Mercedes AMG GT – Should you sell your Porsche for one?

Certain automotive manufacturers have always ruled the roost in their respective sectors. For example, BMW has locked out the mid-size sedan market with its 3 Series for decades, few other hot hatches could touch the Volkswagen Golf and if you wanted a 2-door sports car, there was little reason to ignore the Porsche 911. 

These cars have always held a special place in the hearts of petrol heads, generally because the 911s have been available with almost every option under the sun. Whether you want the ultimate in luxury or a stripped out racing interior, a turbo charged or a normally aspirated engine, four-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, Porsche has been more then ready to accommodate a driver's needs. 

Naturally, the vehicle has always had rivals. Ferrari's flagship models such as the recent 458 have always positioned themselves in opposition, and the 'baby lambos' like the Gallardo and Huracan could provide a more flamboyant alternative to the 911's classic stature. 

Now, there's a new kid in town. Mercedes can't really be considered a fresh face on the supercar scene, but they also don't quite have the same expertise as marques such as the aforementioned trio. Sure the departing SLS has enough power to rip through the amount of tyres Pirelli produce in a day, but it never really took much away from more established alternatives. It did have gullwing doors though, which does give it extra points toward coolness. 

Mercedes also produced a vehicle with McLaren – the SLR. The car boasted a supercharged V8 and – of course – more ridiculous doors, ensuring no one could dispute its position as a supercar. After all, since the Lamborghini Countach in the '80s, supercars have always been judged as harshly by their potential as poster cars, along with their performance numbers. 

This leads into the AMG GT, a car built from the ground up to tackle the world's supercar elite. Despite this fact, it now has normal doors. Here's what sets it apart. 

The future is turbo charged

This is going to get – just a little bit – technical. But science is cool when it concerns turbos right? Right. 

No longer resigned to being little more than boy racer fodder, turbo charging is now here to save the environment. Soon, the only way to secure a screaming V12 supercar will be at a classic car auction, with the much-loved engine configuration swiftly and unfortunately becoming a dinosaur in an age of fuel saving. 

It's not all bad news, and it means turbo development has evolved rapidly. In the '80s, it existed for little more than making cars insane.

To use a well-publicised example, the BMW M12 engine used in Formula 1 throughout the '80s was only 1.5 litres in size, smaller than most current Corolla engines. With the addition of mammoth – and obscenely inefficient – turbos, the engine was able to churn out more than 1500 horsepower in qualifying trim.

The result? More power, sure, but instead of coming on smoothly as is usually desired, this early turbo technology simply dumped a whole heap of extra thrust at a certain rev range. It also meant that engines lasted no more than around four laps of a standard Grand Prix circuit. Nothing represents '80s excess more than throwing out an engine after barely 10 minutes of use. 

Thankfully, we now live in an age of refinement, where lag compensation efforts mean turbos aren't the definition of insanity they once were. While the biturbo V8 cranks out more than 500 horsepower and almost as much torque, it's packaged in a much more manageable format than turboed cars of old. 

There's also an important distinction to make regarding 'biturbo'. It's merely a marketing term for twin turbos, meaning the AMG GT's already competent engine receives double the boost. 

Balance of power

As mentioned above, the AMG GT's unofficial ancestor – the SLS – was bit of a handful, happy to dump its hundreds of horsepower with even the slightest press of the loud pedal.

With the AMG GT, Mercedes has realised that if it's to steal the Porsche's thunder, it needs to abandon a bit of the marque's trademark insanity. To achieve this, Mercedes has focused on balance and handling, gifting the AMG GT with perfect weight distribution and a rear-wheel drive powertrain to craft the ultimate in driving dynamics. 

It's not all function over form however, as the AMG GT is equipped with staggered wheel sizes. The rear end sports 20-inch tyres, while the front makes do with 19s. The result? A forward-leaning aggressive stance that signals the firm's performance-oriented intentions. 

Just in case that isn't aggressive enough for your tastes, Mercedes offers the option of having these rims painted matte black – a transformative feature that should be a choice with every new vehicle purchase. 

What are the technology options on the Mercedes AMG GT?

Mercedes has always been on the cutting-edge of innovation, with its S-Class series of cars existing as the ultimate in luxury sedans. The latest one even has night vision as a safety feature. How many other cars adopt military technology in the pursuit of saving lives? Not enough. 

In fact, the AMG GT is so committed to being at the forefront of developing technology that you can't even have a manual version. While it will be considered sacrilege by old-school purists, it simply comes down to the fact that these transmissions are too slow. 

In the world of supercars, performance figures are defined by milliseconds. Despite the fact that nothing promotes driver engagement more than a left foot on the clutch and a hand on the shifter, it's simply not fast enough. 

Instead, a 7-speed dual clutch transmission is fitted as standard to every AMG GT. However, flappy-paddle shifters means that drivers can still change gear when they want, bringing the car more in line to its GT3 racing brethren. 

This technology focus also enables the AMG GT to embrace fuel efficiency as well. The gearbox has three selectable modes, ensuring drivers don't have to drive around at the speed of sound draining all nearby petrol stations. 

Why not go racing?

The rivalry between the AMG GT and the Porsche 911 is not just limited to city streets. Mercedes is pursusing its German rival's racing crown as well, and keen customers will be able to purchase AMG GT GT3 racing cars. Nothing makes a vehicle look more enticing than race specification, and the AMG GT's predatory stance has been further augmented by these welcome additions. 

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However, the AMG GT has its work cut out if it thinks it can rival the Porsche on track. The 911 has been raced in GT3 configuration for decades, with all-Porsche categories serving as a stepping stone for budding race car drivers. 

Mercedes does have some successs to build on, as the SLS GT3s of the past few years did manage to secure some victories in the cutthroat events around the world, so they aren't coming at it completely blind. 

So, should you sell your Porsche?

It's a tough question, and we're sure every petrol head would love to make room in their garage for both, but the AMG GT is ready to give the 911 and all its variants a true run for their money. 

Ultimately, the choice is yours. V8 or flat 6? Power or precision? Either way, you'll drive away with a smile on your face.


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