The seductive beauty of Mercedes-AMG’s coupe is only matched by the mechanical genius found buried deep underneath the outrageously long hood. Combining opulent luxury and breathtaking performance, the all-new 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S is a purpose-built race car for the street with a cabin aimed at pleasing royalty.
Designed to compete with many of the world’s finest performance cars, the all-new 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S is an incredibly beautiful twin-turbo V8 powered missile with an interior that rivals the finest luxury cars on the planet. This two-seat sports car is available in one trim level, the GT S. A second, slightly less-potent base GT model will join the lineup for the 2017 model year.
The Mercedes-AMG GT S is powered by a hand-crafted twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine. In an effort to support its near-perfect weight distribution, the GT S has a seven-speed dual-clutch rear-mounted transmission that is rigidly linked to the engine by means of a carbon-fiber driveshaft.
When the Mercedes-AMG GT S arrives on the scene time seems to stand still. Mercedes-Benz’s latest and greatest sports car wears a design that boldly honors the coupe’s heritage while simultaneously hinting at the future of the brand. The ridiculously long hood, which is dramatically longer than it needs to be to house the 4.0-liter V8, seems to show up minutes before the rest of the GT S reaches a full stop.
There are beautiful cars and then there is the Mercedes-AMG GT S. It is the kind of car you wouldn’t mind parking in your living room, even if you had to move all the furniture into the garage.
Amazingly, the relatively simple lines of the 2016 AMG GT S come together to make a visual statement that is louder and clearer than just about any other vehicle on the road. Sure, there are the staggered wheels (19 inches in the front and 20 inches out back) the large inlets on either of the oversized flared fenders and a three-pointed star on the grille that’s as big as many flat-panel televisions from a few years back, but the overall design is rather uncomplicated and completely captivating.
The large rear pillars do limit visibility, but the $875 optional lane tracking package with blind spot and lane keeping assist provides an extra set of eyes to fill in the visual voids. The argument could be made that the entire greenhouse detracts from visibility, especially for shorter drivers, but for my 5-foot-10-inch frame, the GT S fit like a comfortable glove that I didn’t mind wearing all the time, even if it was the middle of the summer at a Florida theme park.
Sitting inside the GT S is an experience in itself. The cabin is nothing short of a purpose-built work of art. Normally a car with the athleticism of the GT S just begs to be driven, and you can’t sit in a seat like the heated, power-adjustable AMG Performance seats and not want to push the start button and race away. However, Mercedes has done such a brilliant job with the GT S that you can’t help but want to take a minute and allow it to all sort of digest.
From the unique, feature-laden center console to the chunky steering wheel, the aviation-inspired interior looks as good as it behaves on the road.
The leather-trimmed seats are about as comfortable and supportive as any I have sat in. There are all the normal adjustment parameters, along with an exceptional amount of adjustability. The side bolsters in the cushion and backrest are also power adjustable, and with a little bit of work the seats can fit just about anyone like that glove.
Cargo space is certainly limited compared to a passenger car, but thanks to the hatchback form you shouldn’t have trouble with a suitcase or two, if they are on the small side. I wouldn’t want to try to make a Home Depot run in the 2016 GT S, but I did make quite a few trips to the grocery store and found the 12.3 cubic-foot trunk more than up to the task. Of course, I wouldn’t have minded taking multiple trips; the GT S is the kind of car that makes you want to run errands.
The 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S is powered by an incredibly efficient, hand-crafted and signed, twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine. The forced induction power plant creates an impressive 503 horsepower. Peak torque comes on at a paltry 1,750 rpm and then stays at the full 470 pound-feet until the engine reaches 4,750 rpm. That translates into immediate power, just about all the time.
Although my own testing yielded even quicker times, Mercedes rates the trip from zero to 60 mph at 3.7 seconds. But even that blazingly fast time only tells a part of the story.
The power is quite visceral as passengers are violently pinned to the back of the AMG performance seat the entire time the gas pedal is mashed to the floor. The dual-clutch automatic transmission makes lightning-fast shifts, both up and down, through the transmission’s seven gears.
The mechanicals are designed for performance. From the dry-sump lubrication system that replaces the traditional oil pan with a remote oil reservoir, to the turbocharger configuration that shortens the intake’s air path for more immediate throttle response, the GT S is basically a racing car for the street.
