If Mercedes-AMG want to compete their GT line-up with Porsche’s 911 range, what they really need is choice. The GT C is the latest in the five model range. Porsche currently fields over 20 variants of 911. So while GT C is positioned as a very specialised piece of GT metal, in theory it has to be a bit Grand Tourer, part track car, all-round badass.
Ok so Merc’s product department has been watching too many horror films of late because the specification is bone chilling. The car’s low, ultra wide and long snout accentuated by a surface paint that treats light like a black hole. It’s so…cold. Unresponsive to angles. And it suits the car’s thuggish character. A little blunt, a bit heavy and completely unapologetic. A haymaker of a punch.
But a little more road friendly than the GT-R. Softer seats, a boot instead of a roll cage, less carbon fibre – above and below the surface – and sans the fixed rear wing. Yet even without these hardcore options, the GT C is quite terse for every day. Always has been positioned as harder, noisier and less nimble than a 911 and in GT C form these traits are dialled up to explosive force with some schizophrenia thrown in for good measure.
But before we get to the all-dominant V8 twin turbo charged engine that’s become the definitive AMG heart from SUVs to sedans and sportscars, let’s focus on the cabin. To me it’s always been a sort of hollowed out tub bookended near a thumping rear axle and a long way from the nose. But the presentation is of high quality – somebody described the buttons as an upturned Octopus tentacle and that’s spot on. A very ergonomic tentacle with lovely movement and one that emphasises the snug, low driving position. It doesn’t have the multi-stage traction system of the GT-R and those door pockets are only for the latest slimmest smartphones, but while the majority of sportscars opt for light and spry, the GT C is heavily armoured for combat with multiple A-grade tools.
And while it does mooch around, in its normal comfort setting it’s a hard car to drive adroitly most of the time, to find the middle ground between smooth syrupy progress and hard fists of violent power. To me I’d like less power and less weight which would chamfer the edges. This is a rigid car to make up for the fabric roof, and even with rear-wheel steering you still need to steer it on the throttle because the nose, weighed down by V8, has a sort of pendulum effect.
So it’s a conflicted car this; the V8, the soundtrack it emits…I can feel my flesh prickle with sweat while I sit here writing this. It’s one of the world’s angriest engines yet what it’s bolted to doesn’t fit the mould of a traditional; sportscar. A modern hotrod, perhaps. The GT approaches the segment from a completely different direction and no amount of stiffening or extra power is going to find that balance point.