless. I’m pretty sure that we will see many more variants of the AMG GT in the near future but as for right now, damn, what a brilliant car. 

Pricing:

AMG GT: 340kW 650Nm R1 642 000 (arriving at a later stage)
AMG GTS: 375kW 650Nm R1 981 000 available now

Article written by Justin Jacobs
15.07.2015
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