Mercedes-AMG GT C Edition 50: Review

We'll get the badging out of the way first - GT C is a weird designation for a car one step removed from theΒ  'Beast of the Green Hell' GT R. But having already used 'GT S' AMG had rather boxed itself into a corner. And there are only so many letters in the alphabet, right?

Those confused at exactly what the 'C' stands for can at least be relieved that this isn't the 80s, where intimate technical details were there to be listed in full on the bootlid. Were that the still the case we'd be looking at the AMG GT Widebody 4WS BiTurbo 557hp Nearly-as-hardcore-as-an-R. GT C it is though - small mercies and all that.

Apologies for the inevitable Porsche comparison (we made it to the third paragraph) but putting Β the GT range into context is easier if you play match-up with respective 911s. If we consider the GT the Carrera S rival,Β the GT S is equivalent to - ta da! - the GTS and the GT R the GT3 RS rival, complete with Cup tyres and cage option. Leaving the GT C very much the 911 Turbo S alternative, with equivalent on-paper pace to the track-focused versions but a very different character.

Called 'C' but more than 'S', OK?
Called 'C' but more than 'S', OK?
C for confused?
We've already driven the GT C in Roadster form; this first go in the coupe comes in limited-to-500 Edition 50 trim which actually prices it just Β£4,000 shy of the R. If it follows the example of the Roadster you can expect the 'regular' GT C Coupe when it comes to weigh in at about Β£130,000, or mid-way between a 911 Turbo and Turbo S.

Fabulously sinister in its matt Designo Graphite Grey Magno paint, (a 'cashmere' white is the other dedicated option) the Edition 50 is effectively the GT C in waiting but adds forged wheels, Dynamic Plus package with active engine/transmission mounts and stiffer suspension, quilted Nappa seats and trim, the Burmester hi-fi and Interior Night package as standard. Potentially a megamix of all the most desirable features and options in the GT range, in other words.

Not least an even more powerful version of the 4.0-litre 'hot-V' V8 with 557hp and 516lb ft of torque, the latter available in a suitably muscular chunk stretching from 1,700rpm to 5,000rpm. The other key feature is the rear-wheel steering, the wider track and tyres contained within the same broader bodywork as the R. Dynamically this sets it apart from the rest of the GT range, but the more immediate impression is what it does to the looks.

That ass!
That ass!
Broad in the beam
All GTs look suitably squat and wide on the road but in the regular car there's a slight mismatch between the muscular front end and the more rounded, softer rear. The C's widebody rear end sorts that, giving the GT an appropriate broad-shouldered muscularity that - like all good pieces of car design - informs much about how it'll drive. If AMG has thus far struggled to nail exactly what it wants the GT to be we may have the answer here.

Of course, it sounds awesome too. That whole gargling red hot ball bearings soundtrack is a proper GT signature. All GTs get the Performance Exhaust system with its two fully variable flaps but, frankly, if you're sitting in an AMG and don't reach for button that leaves them fully open you're probably reading the wrong website. A subtle hint to the AMG mindset is revealed by the fact it remembers your choice next time you start it up too.

The rear-set driving position is less extreme than the SLS on which the GT is based but it has that same feeling of being a large car with limited visibility. The broad, shallow windscreen heightens the widescreen effect, your proximity to the fat transmission tunnel distinctly cosy and the sideways visibility seriously hampered by the eye-level mirrors. It feels a big car, mainly because it is - the extra rear track means it's a smidge over two metres wide and not something for hustling down narrow lanes. Indeed, in this form it's a whole 127mm wider than the not exactly slimline 911 Turbo S.

Driving like this not advised; it is wide though...
Driving like this not advised; it is wide though...
Light touch
This is one reason it takes a while to dial into the four-wheel steering. There's more weight and feeling to the wheel of the standard GT and a more natural response to your inputs too. Rear-wheel steering is rapidly becoming de rigueur in this sector though, the intended benefit being a heightened sense of agility at lower speeds and greater stability at higher ones. All well and good but the mismatch between what your senses and peripheral vision are telling you about the GT's size and its urgent responses to steering inputs takes a bit of getting used to. It's all very well making a big heavy car feel like a smaller and lighter one. But it doesn't stop it being big and heavy. And at 1,700kg - 70kg more than the GT R - the GT C is no flyweight.

Finding your flow on a twisty road takes longer than it does in the standard GT as a result, given you inevitably end up with more steering angle than you thought you'd asked for and a bit of weaving about as you wind off some of the lock you just put in. The calibration is sufficiently smart and integrated into the adaptive dampers, stability control and active locking diff that it does all start coming together, helped by fundamentally sound weight distribution that keeps all the heavy bits between the axles.

Sideways lairiness is there if you want it but the GT C is more interested in putting its power down smoothly, the centred weight, flat stance and excellent throttle modulation all helping you keep it neat, tidy and fast. Really, really fast.

Best GT yet? Could well be...
Best GT yet? Could well be...
Ego boost
With more boost and lower compression than the lower-spec cars there's a slightly more forced induction feel to the V8 but it's still got above-average throttle response for a turbocharged car. And the momentary initial softness to the pedal is just that - once through it you've got both super sharp reactions and a huge power band to explore all the way out to the redline. And noise to enjoy. Oh, the noise...

In a world without speed limits - or on a track - the GT C still probably wouldn't see which way a 911 Turbo S went. But the clue is in the name - this is a GT car, albeit a very fast and focused one. And where the AMG scores is on the emotive stuff of the noise, the unabashed rear-wheel driveness, the looks and the drama. Things you can enjoy somewhere within spitting distance of what's acceptable on the road, in other words. OK, a wide road.

And with a few twiddles of the various mode dials you've pretty much got the whole spectrum of the AMG GT range in one car here. It can burble along at a relaxed but purposeful cruise like the base car, but it's also got more than a hint of the R's wildness and attitude as you progress up through the driver modes.

'Best of' compilations rarely score highly among discerning critics when applied to music, TV or anything else, really. But in the GT C AMG might finally have found what it was looking for in its signature sports car.

3,982cc V8, turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 557@5,750rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@1,700-5,000rpm
0-62mph: 3.7sec
Top speed: 197mph
Weight: 1,700kg (EU, with driver)
MPG: 25 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 259g/km
Price: Β£139,855









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Comments (9) Join the discussion on the forum

  • SFO 07 Sep 2017

    not a fan of the additional slats and vents on the rear

    standard GT probably best for UK roads

  • daveco 07 Sep 2017

    How wide are those rear tyres eek

    Seems Mercedes are following the muscle car approach to handling...BIG RUBBER

  • Onehp 07 Sep 2017

    Met two GT-R's out on the road before, this is one seriously wide car... Dare I say, too wide for enthusiastic (back) road use?

  • ZX10R NIN 07 Sep 2017

    You're right it is a bit wide but that's part of the thing that will keep you on your toes especially with a car so capable in terms of handling that you need something to keep you alert whilst pressing on.

  • kambites 07 Sep 2017

    It wasn't very long about that magasines used to say supercars were unusable because they were 2m wide... the roads haven't got any wider.

    It's no wider than a Range Rover though, and people seem to manage with them.

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