CARMEL VALLEY, Calif. -- Mercedes-Benz is using the tag line “Handcrafted by Racers: a sports car in its purest form,” for the new GT sports car, emphasizing the car’s development by Mercedes’ AMG performance unit.
It’s an important distinction as the Mercedes-AMG GT, part of a new subbrand, takes on the Porsche 911.
“If you want to be taken seriously as a sports car brand, you have to make your own car,” said Tobias Moers, chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “We will attack a highly attractive new segment, and we will have to deal with world-class competitors.”
The two-seat GT features Mercedes’ new Coke-bottle design language and a new AMG-developed engine.
The range-topping 503-hp front-mounted midengine Mercedes-AMG GT S is expected to cost about $135,000 when it goes on sale in April in the United States.
The entry GT, with a base price of about $115,000 and 456 hp, goes on sale a year later. Both are powered by an AMG V-8 biturbo and a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
The United States will be the biggest market for the GT and is expected to account for 25 percent of the car’s worldwide volume, Moers said. He declined to give sales projections.
Moers said the GT’s highlights are:
- The AMG-developed 4.0-liter engine in the GT S gives it a 0 to 60 mph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 192 mph.
- The first-ever mounting of turbochargers outside the cylinder bank is designed for an optimum response and low emissions.
- Dry sump lubrication ensures adequate oil is supplied even at high lateral forces.
- The car has an aluminum spaceframe; the body is 93 percent aluminum and the front module is made of lightweight magnesium, which helps handling.
- The car has a weight distribution of 47 percent front/53 percent rear.
Moers said AMG developed the car for everyday driving as “a pleasant travel companion,” and as a “race track animal,” by allowing the driver to select a driving mode.
AMG’s dynamic electric drive mode can be adjusted to comfort, sport and sport plus.
The AMG ride control sport suspension has electronically controlled shocks. It is standard on the GT S and optional on the base GT.
Moers said even though the GT doesn’t go on sale until next year, he expects an AMG sales record in the United States this year. Last year, AMG sold 7,802 cars in the U.S., an increase of 17 percent over the prior year.
Worldwide, Moers said AMG sales are expected to be higher than 40,000 in 2014 -- a record and up from last year’s sales of 32,200.