2020 Mercedes-AMG GT First Drive Review: Dialed For Speed

1

In a world where supercars have nearly become common, Mercedes-AMG keeps its AMG GT Coupé and Convertible fresh with all the right touches, and sounds. But will it be enough or is it still too much?

Stuttgart, Germany. It’s all quite crazy when we think about it; if you’re in the market for a high-powered performance car under a quarter-million dollars, you have at least a dozen to choose from. In this mad for luxury-exotic cars world, Mercedes-AMG has re-tweaked the GT Coupé and Convertible in order to capture more attention. The upgrades are barely more than skin-deep but the AMG GT was already an impressive piece.

In this exclusive segment, one car, oddly enough a fairly common one, stands head and shoulders above them all. The Porsche 911, built not all that far from Affalterbach where AMG cars are assembled, is the one to beat.


As sensual as always

2020 Mercedes-AMG GT | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

In order to attempt to upset this order, Mercedes-AMG has freshened its high-performance sports car, aligning it more with the very cool and menacing GT 4-door with similar LED headlamps, new side sills, a redesigned rear apron and diffuser. The most obvious updates include a selection of new wheels which, from almost any distance create the greatest visual impact along with the addition of the brilliant blue magno color seen on the tested GT C.

The new 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT is desperately sexy, to be certain. To see one is to be reminded how special the car truly is. Likewise, the car’s cabin delivers the full exotic-car experience.


Tech upgrades

2020 Mercedes-AMG GT | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

For 2020, the GT gains a standard 10.25-inch driver information display along with a 12.3-inch central screen. The driver IP is fully configurable while the central monitor is not touch-sensitive but can easily enough be controlled via the new command pad, by the passenger.

The center console is gargantuan, and the apposed controls are set far back on it. This creates an incredible cockpit feel for the driver however accessing the touch-sensitive pad is distracting. The 2020 AMG GT also features a new AMG performance steering wheel that includes switchgear on the right-hand spoke for said display, but they are no less disruptive. Redundant AMG Driving Dynamics programs, sport exhaust and Drive Modes buttons are mounted on the wheel to limit the need for the driver to reach.

To note, Smartphone Integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard however Mercedes-Benz MBUX is not available.

The AMG GT C will surely represent the bulk of GT sales in Canada. It will include fully adjustable leather-clad seats while the GT R’s fixed-back buckets are truly for spirited driving.


How good a driver is it?

2020 Mercedes-AMG GT | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The new 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT C and GT R are exceptional. Actually, exceptional barely begins to describe what it is the GT is capable of.

The bi-turbo 4.0-litre V8 is a masterpiece, a tower of power and responsiveness. On paper, the GT C’s tune provides 550-horsepower and 502 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,900 rpm to 5,750 rpm, right when the cavalry arrives. The GT R is up 27-horsepower and 14 lbs. of torque and despite official specs depicting the GT R being 0.1 seconds to 100 km/h faster than the GT C at 3.6 seconds, they’re even. And insanely fast.

The Mercedes-AMG GT was designed and built to be driven and driven hard. All of its mechanical components are capable of delivering 11/10 and with only one exception, the GT can behave like a real grand touring car.

The rear-mounted 7-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT transaxle can be just as comfortable working major Stuttgart traffic at 6pm on a Thursday as it will shifting through gear as though it a was an AK47 firing bullets. My favorite aspect of the GT’s drive is steering. Its precision, sharpness and perfect weight are fantastic. It loads up immediately without delay and actually transmits just enough info from the front wheels to inspire confidence. Coupled with the standard AMG rear-axle steering, the GT feels incredibly stable as well as nimble negotiating high-speed switchbacks.


AMG Dynamics good. Adjustable dampers not as good

2020 Mercedes-AMG GT | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Here is where AMG DYNAMICS seamlessly takes over. Through a series of sensors, the system prompts all accompanying accessories depending on the selected mode. There are four modes and are named “Basic”, “Advanced”, “Pro” and “Master”. Through most of the day, I settled on Advanced which is described by Mercedes as: “The lower yaw damping, lower steering angle requirement and enhanced agility support dynamic maneuvers such as driving on winding country roads.” That it did.

Unfortunately, the 4-wheel double-wishbone suspension with coil-overs and adaptive dampers is, unlike the other components, unable to dial itself down to a level that would make the GT comfortable to drive in the real-world. This is that one exception. The vast majority of the roads we covered were extremely smooth – this enabled me to actually feel the front suspension compress slightly under load through switchbacks. The dampers needed only handle the wheel and the car’s weight and not with ruts and bumps. When the surface was less than perfect, both my driving partner and I were immediately made aware through acute chassis judders.


Where the Mercedes-AMG fits 

2020 Mercedes-AMG GT | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

This singular issue is enough to upset all the good the car does in every other respect, chiefly if this AMG GT will be driven on a daily basis. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT C and GT R are extremely potent near-race capable road cars, more so than the first few layers of the outgoing 991.2 Porsche 911. The main difference however is that the 911 can fully dial itself down to 1 and reach 11 when the driver desires. By comparison, a BMW M850i can do “1” but tops out at “9”, is more comfortable but, nowhere near as special. The 911 suffers the same “not as special” fate as the BMW but it’s a 911.

Even when all settings are in Comfort or Normal, the GT feels as though it’s at “5”. What’s more, the Porsche 911 Carrera S PDK and BMW M850i are less expensive, and just as quick.

I gained an enormous amount of admiration for the new 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT and while I love it, it would not make my list of options if I was shopping for one high-powered performance car. If I was a multi-millionaire, I would purchase one after a 911, a McLaren 570S, an M850i, an Audi R8 and a few others.


2020 Mercedes-AMG GT Photo Gallery

2020 Mercedes-AMG GT | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Mercedes-AMG GT | Photo: Matt St-Pierre
2020 Mercedes-AMG GT | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.