Mercedes AMG GT on show in Paris

The Mercedes AMG GT rivals the Porsche 911 with a blend of performance and useability

Mercedes has pulled the wraps off its new Porsche 911 rival – the Mercedes AMG GT – at the Paris Motor Show. The two-seater sports car gets a choice of two powerful V8 engines and aims to better the Porsche’s blend of performance and everyday useability while also taking on Jaguar’s F-Type.

Delivering the performance is the choice of two powerful 4.0-litre V8 petrol engines, with 456bhp in the standard AMG GT and 503bhp in the racier AMG GT S. The 'basic' car gets from 0-62mph in four seconds and tops out at 189mph, while the GT S does 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds and keeps going to a 193mph top speed. Despite the performance, the basic AMG GT can return fuel economy of 30mpg and CO2 emissions of 216g/km for road tax of £285 annually – well short of the £500 you’ll pay in the top tax band.

Mercedes is keen to point out that this is only the second car to have been built entirely by the company’s AMG performance arm, so we can expect it to be more focused than a normal AMG-badged Mercedes.

That’s certainly evident when you look at the AMG GT’s specification sheet, which includes a lightweight aluminium body, front and rear double-wishbone suspension (as used in Formula One) and a race-developed cooling system that means the Mercedes can cope with high-speed circuit driving with no ill effects on the engine.

Adjustable settings allow the Mercedes to offer a split personality. These include three settings for the suspension – Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus (an optional extra on the standard car) and three presets for the stability control. The latter means the driver can opt for absolute safety or the ability to slide the car a bit with the stability control as a backup. The exhaust is also adjustable: it can be quiet and refined for relaxed cruising or loud and gruff for fast driving on your favourite road.

The Mercedes comes as standard with a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, which should be smooth and refined at all speeds. But, at the touch of button, it can also offer quick manual changes via steering wheel-mounted paddles. There are five shift speed settings that vary from comfortable and slow to brutal and quick.

Of the two models, the GT S is the sportiest. Aside from the more powerful engine, it’s lighter and gets an electronic limited-slip differential. That will give even more grip than the standard car’s mechanical system, while the S can also be specified with AMG DYNAMIC PLUS, which adds a host of equipment that make the S even faster in bends.

Buyers of both the GT and the GT S have the option of grippy sports tyres and powerful ceramic brakes, which can perform multiple hard stops with no affect on performance.

It’s not just everyday useability that the GT shares with the Porsche 911; the car’s sloping rear roofline bears an uncanny resemblance to the iconic Porsche. In the case of the Mercedes, some might find the look less cohesive, as the back is at odds with the traditional long bonnet of a Mercedes sports car. It looks aggressive thanks to ‘power bulges’ and numerous air vents to help cool the engine. From the back, the hatchback-like boot opening mirrors the Jaguar F-Type coupe's, while big exhausts hint at the performance on offer.

The sporty feel continues inside thanks to low-set seats and a huge transmission tunnel that cocoons the driver. Leather and bare metal are used throughout the interior and there’s a variety of classy finishes to choose from. The car also gets a small steering wheel and sporty looking dials in deep-cowled housings.

The GT is a strict two-seater, but space for two adults is set to be generous, with the Merc benefitting from a large storage area in the centre console, a big glovebox and two cup-holders. The 350-litre boot is also pretty decent, although it’s more than 50 litres short of the Jaguar F-Type Coupe’s capacity.

Equipment levels will be high and both models come with Mercedes' COMAND controller, which includes a touchpad and a seven-inch TFT screen. That grows to 8.4 inches if you opt for the COMAND Online pack.

Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, attention assist (which warns the driver when they need a break) and tyre-pressure monitors that can detect when the car has a flat tyre. Options include automatic dipping headlights, automatic parking, a reversing camera, lane-keeping assistance, a blind-spot warning system, and traffic-sign recognition.

The AMG GT will go on sale later this year for around £120,000. Head to the Carbuyer Mercedes reviews page for all the latest reviews of the Mercedes range.

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