The new Mercedes-AMG GT has a fierce rival: Porsche 911 Turbo/GTS

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Mercedes-AMG is trying to compete with the Porsche 911 Turbo/GTS with the same technology: integral steering, all-wheel drive, and 2+2 seating configuration. But is it enough?

In September 2014, Mercedes decided to abandon building an expensive supercar. The former Mercedes SLR McLaren and SLS AMG models cost 452,000 euro and 189,000 euro respectively, in 2003 and 2009.

Mercedes decided to build a sports car that could rival the Porsche 911 in terms of performance and price. The first generation Mercedes AMG GT managed to come close to the price of a Porsche 911 but nevertheless, it was not very successful. The configuration with only two seats and the far too firm suspension, even in Comfort mode, were two major drawbacks. The Porsche 911 offered a more comfortable suspension and a 2+2 seating configuration, which even though it didn’t offer much space in the rear, allowed for more bulky luggage. In addition, the Porsche 911 had many more engine and gearbox versions than the AMG GT.

Now, Mercedes is trying again using the technologies from the Porsche 911 GTS and 911 Turbo: integral steering, all-wheel drive, and 2+2 seating configuration. To this end, the Mercedes-AMG division has developed its own platform MSA (Modular Sports Architecture), with a lower center of gravity, allowing the adoption of all-wheel drive, integral steering, and 2+2 seating configuration.

Interior space

The new Mercedes-AMG GT is 184 mm longer and 45 mm longer than the previous generation, and the wheelbase is 70 mm longer. In this way, Mercedes-AMG GT is roomier than the Porsche 911: 4,728 mm long, 1,984 mm wide, and 1,354 mm high compared to 4,533/1,852/1,303 mm in the 911 Turbo, which also has a shorter wheelbase of 2,450 mm compared to 2,700 mm in the AMG GT.

So, the new Mercedes-AMG GT seems to offer more space, at least in the boot: 321 liters which expand to 675 liters by folding down the rear seats, while the Porsche 911 Turbo has a small 132-litre boot under the front hood. The AMG GT also has the advantage of better access to the boot, thanks to the generous tailgate.

Of course, Porsche 911 owners also use the rear seats space for luggage storage as it cannot normally be used by people due to the very small head and knee room. In the case of the AMG GT, Mercedes says it can seat people up to 1.50 meters tall in the rear, but our experience with the AMG SL, which has the same configuration, didn’t exactly thrill us. In the AMG SL, there’s almost no knee room in the rear because, in the normal position, the front backrests are very close to the cushion of the rear seats, and if you push the front seats back, they stick to the rear cushion.

Still, it’s clear that the new AMG GT offers more room than the 911 at least in the trunk, while, in the rear, the space is similar.

Interior space
Mercedes-AMG GT – Porsche 911 GTS/Turbo 1:0

Weight and performance

Mercedes boasts a lightweight construction of aluminum, steel, magnesium, and fiber composite materials for the body and use forged aluminum for all suspension links, steering knuckles, and wheel carriers on the front and rear axles. But both the Mercedes-AMG GT 55 4Matic+ (476 ps) and AMG GT 63 4Matic+ (585 ps) versions weigh 1,970 kg, 255 kg, and 300 kg (!) more than the Porsche 911 Turbo/911 Carrera 4 GTS PDK which have similar technology and power: 480 ps and 580 ps respectively.

Mercedes can explain the extra weight to some extent by the fact that the new Mercedes-AMG GT is bigger and roomier, but it’s hard to justify 255 or 300 kg with only 195 mm more length. Certainly, the 911 Turbo’s 6-cylinder boxer engine is a little lighter than the AMG GT’s V8, but it’s not just that.

Benefiting from variable turbine geometry, the Porsche 911 Turbo’s engine gives it better performance: 0-100 kph in 2.8 seconds compared to 3.2 seconds in the AMG GT 63 4Matic+. The 911 GTS also accelerates from 0-100 kph in 3.3 seconds compared to 3.9 seconds in the AMG GT 55 4Matic+.

The 911 GTS/Turbo’s dual-clutch eight-speed gearbox contributes to better acceleration in addition to the lower weight. The PDK gearbox shifts faster than the AMG SL’s 9-speed automatic transmission with a wet start clutch.

Weight and performance
Mercedes-AMG GT – Porsche 911 GTS/Turbo 0:1

Aerodynamics and consumption

Both models have active aerodynamics. Mercedes-AMG GT has a two-part active air control system Airpanel at the front, one in the lower spoiler with vertical slats, and the second one in the radiator grille with horizontal louvres. Normally, all slats are closed even at top speed, but when cooling is needed, the radiator grille and the spoiler grille opens at over 180 km/h.

Then the active spoiler can be positioned at five angles and pops out from 80 km/h upwards, up to this speed it is completely hidden in the boot lid.

Finally, a carbon element hidden in the floor in front of the engine automatically extends down 40 mm at over 100 km/h in Basic/Advanced of AMG Dynamics and over 80 km/h in Pro/Master and creates a Venturi effect that glues the car to the road. In this mode, at 250 km/h aerodynamic downforce increases substantially.

Porsche has a different philosophy on active aerodynamics. Instead of the carbon element hidden in the floor in front of the engine on the AMG GT, the Porsche 911 Turbo has an electronically controlled active front spoiler as well as cooling air flaps at the front.

Porsche also has more efficient cooling for the 6-cylinder boxer engine. The air intakes on the rear side panels now draw induction air rather than cooling air, while the charge air intercoolers are now positioned directly in the airflow under the rear lid.

Mercedes had problems in the first generation AMG GT with cooling the V8 engine built on the “hot V” principle with the turbines placed inside the V. A movable flap placed above the turbines opened at a certain speed, but at low speeds, it remained closed and the engine temperature increased especially in the hot summers. With the new generation, Mercedes did away with this flap and replaced it with an air intake in the cover at the rear of the engine.

With cooling, better aerodynamics, and lower weight, the Porsche 911 Turbo has much lower fuel consumption than the new AMG GT: 12 l/100 km compared to 14.1 l/100 km for the Mercedes-AMG GT.

Aerodynamics and consumption
Mercedes-AMG GT – Porsche 911 GTS/Turbo 0:1

Brakes

We can’t assess braking performance yet until the first test with the new AMG GT. It comes with composite brakes with ventilated front/rear discs, 390 mm at the front with a fixed six-piston caliper, and 360 mm at the rear with a floating single-piston caliper, while the 911 Turbo comes standard with classic steel discs of 408 mm at the front and 380 mm at the rear. Ceramic disc brakes are available as an option.

Suspension

Both models have integral steering and all-wheel drive. The Mercedes-AMG GT comes standard with active anti-roll bars, while on the Porsche 911 Turbo, these are optional. Both also have a lockable rear differential.

The Mercedes-AMG GT has standard AMG Active Ride Control suspension with classic steel springs and adaptive dampers. The adaptive dampers have two hydraulic connections. One is on the compression side of the damper and the other is on the tension side. The damper chambers on all four wheels and the lines are connected directly via the control valves of the adaptive dampers.

The Porsche 911 Turbo comes standard with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) adaptive suspension. An even firmer PASM suspension can be ordered as an option, which is lowered by 10 mm.

Prices

We still don’t know the price of the Mercedes-AMG GT but the AMG SL 55 4Matic+ costs 167,000 euros and the AMG SL 63 4Matic+ 195,000 euros. The new AMG GT will not be cheaper. The Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS costs 163,191 euros while the 911 Turbo starts at 212,242 euros.