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Silvios Ride Oct 26, 2018

2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT C Roadster


The Gentleman’s Track Star

Plus: Brilliant twin-turbo V-8, brilliant dual-clutch gearbox, track-worthy suspension, badass sex appeal

Minus: Rides like trucks used to, tight cabin and trunk, poor ergonomics

2018 AMG GT C Roadster starts at $157,000

Also AMG GT Coupe (469HP, $112,400), GT Roadster (469HP, $124,400) and GT R Coupe (577HP, $157,000)

Ever seen one of these? No, I didn’t think so. It’s a true exotic. AMG is Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance brand, like M is to BMW. Normally, AMG converts everyday Mercs into fire-breathing dragons. But this one, the GT, is a two-seater built from the ground up by AMG—there’s no corresponding “ordinary” Mercedes. All the luxury and safety features we’d expect from the three-pointed star are here, but our GT C roadster can hit 60 MPH in 3.6 seconds. Top speed is 196 miles per hour. And prices start at $157,000.

The heart of the GT C is a 4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 that sits behind the front wheels. It sends 550 horsepower to the back wheels through an automated 7-speed transmission with two electrically operated clutches. The gearbox is built into the rear axle, for better weight distribution. In five different drive modes, several of which are unsuitable for public roads, the computer will shift gears automatically, or the driver can do it manually with paddles on the steering wheel.

So stand on the throttle and cue the thunder and lightning! The engine gets raucous and the upshifts pop like gunshots. The power rolls on in a savage wave—one of those two clutches is always waiting to take the handoff from the other. The brakes are just as immediate and just as powerful. Staying between the lines is easy too; the steering is light, but precise and linear. Oh, for a racetrack . . .

What’s not to like? Quite a lot, it turns out. This cabin is almost claustrophobic; there’s a lot jammed in here, and just getting in and out is a challenge. The trunk, at least in the convertible, barely holds one suitcase. The visibility—to the sides, the rear and past the windshield pillars—is awful. The ergonomics are iffy too; reaching the shifter is awkward, and most owners will never figure out all the electronics. (Even the mufflers are adjustable, for sound.) And the suspension! In Comfort mode, never mind Sport or Race, the GT rides like a truck, and that’s being unkind to trucks. On a potholed road, you’ll want to bring your chiropractor along.

The AMG GT C is unquestionably brilliant to drive—within a narrow window of circumstances. Living with it, though, is a different story. Mercedes calls it a GT, a grand touring car, but really it’s a super sports car that demands sacrifices in convenience and comfort and utility. Does Mercedes care? No. They’ve got so many models that if this one doesn’t do it for you, three others will, and they can hang their performance credentials on it. Truly, as a pure go-fast toy the AMG GT C is stupendous, so much so that the price seems almost reasonable.

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