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The Mercedes-AMG GT S: As fast as it looks (pictures)

The GT S, the halo car for the Mercedes-AMG brand, shows off gorgeous coupe styling and excellent driving dynamics, while a powerful twin turbocharged V-8 sends it powering off the line.

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Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 24 Josh Miller/CNET

With the launch of the Mercedes-AMG brand, a performance group based on the prior AMG division, comes a completely new car, the GT S.

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The low and sleek coupe body features many traditional Mercedes-Benz styling cues, such as the single crossbar over the grille and embedded badge on the leading edge of the body.

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A new 4-liter V-8 uses two turbochargers set between the banks of cylinders, making for a compact package and minimal plumbing for the exhaust gasses.

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The car's exceptionally stiff body can be felt from the driver's seat, and leads to excellent handling.

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Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires wrap around these 19-inch wheels in front, while the rear gets 20-inch wheels.

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At just over 3,600 pounds, the GT S is a reasonably light car, considering its power.

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An adaptive suspension lets the driver select between comfort and sport modes.

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A wide-opening hatch offers easy access to the cargo area.

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A couple of small suitcases could lay flat in the back of the GT S.

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Red trim on the sport seats looks a bit gaudy.

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With its vents and numerous buttons, the cockpit of the GT S looks a big cluttered.

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The electric power steering, even in the car's most aggressive sport setting, never really firms enough for really precise turn-in.

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Sticking to tradition, Mercedes-AMG gives the GT S analog gauges, rather than going with an LCD panel.

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The shifter and COMAND switchgear, controlling the infotainment options, sit crowded together on the console.

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Mercedes-AMG keeps the climate controls to a tasteful line of metal switches.

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Drivers can individually set performance levels of various car components, including the exhaust.

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The Mercedes-AMG navigation system shows off detailed maps, while the COMAND interface relies on an upper bar of function menus and a lower bar with more individualized controls.

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Destination input includes online search, but the data connection takes a long time to boot up.

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Internet audio sources are also integrated with the radio options.

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This rotating menu looks good, but it's not a paradigm used consistently through the interface.

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Media screens can show album art, when available.

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The Burmester audio system delivers excellent sound quality, and looks good in the cabin with elegant speaker grilles.

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Burmester puts a classic graphic treatment on its equalizer.

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At well over $100,000, the Mercedes-AMG GT S is certainly expensive, but it is a stand-out performance coupe with many high-tech features.

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