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AMG GT S: Pinstripe Hot Rod

A Blazing Time With A V8 German Demon

By the time you read this, we've already had the privilege of having this beast on two separate occasions and the world has already seen the AMG GT R, a topic for an entirely different day soon. Still, our experience allows us to provide you with a comprehensive look at the AMG GT S. Our first date with this AMG GT S was on a short-drag race during an AMG Driving Experience earlier this year. We also had the perfect setting for our first full round with the AMG GT S, when we were on our way back from 'Ultra' Singapore. For those of you who don't know what 'Ultra' is, it is one of the most famous series of live rave concerts, usually drawing a crowd of thousands over a weekend and Singapore is always a full-house venue each year.

Initially, we drove down to Merlion City with Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM), part of the local 'Urban Hunting' chapter, in a glistening CLA250. Once across the causeway, we were assigned the C63 AMG for a short test-run with MBM's Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mr. Mark Raine. During the casual drive around Singapore's city centre with Mark, we expressed a longing and a liking for the German marque's AMG cars. Little did we know, that the drivers who drove the demo unit down, were unavailable to drive her back up and thanks to Mark who remembered our chat, we were kindly offered the chance to drive her back to Malaysia. Our second experience with the car was a few weeks later over one long weekend.

This Mercedes-AMG GT S is to many extents, the demon child of the iconic SLS-AMG (check this link out to see a cool new iteration of the SLS-AMG), a sports car that was way ahead of its time from 2010 to 2015. As you can imagine, this AMG GT series has a lot to live up to in somewhat replacing the gullwinged-SLS, or at least attempt to. Right off the bat, I can tell you that there is nothing iconic about this sports car... yet. Since its global appearance at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the model has progressively honed its own following of fans, with a tendency for said persons to not view the two models in the same light. And of course, now we have the AMG GT R.

Based on our two stints with the AMG GT S, we believe that Mercedes' answer to the rest of supercar-dom from Sindelfingen, Germany, is a worthy competitor, and, an upsetter. It's a thoroughbred gunslinger on so many levels, starting with the core of its experience: a new, in-house developed and hand-built 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine.

This new V8 Mercedes-AMG mill provides all the drama and theatricality anyone would love right from the push of a sleek ignition button that awakens the dapper-looking beast. Yes, its exhaust note raises the hair and spirit instantaneously and it's no surprise that this V8 biturbo mill was developed specifically for the GT. It's crafted using a lightweight construction model with a high efficiency and environmental aim as well, something we did keep an eye on as we rushed back up to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore. One full-tank was all we needed, and mind you, we were pinning the throttle whenever the roads allowed it.

'Manic' is the word to describe this road-bruiser at full whack out on the freeway. It's straight-road performance is made all the more scintillating, not just from that rowdy exhaust note, but by the sheer fact that all of its 500 German ponies are thrown to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch tranny. AMG's engineers have done a good job with managing a front mid-engine and the dual clutch transmission in transaxle configuration at the rear axle, something it shares with its famous daddy, the SLS AMG. You truly feel its all-aluminium spaceframe chassis being utilised to the full through this powertrain layout because the balance that this long-hooded beast presents is the right amount of punch and nimbleness. 

Be it in long sweepers or the tightest turns, the AMG GT S is spectacularly accurate as the car's computer works like clock-work to dispatch your driver inputs and handle feedback quickly, which results in proper weight distribution. There is no hesitance from the engine or tranny. Spec sheets tell us that the weight distribution, a ratio of 47 percent (front) to 53 percent (rear), also benefits from the GT's powertrain layout. The coupe has also been tuned to have larger gear ratios which unlocks a juicy amount of pulls and dips that makes it all the more addictive, especially when its roaring tailpipes at the rear let fly. This sensation also spurs you on to churn out some tasteful expression from the car's meaty 650Nm of turbocharged torque. Its worth noting that AMG's 'one-man-one-engine' ethos is the reason why this V8 mill is bang on point, because you feel the attention to detail with each gearshift; the torque is delivered in a strong rhythm and yet, it is easy to get used to and also manage.

When we took things easy with the Mercedes-AMG GT S, we realised how civilised this V8 hotrod can become. The noise levels are nicely subdued when you stay in 'Comfort' but it is still a very stiff drive despite the car being in its softer damper settings. It's down to its double-wishbone struts that are all motorsports trinkets of course. When we did get stuck in some congestion just passed Johore, it became a really uncomfortable car to be in which made us realise that the compact cabin could've used a little more breathing space, as everything is sportscar like; low, tight, and direct.

There are however some really nice touches to its interior that are stunning to this writer's eyes. There is a great rhythm between the sloping dashboard and a prominent centre console which says 'Supercar' all the way. It looks lethal and brutal, yet very stylish. It would've been 100%, if not for the fact that the gear selector is located all the way down on the console. By this I mean, it goes past your elbow and out of reach at times. Not that you'd need to look for it while driving, but if anyone wasn't the most flexible person like me, they'd be quite upset as well. Still, it's difficult to argue with what AMG have done on the inside. It's a perfectly put together interior that not only evokes sportiness, but it is also quite friendly to the touch and sight. My favourite bit is the ignition button labeled in blood red, amidst all the alcantara black. 

When you hit pause from all the the rear-wheel action and just soak in its exterior good looks, it's pure erotica. It has one of the most powerful yet stylish proportions I've seen on four wheels and it begins with a sensational grille up front with the famous three-point star. Its long hood is almost never-ending from the side and front. It gives the AMG GT S a very pronounced overall look, a very good ode to the SLS. There is an element of emotional appeal from the back with its extendable rear aerofoil hidden away until it is activated. There's also the trim strip in matte iridium silver inspired by the A-wing in the front that creates a visual sense of lightness across the entire tail end. Of course, this more powerful 'S' variant gets some additional AMG goodies both inside and out compared to the standard GT, but you have to say, when it's turned off and quietly parked, it's a very dapper-looking thing don't you think so?

The coupe is specced with what Mercedes-AMG call 'Intelligent Drive' assistance systems, which can also be found in new S-Class. Standard equipment includes goodies like Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Adaptive Brake, Attention Assist and a useful tyre pressure monitoring system. There are also optional extras available like, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, the stellar PRE-SAFE® system, PARKTRONIC and a beefed-up reverse camera which we highly recommend due to the AMG GT S' sheer length. The standard-fit restraint systems not only include three-point seat belts with tensioners, but also front airbags, combined thorax/pelvis sidebags, windowbags and kneebags, for the driver and front passenger respectively. Yes, it's stuffed with the right amount of features you'd expect it to have considering it's hidden behemoth character.

By the end of our time with the Mercedes-AMG GT S, we came to a conclusion that it is a belter of a sports car in its purest form. It has the looks to kill, the performance to keep you shell-shocked in its seats all time and the right amount of luxury touches to make all of it special. Would I personally purchase one if I had a capable cheque book that can take on the odd RM1,125,000 asking price? Yes. If this AMG GT S was a movie character, the first persona that comes to mind is John Wick, the full-suit-wearing assassin. He looks calm and dapper in his suit until he whips out his guns and goes berserk. The AMG GT S however, is a lot more refined and menacing I assure you, a hot rod I'd definitely love to have without hesitation. Thanks MBM for the runabout with your motorsports calling card.