2021 Mercedes-AMG GT new car reviews

Photography by Tim Suddard

Miss out on the SLS AMG? You can get a similar experience from the AMG GT, the SLS's successor.

Starting at a little over $118,000 (the price equivalent of about four brand-new ND Miatas), the GT offers 523 horsepower and 494 lb.-ft. of torque from a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, with shifting handled by a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Mercedes-AMG tossed us the keys to a GT equipped with the GT Stealth Edition package, which, besides blacking out a bunch of trim and adding a carbon-fiber roof, throws on some bigger, 19-inch wheels up front and 20-inch wheels in the back.

Does all this add up to a killer driving experience? Keep reading to find out.

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Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard
Publisher

If Darth Vader had a cool car in his garage, it would most likely be the Stealth Edition of the AMG Coupe. Why? Because this car, perhaps more than any other, matches his dark and sinister personality.

The new AMG coupe, with its hand-built, turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine, is one tough customer. Add in the AMG Speedshift DCT seven-speed and dual-clutch, rear-mounted transaxle, and this Death Star can do zero to 60 in just 3.7 seconds. This means you can pass just about anyone, anywhere, on your ride to galactic domination.

With its menacing grille, oversized Mercedes emblem at the center, huge 19- and 20-inch wheels, and Graphite Grey Magno semi-gloss paint, this new coupe looks absolutely ready for battle.

The car is also equipped with what AMG calls its Ride Control suspension, which features electronically controlled three-stage adaptive damping. According to the manufacturer, it instantly adjusts the suspension characteristics to the driving situation, helping to reduce body roll, pitch and dive while maximizing agility and tire contact.

The three selectable modes (Comfort, Sport and Sport+) adapt the damping rates at progressively lower thresholds of wheel motion, lateral g-loads and driving speed.

The rack-and-pinion steering system is said to be mounted to a rigid, lightweight subframe. The system also has a variable ratio that helps ensure ideal response and feedback for everything from hairpin turns to precise adjustments. Meanwhile, speed-sensing hydraulic power assist optimizes effort and feel.

The AMG Performance steering wheel features a racing-style flat-bottom design, three ideally placed spokes and aluminum shift paddles. These wheel and shifter controls are perfectly placed, very comfortable to operate, and enhance the feeling of control you have when driving this car.

Huge, 15.4-inch front brake discs are bolted to aluminum center bowls, grasped by powerful six-piston fixed calipers finished with black paint (on the Stealth Edition) and AMG logos. The one-piece rear discs measure 14.2 inches and are fitted with equally substantial calipers.

These brakes bring the 3700-pound GT to a halt seemingly instantly, in even the fast mountain driving conditions we were testing in.

Taking a page out of Porsche’s playbook, AMG equipped this $118,600-base-price GT with some $20,000 worth of options that may have made it look special, but really had no impact on the amazing driving experience this car already offers straight out of the box.

First, the GT was equipped with the $9150 Stealth Edition package. Designated option code DF3, it includes a carbon-fiber roof, the AMG Exterior Night Package (select exterior components are painted gloss black), 19-inch front and 20-inch rear AMG 10-spoke, Y-design wheels in black, the AMG Interior Night Package (more dark and sinister painted surfaces), the AMG performance steering wheel in Full Dinamica (Alcantara in normal speak), Stealth Edition interior badging, black-painted brake calipers, and a black Dinamica headliner.

All of that, of course, works well with the designo® Graphite Grey Magno semi-flat black paint, a $3950 option.

If you like the looks, which admittedly we did, and have the money, go for it. Or you could invest that nearly $15,000 in an evil supervillain lair to house this monster.

Our car was also equipped with another rare but more practical option, heated and ventilated seats, for only $450. Another worthwhile option on our car was the #810 Burmester surround sound system for $1300. Let’s face it, trips through the galaxy can get a bit long, and a killer stereo system is a good thing to have.

Other noteworthy options on our car were the #561 black Nappa leather with diamond stitching and the #H21 AMG black piano lacquer trim.

With a transportation fee of $1050 and a gas guzzler fee of $1000, the total price of our loaner was $137,050. If you think this is expensive, you probably haven't been shopping for modern supercars lately. Head over to your local Porsche dealer and price this car’s equivalent–most likely a GT3–and you'll probably be back at your AMG dealer in mere minutes, check in hand.

All these specs and options are perhaps interesting, but let’s look at what this car is like to drive and live with. Jumping (okay, more like falling) into this low-slung coupe takes a bit of practice. While the seats are quite supportive, the seat bottoms could use just a bit more padding.

Put your hands on the perfectly sized Alcantara (Mercedes-Benz calls it Dinamica) wheel and all feels right with the world. Push the starter button and things get even better. The turbocharged V8 has a menacing and throaty growl. Peering over the Death Star long hood takes some getting used to, and a feel for where the car's corners are comes slowly.

Once you're able to find the controls for the heated and cooled seats (hint, they're above your head) and figure out the mercilessly complicated audio, navigation and other settings, you can crank up the very good stereo, pair your phone and set off for destinations far, far away.

But that brings up another nit to pick with the AMG coupe. While viscously fast and capable of otherworldly handling and braking, it's not that comfortable, especially on rough or concrete roads. Sitting right over the huge rear tires in a car with little seat padding and suspension settings that are closer to stun than soft can get a bit tiring on long trips.

If not for this Achilles heel, the 2021 AMG GT might be the perfect supercar and a bargain to boot. Few in this category are more stunning to look at or more fun to drive on back roads or at a track day.

But if your track days or tours are more than a few hundred miles away, you'd better plan on towing this masterpiece–or looking elsewhere.

Alan Galbraith
Alan Galbraith
Concours d'Lemons

Your eyes, ears and heart will tell you that the AMG GT is special when you see it, hear it and drive it, but your backside will soon tell you it's time to get out and take a break. Use this time outside the car to admire the menacing good looks.

If the “soft” setting on the adaptive suspension and seats were 20% softer, the AMG GT would be the perfect supercar in GT car clothes. As it is, you just need to make some comfort compromises to get one of the best-looking, most wickedly performing bargain supercars on the market today.

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Comments
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j_tso
j_tso GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/1/21 10:52 p.m.

They look cartoony and ridiculous, but I like 'em.

It worked with Haribo livery.

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
11/1/21 11:56 p.m.

Dang that's a nice car. Would love to test drive one of these.

Shaun
Shaun GRM+ Memberand Dork
11/2/21 12:26 p.m.

I've spent a great deal of time around Point Arena in the last 25 years-  Lots of great roads in the area.  That car would not be good on Mountain View Road, The Boonville Road on the other hand....

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress HalfDork
11/2/21 1:32 p.m.

MB design has come a long way in the past...decade maybe? That thing is sex, and some of their more pedestrian sedans look pretty good too.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
11/2/21 1:46 p.m.

In reply to j_tso :

That livery is one of my favorites IMO. My wife and I love pretty much every candy they make.

I just wish it was easier to get some of their racing merch here in the States.

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
11/2/21 2:27 p.m.

No gullwing doors BOOOO. Come on Mercedes off it as a ridiculous cost option.

 

SLS has become unobtainable lately lately at least in SoCal. 

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