- The AMG GT Coupe returns!
- Muscular power from a twin-turbo V8.
- Handles extremely well with the aid of a sophisticated suspension system.
- More comfortable and practical than the last AMG GT.
First Drive: 2024 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Coupe Is the Rebirth of Slick
Mercedes-Benz races down a different road with the new AMG GT, aiming to build a timeless icon
My co-worker Kurt Niebuhr memorably described the previous generation (2016-2021) AMG GT as "part comic book hero, part German Dodge Viper." It's a clever summary of a sports car that stood out against the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 with its classic long-hood styling and slightly raffish performance.
But now Mercedes has launched the all-new 2024 AMG GT. In doing so, it's altered the script and plot, making the new car more practical and luxurious. This might seem to be a step backward compared to the original, but after driving it, I'm all for the AMG GT's new direction.
Mercedes' goals for the new AMG GT
You can check out Kurt's initial 2024 Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe first look article for all of the background details and specs. But I remember seeing the car from the article and immediately thinking that Mercedes is really going after the Porsche 911. After all, the new AMG GT is a 2+2 and has an athletic stance and rear design that reminds me of the vehicle from Zuffenhausen. But that would be selling Mercedes' vision short. The company's true goal is to create a new timeless icon founded on what it describes as “performance luxury.”
In a panel interview, Mercedes-Benz Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener described the first-generation AMG GT Coupe as “extreme” with its proportions and that his team’s design goal for the new AMG GT design was to focus on beauty and create something timeless and iconic. Mercedes-AMG CEO Michael Schiebe echoed that sentiment by stating that the aim was to build a foundation on “performance luxury, which starts with the flagship AMG GT Coupe.” The goal for the AMG GT is to provide a balance between power, performance and everything between.
What's the AMG GT like to drive?
I got to drive the AMG GT as part of a Mercedes-Benz event in Granada, Spain. First impression: Power delivery from the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine is immediate and linear. While one can always say that you'd like more power in a car, there’s no real need here with 469 horsepower on tap in the AMG GT 55 and 577 hp in the AMG GT 63. All-wheel drive is standard on both versions, but the system automatically adjusts to provide more rear power bias when needed to enhance the car's sporting potential.
Throttle response is dependent on what drive mode you’re in and there are six: Individual, Comfort, Slippery, Sport, Sport+ and Race. With Individual, you can put together a combination of settings that uniquely suit you. Even in Comfort mode, the throttle response is quick. The shifts from the nine-speed automatic transmission become sharper and quicker as you select the more aggressive drive modes. Braking is also quite good. The pedal is easy to modulate for smooth stops and provides quick stopping when you need it. This came in handy when driving up a mountain road and I came up upon a herd of goats. Yes, goats on the road. I had to go heavy on the brakes and I felt totally in control of the situation the entire time.
AMG really showcases its techno-wizardry with the car's advanced suspension. The driving dynamics increase in sharpness and responsiveness as you move up the drive modes. You can even fine-tune the suspension and electronic assists to your liking. Between the linked adaptive suspension dampers, rear-wheel axle steer (up to 2.5 degrees in either direction), torque vectoring and advanced traction control system, the AMG GT feels unflappable. You may never surpass its capabilities unless you’re a professional driver or race car driver. The steering doesn't have much feel to it, which is pretty typical nowadays, but it is sharp and responsive.
The only possible criticism here is that the suspension is quite taut. While not uncomfortable, it’s definitely more of a performance setting than comfort. Personally, I think the balance of comfort and handling is very good for a sports car.
Classic Mercedes style and luxury
The new AMG GT looks great in photos and is even better in real life. Countless people would flock to see the car when it was parked, run to the middle partition of the road to catch a quick glimpse or shoot a video and chase after us while driving through the downtown roads.
I also quite fancy the interior. It’s what you would expect from Mercedes and its proficiency with luxury. All touch points feel exquisite and upscale. Build quality is superb, the interior is very quiet, and when you crank up the stereo, everything else tunes out — except that wonderful growl of the engine/exhaust. I just wish there wasn’t so much piano black. Can we do something else? I’m not sure what but something else. Leathers are soft and supple and the seats have ample bolster support.
My only other criticism is that the seats could use a bit more “cush for my tush.” Younger members of the media cracked a joke about my elder-statesman status but I will own up to that. Being in my 40s, I’ve grown to appreciate comfort. I’m sure when I was younger I would not have minded but I feel closer to the target demographic, barring wealthy trust fund kids and tech-savvy employees.
Practical? Well, sort of
The rear seats are — shocker here — not for anyone older than 10 years old. It’s downright comedic when a grown adult sits in the back and you place the front seat in a position where a regular person would sit. You either have to sit with your body leaning to the other side of the car or you are in an airplane crash position. Either way is uncomfortable. But you can use them to store items like bags, groceries that won’t fly around, or the like. Alternatively, you can just forgo them all together if you want when ordering the AMG GT 63.
The AMG's hatchback-style trunk is also quite usable. This is another area where “everyday practicality” comes through. Not only is there ample room to store groceries, backpacks, and luggage for two for a nice road trip, it can fit a road bike in the back of the 2+2 version with the front wheel removed. The engineers were quite proud of this feat. While you may not do it, it’s good to know that it is possible.
You could pose the question: "Is the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe a grand tourer (GT) or is it a true sports car?" I'd say it's neither. Instead, it's a performance sports car with everyday practicality added in. Sure, the car isn't perfect, but it does indeed come very close to being the ultimate in "performance luxury." Its timeless design, ear-to-ear smile-inducing engine, and outlandish handling and braking capabilities are complemented by a luxurious interior, a modern infotainment system, and a taut but not punishing ride. It seems that the 2024 AMG GT Coupe has all the components necessary to become a new icon.