2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Review
Pros & Cons
- Powerful new turbocharged V8 engine
- responsive steering and handling
- stout brakes
- beautifully crafted interior.
- Poor outward visibility
- thinly padded seats lack long-haul comfort.
Edmunds' Expert Review
With its combination of compelling good looks and stunning performance, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT ranks among the top choices for a high-end luxury sports car.
Every few years, another automaker announces it has cracked the code. Its new car, it claims, will rival the vaunted Porsche 911 as the purest of the purists' sports cars. And somewhere in Porsche's home offices and factories, we imagine a collective yawn before workers turn their attention to, well, furthering world sports car domination. But hey, you've got to try, right? And judging by the new 2016 AMG GT, there are few companies better equipped than Mercedes-Benz to do just that.
The AMG GT (or the "Mercedes-AMG GT," as the company is calling it) could be viewed as a successor to the now discontinued SLS AMG. But it's a more refined yet considerably less costly successor. And whereas the brawny SLS AMG was a temperamental-handling sports car that could punish even experienced drivers when pushed hard, the AMG GT's smoother, more predictable responses and more compact dimensions provide greater driver confidence. As such, you'll probably find the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT a more enjoyable companion than the SLS both for everyday driving adventures and the occasional track day.
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT is the spiritual successor to the SLS AMG.
Of course, anyone familiar with Mercedes' high-performance AMG division will know that the GT packs plenty of heat as well. The S version has a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that applies its 503 horsepower to the rear wheels through a rear-mounted seven-speed automated manual transaxle. The result is a 0-60-mph sprint in a claimed 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 193 mph.
Plenty of other cutting-edge technologies have been used in the AMG GT as well. The lightweight body and underlying structure are made almost entirely out of aluminum. There are active motor and transmission mounts that vary their stiffness to suit the driving situation, variable-ratio power steering that automatically adjusts based on both speed and lateral G-forces, and powerful optional carbon-ceramic disc brakes. The result is a car that corners, steers and stops like a true performance machine, stacking up very well against other sports cars in this rarefied segment.
Choosing a car in this class isn't going to be easy, though. The 911 continues to be fantastic and comes in more flavors than Baskin-Robbins offers. The Audi R8 is fully redesigned this year and will hold sway with its more powerful V10 and exotic-car looks. And for the best combination of value and performance, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is simply unbeatable. Has the code been cracked? Only time will tell. But the 2016 Mercedes AMG GT certainly seems like it's quite close.
2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT models
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT is a two-seat sports car with a hatchback body style. It is currently offered in a single "S" model. A slightly less powerful (and less expensive) AMG GT variant will debut later.
Standard equipment on the AMG GT S includes 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels, an electronically controlled rear differential, an adaptive suspension, a dynamic exhaust system with driver-selectable settings, LED headlights, automatic high-beam headlight control, auto-dimming outside mirrors, a power-operated trunk lid, a pop-up rear spoiler, front and rear parking sensors and keyless ignition and entry.
Inside, you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated sport seats, driver memory settings, adaptive cruise control, an 8-inch central display, a rearview camera, the Mercedes COMAND control system with a built-in touchpad, a navigation system, voice controls, and a 10-speaker Burmester surround-sound audio system with a CD player, HD radio, a USB/audio interface and satellite radio.
Options include a Lane Tracking package that bundles blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist systems. An available AMG Dynamic Plus package includes revised engine tuning (for a wider engine power band), adaptive engine and transmission mounts, even more performance-oriented suspension tuning and a sport steering wheel. The mbrace telematics package and a Mercedes apps package are also offered. Other options include upgraded Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, carbon-ceramic brakes, an 11-speaker Burmester surround-sound audio system, premium leather upholstery and various exterior and interior trim upgrades.
Performance & mpg
Power for the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S comes from a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that cranks out 503 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque. Power flows to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automated manual transmission. In Edmunds testing, the AMG GT S launched from zero to 60 mph in a chest-compressing 3.6 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy stands at 18 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway).
The AMG GT is equally at home charging on flat straightaways or carving through mountain passes.
When the AMG GT model debuts, it will have a detuned version of this powertrain with the V8 generating an estimated 456 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque.
Standard safety features on the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, side airbags, head-protecting side curtain airbags and knee airbags. The GT S also comes with a driver drowsiness monitor (Attention Assist), a frontal collision warning system, automatic braking for frontal crash mitigation (Collision Prevention Assist Plus), a rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors.
Lane keeping assist and blind spot monitoring are available as part of the Lane Tracking option package. The optional Mercedes mbrace telematics system provides automatic crash notification, crisis assist and more.
In Edmunds brake testing, an AMG GT S with the Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires and carbon-ceramic brakes stopped from 60 mph in 99 feet, an impressive showing that's nonetheless just average for this segment.
Once you get past the shortcomings noted above and actually get settled into the driver seat, the beauty of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S becomes readily apparent. The old SLS AMG's V8 was well known for its stout power and memorable soundtrack, and the new turbo V8 is a fine successor. Nail the gas and that muscular V8 delivers a level of propulsion that few other cars can match. There's even a button that, when pushed, opens a bypass valve in the exhaust system to amp up the V8's full-throated roar. The seven-speed gearbox is excellent and provides quick gearchanges in normal driving, though we've found the Race mode's programming for track duty isn't always perfect.
Drive the 2016 AMG GT S on a challenging road (or road course) and you'll find it impressively well balanced and very engaging. This is a car with communicative steering and adept handling. Whereas earlier AMG offerings had all the delicacy of a chainsaw when carving up a back road, the GT feels like a far more precise instrument when you're pushing hard. Driven more sedately, the AMG GT S is a pretty civilized beast, but its ride quality is certainly on the firm side. In particular, watch out for the AMG Dynamic Plus package's stiffened suspension. Even with the adaptive dampers on their most supple setting, impacts are transmitted through the seats with an un-Mercedes-like harshness.
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT's cockpit is a thing of beauty. The design, materials and workmanship are all top-notch. Buyers have the ability to customize the space with different upholstery materials, contrasting stitching and trim choices that include matte or glossy carbon fiber. The 8-inch display boasts crisp graphics, but it looks a bit like an iPad perched atop the center vents and is one of the few inelegant touches in an otherwise stunning cabin.
Mercedes' latest version of the COMAND interface controls what appears on that display. Floating above the traditional dial controller is a touchpad that mimics tablet and trackpad gestures like swiping, pinching and tapping. You can also trace letters and numbers on the surface (when inputting a street address, for example), though this feature is mainly aimed at buyers whose primary language does not use the Roman alphabet. Although the new touchpad takes some getting used to, COMAND remains one of the best infotainment systems available.
The seats are wonderfully supportive, but thin padding makes them unsuitable for extended road trips.
The seats are well-bolstered for sporty driving, but their thin padding makes the AMG GT just uncomfortable enough that you wouldn't necessarily want to take it on a really long road trip. Taller drivers might not be able to slide or recline the seatback far enough to get comfortable. Outward visibility is limited by the thick A-pillars, low windshield header and long hood.
There's a useful amount of cargo space under the hatch, though at 12.4 cubic feet, it's slightly less than a Porsche 911's capacity. Soft luggage bags are a good choice to best fit the unusual shape, but you can squeeze a couple golf bags in there if you need to.