Practicality isn't usually part of a fully baked sports car's repertoire, but the Mercedes-AMG GT deftly rides that line. Of course, the idea of living day in, day out with a long, lithe performance machine is not at the top of everyone's to-do list, but those who choose to make the most out of their GT purchase won't be let down. No matter the intended purpose, the refreshed 2020 GT will delight.
The Mercedes-AMG GT isn't cheap -- never has been -- and folks in this tax bracket usually don't stick with just one car, preferring something a bit more sedate for daily-driving duties. To that, I say phooey. The GT is a seven-day sports car, through and through, but to make sure I'm not living in some deranged fantasy land, I treat my base-model GT just like I would, say, a Corolla or an E-Class.
Caffeine is great and all, but the 4.0-liter V8 under the GT's hood is also suitable for opening my eyes in the morning. Once I slide behind the wheel and press the start button on the dashboard, that eight-cylinder engine barks to life in an invigorating way. Hopefully your neighbors are into cars, too, because it's not exactly subtle, even without engaging the dual-mode exhaust's louder setting. (Sorry about that, Stephen.)
Even with some center-console rejiggering as part of its midcycle refresh, the AMG GT still has an awkwardly placed and sized shifter, which feels whatever the opposite of ergonomic is. My tester lacks a nose lift, so I exercise caution when I roll down my steep driveway, lest I scrape the bottom of its ground-hugging front lip. I reach just above the rearview mirror to turn on the seat heat (a unique, but also slightly weird place for switches) and set off for the morning.
In the doldrum that is a morning commute, the AMG GT shows that this sports car is closer to a Swiss Army Knife than a single-purpose tool. Most of the road's inconsistencies are swallowed up by my tester's $1,500 three-mode adaptive suspension, which in its softest setting provides for ample comfort at low or high speeds. The $2,250 full-speed adaptive cruise control upgrade also comes in handy here, reducing some of the early morning's tedium by maintaining its distance in traffic, even stopping when necessary. The short windows don't make for the greatest visibility in any direction, blocking the view of taller traffic lights especially, but it's manageable.
Naturally, this isn't a commute for those who prefer subtlety. Even in a not-so-shouty shade of Selenite Grey Metallic ($720), the GT's long, low proportions stand out like a sore thumb among a sea of crossovers. Between that and the exhaust, even in its "quieter" setting, the car turns heads constantly.
On the drive to work and back, it's a great time to appreciate the tech upgrades in the GT's cabin. Gone are the old-lookin' analog gauges, and in its place is a configurable cluster that's easier to read and capable of displaying more information. It's also simple to adjust thanks to the latest generation of Mercedes' steering wheel, with thumbpads for quick tweaks to both the gauge cluster and the 10.2-inch COMAND infotainment screen to the right.
COMAND might not be the newest system on the block -- MBUX takes the honors there -- but its latest iteration still feels fresh. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make it easy for me to use my own navigation, although the embedded turn-by-turn system is a peach on its own, and I appreciate the fact that I can use either the steering wheel or the redesigned touchpad on the center console to quickly move through the maze of menus. The primary USB port is located behind and between the cupholders, but if your car isn't full of trash on a regular basis, its positioning shouldn't be an issue.
The GT's 10.1-cubic-foot cargo space is on the small side, but it'll still handle a weekend's worth of bags. It can also hold up to the occasional trip to the big-box home-improvement store. I can confirm that it will hold a surprising amount of plywood, although you'll have to ask the store to cut it into smaller sheets.
When it comes time to park, whether at home or the office, the GT has a number of tricks up its sleeve to keep the body immaculate. New for 2020 is a front-facing camera that makes it much easier to place the front end, which has a hood that stretches into the next time zone. Combined with the federally mandated rearview camera and standard parking sensors on every side, it's easier to park the GT than you might think.
Thankfully, being able to afford a car like the AMG GT means being able to afford a fair bit of gasoline. With an EPA-estimated economy of 16 miles per gallon city and 22 mpg highway, it's a thirsty little thing, and having any sort of fun means those numbers, which aren't too difficult to achieve with a light foot, will only get lower.
