With its long nose and swooped-back cabin, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT evokes imagery of its sports car ancestors, starting with the original 300 SL and moving up to the more recent SLR and SLS. There's a functional reason for this design, too — the length of that snout means the GT's powerful V8 engine sits behind the front axle, improving overall vehicle balance. Putting the driver so close to the rear wheels makes for a unique driving experience, once again reminiscent of classic sports cars.
Little else is stuck in the past. As Mercedes-Benz's sports car flagship, the GT represents the best of performance and technology. As you move up through the four different trim levels, the amount of electronic sophistication increases; computer controls take over the suspension dampers, limited-slip differential and even steering for the rear wheels.
Yet the GT isn't overwhelmed by technology. Jamming the gas is thrilling, not only because of the engine's power but from the deep roar it makes under hard acceleration. Each trim level boasts rewarding handling that will satisfy anyone, even those set on extreme racetrack performance.
The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT is a two-seat, rear-wheel-drive sports car that is available in four levels of increasing performance. The base GT model has the lowest power output of the family, but still comes well equipped as a convertible in GT Roadster form. The GT S gets a solid power bump and more sophisticated drivetrain and suspension hardware. Along with more power, the GT C gains wider rear fenders and rear steering. It is also available as a convertible called the GT C Roadster. At the top is the hardcore GT R, whose manually adjustable suspension and slick tires mean it's intended primarily for racetrack use.
Like all trim levels, the GT employs a 4.0-liter V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It is available as both a coupe and convertible called the GT Roadster. For the base version here, the V8 produces 469 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, a mechanical limited-slip differential, an 8.4-inch center infotainment display, a navigation system, a four-speaker sound system, a rearview camera, parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control and heated eight-way power-adjustable seats. Convertible models come with a standard neck heating system and dual roll bars. Options include an aerodynamics package, black exterior trim appearance package, panoramic roof, and Burmester stereo system. Buyers can also opt for driver-adjustable exhaust and adaptive dampers, along with a variety of wheel choices.
The engine in the GT S gets a power pump (515 hp, 494 lb-ft of torque), while the chassis gains more sophisticated tools in the form of electronic control for the dampers and limited-slip differential. Drivers have access to a more aggressive Race driving mode and can adjust the loudness of the exhaust. The 640-watt, 10-speaker Burmester stereo system is standard, as are 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels. Options are similar to what's available on the base model, but the GT S also gets access to a Dynamic Plus package that broadens the V8's powerband and adds a more aggressive suspension calibration and drivetrain mounts. A high-end 1,000-watt Burmester stereo system, carbon-ceramic brakes and extreme performance sport tires are also available.
The GT C (late availability) offers an even higher engine output (550 hp, 502 lb-ft of torque) in both coupe and convertible GT C Roadster variants. It's 2.3 inches wider in the rear than the previous models, with space used to house wider wheels and a rear-wheel steering system that improves low-speed agility and high-speed stability. The GT C rides on adjustable and continuously variable dampers and has a sharper overall setup thanks to the standard Dynamic Plus package, which adds stiffer engine and transmission mounts and widens the power delivery.
The GT R is the most powerful trim available (577 hp, 516 lb-ft of torque) and is further endowed by carbon-fiber bodywork and a big rear wing. Large and lightweight forged wheels wrapped with extremely aggressive tires along with manually adjustable coil-over suspension mean this hardcore variant is intended primarily for track use. It even has a nine-mode traction control system styled after Mercedes' GT3 racecar. The GT R doesn't have a few features that are standard on lesser models due to its focus on performance, but most are available as options.