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The Mercedes-AMG GT is a sports coupe that'll get your blood pumping. No matter if you're in the base GT or the bonkers GT R, this AMG grabs the attention of everyone when it passes by. This mid-grade GT C tester is no different, offering massive power, impressive looks and no shortage of tech and comfort.
The whole AMG GT line benefits from small styling updates this year, but it's still the same low-slung, long-hood cruiser it's always been. Outside, there's a new rear diffuser as well as sleeker headlights and taillights. Inside, you'll now find a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a 10.2-inch central infotainment screen and a redesigned steering wheel.
What hasn't changed is what's under the hood: a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 tuned to produce 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. The V8 rumbles to life with authority and even in its default Comfort mode, the GT C is a rocket. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission isn't especially quick to shift in this setting, but acceleration is nevertheless ample. Mercedes says the GT C can get to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds, a claim I have no reason to doubt.
Once I toggle to Sport mode, the character of the AMG GT C immediately changes, adding sharper throttle response and quicker shifts. I'm a big fan of Mercedes' transmissions and once you've got it on full attack, this seven-speed dual-clutch unit is a joy. It seems to know what I want just a split second before I do, downshifting eagerly on braking, holding revs way up high and generally making my smile wider and wider with every corner.
But it's not just the engine and transmission that make this car fantastic. The standard rear-axle steering -- lifted from the GT R -- not only makes the GT C a corner carver, but a corner destroyer. I'm sitting just in front of the rear wheels with my butt seemingly scraping the ground and it just feels like the whole car is pivoting around me. I've been in cars with rear-wheel steering before, but with the Merc's longer wheelbase, it's a whole new sensation -- one that really does a lot to mask the size of this coupe.
The chassis, too, is extremely well tuned. Pavement undulations that can upset some sports cars are no problem in the GT C, allowing me to turn in quickly even on rough roads. This car really makes me feel like an all-star.
The GT C is just over two inches wider than the base GT, making room for some massive, staggered tires. Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber is found at all four corners, with 263/30R19s up front and 305/30R20s at the rear. The icing on the cake is the electronically controlled limited-slip differential, which pushes the torque to the wheel with the most traction, helping the GT C whip around a corner. Sport Plus mode relaxes the electronic nannies a bit and while the GT C can be a little tail-happy at times, it's superbly controllable.
My tester is equipped with the optional $8,950 high-performance ceramic brakes which, while pricey, are totally worth it. This is a powerful car that reaches high speeds at an alarmingly quick rate. These upgraded brakes are just as powerful, but in the other direction. If you plan to do a lot of high-speed driving, I recommend them wholeheartedly.
But even if you aren't in beast mode all the time, I could totally see this being someone's daily driver. Sure, I only got 12.7 miles per gallon during my week with it, but a lighter right foot might be able to get closer to the EPA's rating of 17 mpg combined. The seats are snug but still comfortable with adjustable lower back support and they do a great job of keeping me happy on longer drives.
Blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist are both standard, as is a front-facing camera so drivers won't scrape up that long nose. Adaptive cruise control is optional and great when traffic comes to a crawl.
But it's not all puppy dogs and rainbows; the interior has a few ergonomic quirks. The gear shifter is awkwardly placed on the rear of the center console, requiring an arm twist to put the GT C in Drive. The Park button is similarly inconvenient, hidden under the gear lever. The AMG GT doesn't have Mercedes' new MBUX infotainment tech, instead relying on the old COMAND system, while driver's aids like lane-change assist and active steering are nowhere to be found. Oh and, while this car would be lovely for a weekend trip, I'd have to pack light: There's a relatively small 10.1 cubic feet of space in the trunk.
Are any of those dings deal-breakers? Not really. Fun and good looks outweigh a lot of things and in those cases, the GT really delivers. As well it should, considering the GT C's starting price of $151,895 including $995 for destination. My tester costs $173,695 thanks to the upgraded brakes, adaptive cruise control and some extra carbon fiber bits. You can also get the GT C in convertible form, which sounds like a super-boss idea, but you'll cut your cargo space to a tiny 5.8 cubic feet and you'll pay over $11,000 for the privilege.
The GT's competitors range from things like the Porsche 911 Turbo to the mid-engine Audi R8, both of which are fantastic choices. But the AMG GT just feels a bit more special. Porsche 911s are relatively common as far as sports cars go and while the R8 has more of a supercar style, the rear-wheel-drive AMG is a little more playful. The GT C is just enough of a monster without being too punishing and it's the best looking car of the bunch.