While it's perfectly fine to only drive the Mercedes-AMG GT in the usual manner, it's a proper sports car, so you'd be doing yourself a disservice by never taking it out for a spirited rush down country backroads. With the work week behind me, I head west from my home in search of a little more excitement, and it doesn't take long to find it.
Once I'm out in the boonies, the GT really struts its stuff. Even with everything left in its softest setting, the car is utterly unflappable in curves, offering up just a smidgeon of body roll as my tester's Michelin Pilot Super Sport summer tires (265/35ZR19 front, 295/30ZR20 rear) generate more mechanical grip than most drivers will ever need.
Every part of the GT feels like it was built with this kind of driving in mind. The steering is a little on the light side, but it responds quickly to inputs. When approaching the limit, the throttle offers enough sensitivity to make slight course corrections with only my right foot, and when it's time to shed speed, the brakes clamp down confidently and bring things to a halt in a hurry.
It's in this situation that I finally feel like it's time to consider a mode other than Comfort. Flipping the mode switch on the steering wheel to Sport stiffens up the suspension, increases throttle sensitivity and lets the exhaust note bounce off every flat surface in a 1,000-yard radius. It's a little stiff for daily driving, but it's perfect when the going gets fun, giving me the feeling that I'm just a bit more in tune with the road not too far beneath the floor. There's a Sport Plus mode, too, but unless you're on glass-smooth roads or an actual track, it's best bypassed.
Mercedes-Benz offers a wide variety of adjustment in its myriad vehicle settings, and the AMG GT is no exception. The redesigned center console now includes clever little screen switches that let me tweak the suspension, exhaust, stability control and transmission settings independent of the mode I'm in, and I can save it all in an Individual mode to quickly access later.
The powertrain is damn near perfect regardless of the mode, though. The entry-level GT might have only (only) 469 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque, but I think it's a perfect amount. The twin-turbo V8 is happy to produce forward motion at any point on the tachometer, and its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will rattle off shifts in either direction with surprisingly smooth haste. The whole package feels ready to hustle at a moment's notice.
The only real bummer is the noise. Frameless windows let a fair bit of wind noise into the cabin at highway speeds, despite its slippery-lookin' silhouette, and that sticky rubber generates a not-insignificant amount of road noise, especially on imperfect asphalt. But hey, you can't win 'em all.
The base AMG GT starts at $115,900, but my tester's out-the-door price of $131,315 contains a serious amount of frippery, including red seat belts ($500), staggered cross-spoke wheels ($2,200), carbon-fiber doorsill panels ($1,500) and a microfiber steering wheel with carbon fiber accents ($750), so I think I can do a bit better.
Since the only free paint colors are black and red, I'll drop $720 on a nice metallic blue, but I'll leave the stock 19-inch wheels to give the rears a bit more meat. My only exterior enhancement comes in the way of the $750 AMG Exterior Night Package, which deletes the little bit of chrome in favor of gloss-black bits. Inside, I'm fine with the standard equipment, which includes seats wrapped in MB-Tex vinyl and microfiber, alongside a shiny silver trim (no more or less immune to fingerprints than the optional piano-black getup).
On the creature-comfort front, I'll spend $800 for keyless entry (a surprising standard-equipment omission) and $0 to swap out the COMAND dial for the slick new touchpad. I'll round out the upgrades with the $1,500 three-mode adaptive suspension and the $875 safety package that adds blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep assist. That keeps the price a little lower at $121,540, including the mandatory $995 destination charge.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT has some interesting competition, spanning a wide swath of the socioeconomic spectrum. At the lower end, there are cars like the Chevrolet Corvette (in both C7 and yet-unreleased C8 flavors), and there are competitors around the GT's price point, too, like the Porsche 911 the Jaguar F-Type. Higher-end comparisons could be made to cars like the Audi R8 and McLaren 570S, but that's beginning to stretch it.
Of the cars closer to its window sticker, though, the Mercedes-AMG GT still shines brightly. It's perfectly suitable for daily use, but it only truly comes into its own once the car has room to stretch its metaphorical legs. It's an absolute riot of a sports car that feels worth every penny, and its latest updates make living with the GT even easier.