As promised the other week, British magazine EVO followed its circuit review of the spanking new Mercedes-AMG GT S with a head to head duel against its closest rival, the turbo neighbor from Stuttgart.
There aren’t a lot of cars out there that can even begin to challenge the Porsche 911 Turbo on a track, but discretion and modesty have never really been the defining traits of AMG cars, so the AMG GT S has no problem throwing the gauntlet.
With its 510 PS and 650 Nm, it has every right to feel entitled to. Not only that, but the AMG GT S has a kerb weight of just 1.570 kg, which makes it a very agile and nimble little sports car. In other words, a proper sports car.
But even though it can act as a true athlete, it can also play the hooligan like any other AMG model you can think of and the endless drifts you see in the video are living proof. It’s less potent than the 911 Turbo – not by much, though, with the Porsche only 10 PS ahead – but the acceleration is spot on and power delivery is constant and definitely raucous thanks to that twin-turbo V8.
If this were a battle of sound effects, the verdict would be clear five seconds into the foray: the AMG GT S is much louder and its repertoire a lot more impressive.
The Porsche 911 Turbo, on the other hand, has other tricks up its sleeve: first of all, it’s 4WD which means absurd levels of grip into corners and also when pulling off. The AMG GT S has rear wheel drive, but the traction is there even with the huge power at hand. In fact, they say it can cope with a fully engaged throttle pedal as soon as the second gear.
As any sports car should, the 911 Turbo really comes alive on the track where its full potential becomes available. If the steering was light and a bit vague on the road, here it feels neatly balanced due to the higher loads on the front axle. The test car came without the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control and Dan Prosser, the EVO journalist driving it, says it’s all the better for it. With its variable active roll bar system, the PDCC robs the car of its feel which might be a good thing when you’re aiming for a comfortable ride, but is less desirable on track.
So, time for the final decision and the two cars get handed over to Dickie (Richard) Meaden, senior EVO editor and former racer. Think EVO’s Stig without the identity crisis.
As expected, both cars are fast and the result is rather close – only 1.8 seconds separate the two. On a technical circuit, it all comes down to grip and traction, and the 911 Turbo is the one who pulls out of corners faster and sooner, with less oversteer. The Mercedes-AMG GT S puts on an impressive performance, but it isn’t enough to defeat the more cynical, the more effective Porsche. For a racer, then, the 911 Turbo would be the rational choice. For the other 99.9% of us, it’s still up for debate.
(the race starts at 6:30)