Mercedes-AMG uses technology to enhance the performance formula. The proprietary AMG Dynamic Select system allows the driver to configure the car’s performance character quickly and easily. The four preset modes – Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race – offer varying degrees of engine and throttle response, suspension tuning, shift programming, traction control and even the loudness of the exhaust. During my week with the GT S I tended to keep the car in Sport or Sport+ mode. The middle settings keep things relatively tame in the handling department by keeping traction control systems in place, but add performance and sound to the driving experience.
The GT S has a racing-inspired forged aluminum double wishbone suspension setup at all four wheels. That setup, combined with an AMG adaptive suspension, speed-sensitive steering and AMG brakes yields a vehicle that loves to be driven hard and encourages the driver to push the limits. My review vehicle also came equipped with an optional $2,600 AMG Dynamic Plus package that, among other things, included computer-controlled dynamic engine and transmission mounts. The mounts are filled with a magnetorheological fluid that reacts to electric current to stiffen when necessary. Just understanding the technology involved in building the GT S requires an advanced degree, enjoying it however, does not.
Considering the nature of the 503-horsepower beast, fuel economy is impressive at 16/22 mpg city/highway.
Much like every other aspect of the 2016 GT S, the Mercedes coupe is loaded with standard technology. Two high-resolution screens automatically adjust to the environment and provide optimal visuals to the driver and passenger, as well as quick and immediate access to an incredible depth of features. The freestanding center 8.4-inch screen provides access to the navigation system, audio and AMG applications. At the same time, it blends into the dashboard in a surprisingly efficient, if not space-age, manner. I’ve never been a fan of the free-floating screens that are cropping up as of late, but the one in the GT S makes sense.
The standard 10-speaker, 640-watt Burmester surround-sound audio system looks almost as great as it sounds. The modern design and classic touches of the audio system enhance the AMG’s interior in a way that few sounds systems do. The sound rivals anything I have heard, and audio adjustments are fairly straightforward once you get past the initial learning curve. Fortunately, you don’t mind hanging out in the GT S to learn the ins and outs of its tech.
Dual USB ports, an SD card reader, voice control, Bluetooth, HD Radio and SiriusXM radio with traffic and weather, round out a few of the GT S’ technological highlights.
Mercedes-Benz has long been a leader in safety technologies and the brand uses the GT S to showcase some of their latest inventions. A battery of eight air bags work to keep occupants isolated from trauma during an accident. Mercedes’ Attention Assist system monitors driving behavior and provides alerts if changes to normal patterns indicate that the driver might be drowsy.
A radar-based forward collision system keeps an eye on the road ahead and alerts the driver to brake if necessary. It will also brake autonomously at cruising speeds of up to 65 mph if the driver does not react.
The GT S also includes the mbrace telematics system, which provides 24-hour roadside assistance, maintenance information and vehicle connectivity through a smartphone app. The system is subscription based with a complimentary six-month trial.
The 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S is for the discerning buyer who is successful enough to have a daily driver but wants an exclusive extra vehicle to make life a little more fun. That isn’t to say that the right person couldn’t live with the AMG coupe as their only transportation, but with a starting price of $129,900 it would seem that an individual with access to that kind of cash or credit could probably afford to grab an extra set of wheels for those aforementioned Home Depot runs.
My nicely equipped review vehicle included a $9,900 AMG Solarbeam yellow paint job and $1,200 worth of optional black Nappa/Dinamica leather upholstery. Options also included one of the most incredible carbon-ceramic braking systems I’ve ever experienced ($8,950), the Dynamic Plus package ($2,600) and a slew of other options that brought the grand total to $171,900 including a $975 destination charge.
While the unique interior and exterior are going to draw buyers who simply must have the GT S, shoppers will want to take a good look at the Porsche 911, Audi R8 and one of my favorites, the Jaguar F-Type R.
I rarely award a top score of 10, but the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S is that good. Very few vehicles offer the stunning visual appeal and visceral performance of the GT S. It’s not just a sports car; it’s a mechanical masterpiece that was designed to exacting detail.
The 2016 GT S is ready to take on the most formidable of performers in the class, including the Porsche 911, McLaren 570S Coupe, Audi R8 and Jaguar F-Type R. While there will be discerning buyers who will nit-pick certain aspects of the AMG GT S, there really aren’t too many things not to like about this two-seat rocket ship.