There was a palpable air of sadness in the GRR office when we learned that Mercedes-Benz would be dropping its astonishing 6.2 litre V8. It was a thing of wonder and delight which we utterly fell in love with, especially in ‘M159’ guise as found in the SLS AMG.
There is hardly an automotive scribe in the world who wasn’t profoundly touched by its character and noise as well as shattering torque and power delivery, but the world is moving on and cubic capacity is being replaced by all sorts of turbocharged cleverness and this brings us to the 4.0 litre V8 in the Mercedes-AMG GT.
Certainly if the latest teaser video is anything to go by then Mercedes-AMG is to be congratulated for producing an exhaust note unfettered by the addition of those two turbos which can so often flatten-out exhaust harmonics. It sounds lovely, or at least it does in the video where its likely they’ve used the GT S model with its standard-fit fully variable exhaust flaps in the open position.
Back to those turbos for now though, and for the first time ever in a production car they sit inside the cylinder banks. We can’t get hold of a diagram to show how this works (we’d love to see!), but it allows for a more compact design and apparently serves to optimise turbo response.
Use of a dry sump system allows the motor to sit lower in the engine bay as well as ensure a good supply of oil under high lateral forces, and Mercedes-AMG has continued its ethos of ‘one man, one engine’ to produce and engine which delivers either 462bhp or 510bhp depending on whether the GT or GT S has been specified.
So far so good then, but it’s at the rear of the car where we’d argue the GT has its greatest advantage over the outgoing SLS. Whilst far from being an Achilles Heel, the transaxle-located transmission was perhaps not all it could be, however with the GT Mercedes-AMG has come up with a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission-in-transaxle unit which has supposedly sharpened-up things dramatically. Communication between the engine and transmission has been ‘fundamentally revised’ which in this case means that shift times have been quickened-up to match the ‘highly emotive’ engine. In the case of the GT S there is a ‘Race’ drive program which livens shift up further still.
Complimenting all of this is some tricky axle-locking technology to provide improved control; a mechanical setup for the GT and an electronically-controlled unit for the GT S which should allow the handling limits to be prodded-at more safely and improve traction.
But all of these advances have apparently not come at the expense of on-road comfort. Mercedes-AMG claims to have gone to great lengths to carry-over the successful technological DNA of the SLS to give ‘race track performance and everyday practicality.
We’re not going to really know how good this fresh tech’ stacks up against a Porsche rival until the two go head-to-head, which sadly won’t be for some months yet. However, what’s for sure is that Mercedes-AMG has listened to constructive criticism and sharpened up the motor and transmission to try to take the fight to their rivals from Stuttgart.
We cannot wait. Bring it on!