Salinas, CA -- The nomenclature for the all-new Mercedes-AMG GT S should be followed by OMG (oh my goodness) and half a dozen or so exclamation marks.
Its breath-taking design, commanding road presence, and incredible capability are nothing short of something that makes people utter the trifecta of words that represent astonishment.
What is the 2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S?
With two doors, two seats and two hands on the wheel, the new Mercedes-AMG GT S is pure driving pleasure. But before I get to its road-hugging abilities, let’s chat about this front mid-engine vehicle that is the second sports car developed entirely in-house by Mercedes-AMG -- the first being the gullwing SLS.
The catch phrase used in the product presentation happened to be “Handcrafted by Racers.”
Well, if racing DNA isn’t oozing out of every pore, I’m not sure what is.
Despite it being an ideal fit for tracking, you can still find yourself cozy and comfortable in the urban jungle. The test drive of this new beauty had us navigating the streets of San Francisco before hitting the pavement of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Under its long bonnet is a lovely piece of machinery. Front and centre you’ll find the letters “AMG” on the engine plate. That means it was hand-assembled to the strictest of standards.
The GT S is the more endowed version of the GT. It sports an all-new 4.0L, biturbo V8 with a herd of 510 horsepower. The GT version (which is due to come out after the GT S arrives in spring of 2015) puts out 462. Either way, you’re not lacking in ponies or pedigree.
It’s then matched to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission, whose shifts are as crisp and biting as a Canadian winter -- or in our case, a fall -- day.
Downshift rev-matching is a byproduct of its advanced technical features, and it does so with grace.
An aluminum spaceframe; V8 biturbo engine with dry sump lubrication; 7-speed dual-clutch transmission in transaxle configuration at the rear axle; locking differential; sports suspension with aluminum double-wishbone suspension; and the low curb weight of 1,540 kilograms are just a few bullet points on the GT S’s resume.
Driving the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S
When you hit speeds of 120km/hr, its retractable spoiler will manifest itself. There’s also a button you can press so it stays upright even if you’re not hurrying along. It’ll then nestle its way back into the rear at speeds under 80km/hr.
Because of its aforementioned long bonnet, low seating position and overall width, take heed when turning in the city. The GT S is not svelte, despite it feeling incredibly agile and nimble when at speed.
Inside and Out of the Mercedes-AMG GT S
Buttons. Magical buttons. To the right of the AMG DRIVE UNIT, there’s one labelled “M.” This means you’ll be in manual mode and shifting is literally at our fingertips.
On the left side, you’ll find more magic in the form of the AMG DYNAMIC CONTROL. With the twist of a dial, you can select between five modes: I for Individual (a personalization of how you want the car to behave), C for Comfort, S for Sport, S+ for Sport Plus, and R for Race. I wouldn’t recommend R for street use. Your electronic aids will be turned off and you don’t want to end up on YouTube under the “driving fails” category.
R is exclusively reserved for the GT S and is divine on the track. Even with minimal electronic intervention, the system will kick in if you really find yourself in a pinch. If that’s the case, try a few more laps in S+ mode to get even more familiar with how the GT S conducts itself.
On that note, this German thrill-maker is all about prim and proper when it needs to be. In C mode, you’re companions with a grand tourer that behaves like a member of the aristocracy: polite, and intelligent with a biting wit waiting to be unleashed.
When swapping to S mode, I didn’t feel that much of a shift; meaning, it wasn’t night and day in difference when it came to the overall feel of the drive. Those looking for something cushier in C mode might need to look elsewhere. Perhaps the S-Class?
You’ll enjoy your seat time nonetheless.
Comparing the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S
When it comes to the vehicles competing in this car’s class, you have the Porsche 911, Audi R8, and Jaguar F-Type. Each vehicle has its distinct flavour, but the GT is not one to shy from putting up a good fight to win your heart (and your wallet). It certainly comes equipped with the right components to do so.
Pricing has yet to be released, but will be announced closer to its arrival date in spring of 2015.