SILVER ARROW Mercedes-Benz throws down the gauntlet with its breathtaking new AMG GT S super coupe By Howard Walker
There’s driving. And then there’s driving. The kind that gets your heart pounding like a jackhammer. The kind that sends a surge of adrenaline through your veins. The kind that leaves you shrieking like a sugar-rushed 5-yearold riding Space Mountain for the first time. To experience all of the above, simply strap yourself into Mercedes-Benz’s new projectile, the 503-horsepower AMG GT S. This is the demonic descendent of Mercedes’ short-lived SLS supercar—the one with those funky gullwing doors, wrath-of-Thor soundtrack, and $200,000-plus sticker. With this new AMG GT S, however, Mercedes is targeting a broader demographic: sports-car lovers with around $130,000 burning a hole in their chinos. The same buyers with class acts like Porsche’s latest 911, Audi’s R8, Jaguar’s F-Type R, and Aston Martin’s Vantage already on their shopping lists. The GT scores huge on looks alone. From those air-gulping intakes up front to its long hood to that sensuously sculpted rear end, this car garners more dropped jaws than Amal Cloo76
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ney in Oscar de la Renta. Just standing still, it looks as if it’s clocking 190 on the Autobahn. Thankfully, the GT hasn’t inherited the SLS’ doors that resemble a cormorant drying its wings. They may have paid homage to Mercedes’ legendary 300SL Gullwing from the ’50s, but they made getting in and out of the car a lesson in physical origami. I whacked my head on them every time I clambered out. Not that this latest AMG rocket ship is much easier to slide into. With its roof just more than 4 feet off the asphalt, you need the flexibility of a limbo dancer to drop down into the cockpit. Once inside, the seats grip you so tightly they verge on intimate. But grab hold of that fabulous suede-covered helm, gaze out along that supertanker-long hood, and you feel as if you’re in the front row of Sebring.
Despite this comfort, one huge question remains unanswered: Who decided the gear selector should be in the back seat? It seems there wasn’t enough space for cup holders and the stubby shifter at the front of the center console. Unbelievably—especially for the purists at AMG—the cup holders won and the shifter was pushed just far enough back to be irritating. Thankfully, the engine start button is where it