The arrival of the hardcore GT R Pro heralds a refresh for the entire Mercedes-AMG GT range. Australia skips the GT, so the 384kW, 670Nm GT S is our entry-level model

e have always been big fans of the Mercedes-AMG GT here at evo Australia. Few cars offer such a sense of occasion with the option of being a genuine everyday car. While there was absolutely nothing wrong with the previous GT S, Mercedes-AMG decided to improve it anyway.

With the regular GT not coming to our shores (it appears we Australians like an ‘S’ on our AMG badges) the GT S also happens to be our entry into the quickly growing Mercedes-AMG GT range that includes GT C, GT R and Roadster variants. Then there are the GT4 and GT3 race cars that can be purchased through the Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Programme. As you can read on page 90, the track-focused GT R Pro isn’t coming to Australia, but we’re almost certain starters for the range-topping, ultra-hardcore Black Series that is due in 2020.

With this model refresh, AMG has made small but noticeable improvements all over. Starting on the outside, the GT gets the same dark background headlight ‘signature’ treatment as the monster AMG GT 4 Door. There is also a new sill treatment with black trim along the lower area that makes the GT S look even lower than it already is. Around the back, the quad exhaust pipes are contained in a new apron that gives the GT S a squatter feel.

Inside, the GT S’s cabin, which was always a very special place to be, we get an updated steering wheel with Touch Control button’s and the round knob on the right to access the five driver settings. The centre console also gets the same Touch Control buttons controlling the gearbox, suspension, ESC and start/stop function. A firmer rocker switch is reserved for selecting the drive programs. Besides that, it’s all regular GT S, with our car having colour-coded stitching matching the yellow exterior.

A blast across Germany on a cold April afternoon to visit some family friends 100km away proved just how adapt the GT S is at quick and rather entertaining drives from A to B. The view over that long bonnet is always a little intimidating at first, as you feel as though you are looking up and over it. But you quickly settle into it all. The ability to get to serious speeds, call it a nice firmly planted sweet spot around 280km/h, and maintain that pace as though you are sitting on 110km/h is only matched by high-end euro barges (remember that term?) like the Mercedes-AMG E63 S and BMW M5. At these speeds, the GT S also puts to shame the high-speed stability of many of its rivals, never making you feel uneasy or second guessing what way it might twitch next.

However, hit an autobahn stau, German for unexplained and lengthy traffic jam in the middle of nowhere, and that high-speed progress quickly turns into McDonald’s drive-through crawl.

Time to see what alternate routes are on offer on the sat nav, praying for a windy road through the German country side.

Suitable road located, we are on our way again, and this is where the Mercedes-AMG GT S comes into its own. Not only can you sample speed on demand but the chassis allows you to tap into a level of precision that the aforementioned E63 S and M5 couldn’t hope to match. This is more akin to Porsche 911-levels of involvement and speed.

While the GT S offers five driving modes, its sweet spot is in Sport mode, with the exhaust turned to loud, of course. The countryside is dotted with quaint villages that are connected by open sweepers with clear lines of sight that extend for hundreds of metres. The GT S builds dramatic speed in short order and you can lean on the chassis like you are cutting your way through the ocean in an offshore power boat, with the soundtrack to match.

The ride quality is a highlight, absorbing bumps and never throwing the GT S off line. It’s genuinely fast across all sorts of roads, but it’s not all about speed. In fact, the Gran Turismo part of its badge is never far from the surface and the duality of its character is incredibly impressive.

Dynamically, the GT S feels like a truer sports car than before, ready to roll up its sleeves and get stuck. And yet, its GT credentials are also enhanced. Whichever way you choose to drive it, the AMG is one of the best GTs in the business. Not bad for a base model. Matthew O’Malley

Mercedes-AMG GT S Specs

Engine V8, 3982cc
Power 384kW @ 6000rpm
Torque 670Nm @ 1750-5000rpm
Weight 1645kg
(228kW/tonne)
0-100km/h 3.8sec
Top speed 311km/h
Basic price $301,130