The Mercedes-AMG GT could be about to get a whole lot more attainable thanks to the addition of a new, entry-level model that trades its V8 for six-cylinder power. Rumours of such a model have been around for some time, with sources claiming a hybrid inline six version to slot into AMG's 53 line-up was likely. New images of a test car running with a quad tailpipe exhaust system have resurrected the claims, although - as ever - determining exactly what's under the bonnet is not as easy as the internet thinks it is.
If the pictured test car - seen alongside a V8 version of the 2019 facelift - were to be using the 48v electrified inline six powerplant from AMG's 53 line-up, it'd have to place the electric bit (a starter generator) between the engine and gearbox. But in the GT, the engine and gearbox live at opposite ends of the car, rather than squeezed up against each other like in the CLS 53. Where would the mild hybrid setup fit into this? With Mercedes remaining tight-lipped, your guess is as good as ours.
This technical conundrum means a pure combustion engine version might actually be more plausible, and it'd certainly align the new entry-level GT more closely with the V6-engine Audi R8 that's due out next year. Even without the 22hp and 184lb ft provided by the 53's electric shove, the six produces a healthy 435hp and 384 lb ft, which is just 41hp and 59lb ft shy of the blown 4.0-litre V8 in today's entry-level GT, remember. If that doesn't fit the bill of a new base model, we don't know what does.
Then again, it'd be hard to completely ignore the rumours that have long predicted the arrival of a petrol-electric AMG GT. A pure combustion engine version might also leave the GT stranded too far below its intended remit, where as an electrically assisted one would offer performance more comparable (or even superior to) the current V8, with the added bonus of lower fuel consumption and emissions. And you don't need us to tell you how seriously manufacturer's take the latter.
We'll have to wait until the AMG GT facelift becomes official to know for sure, although you can take it as read that the new powerplant will be joined by the new infotainment setup (obvs) that's pinched from the C-Class. That means there'll be no widescreen dash, as first seen in the S-Class, but something a little more subtle. As for other changes, we wouldn't expect anything substantial; the last aesthetic update brought little more than a new front grille.