Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S Coupe

This Mercedes is not a car. This Mercedes is a machine that draws adrenaline long before the spark of ignition. This Mercedes is not about transportation — it is about having a plan and fusing it with passion.The 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT S Coupe is undeniably the most gorgeous car to come from Affalterbach since the gullwing miracle of the SLS AMG — an automobile that altered the axis of the automotive world in 2009. The SLS, the spiritual successor to the glorious 300SL Gullwing of 1954, stole so many hearts and captured so much imagination it ought to have its own house of worship.

But the SLS was expensive and not exactly practical. At roughly $250,000, it was something to be savoured by a select few. And while the SLS AMG was monstrously fast, able to outrun many an Aston Martin or Audi, it was big and came with a peculiar personality — part muscle car, part luxury car, part exotic mixed with racecar. It was, like a loved one who bottles her feelings, something that took time and patience to understand.

One lap around Canadian Tire Motorsport Park northeast of Toronto and it’s apparent that the $149,900 AMG GT S Coupe is much more heart-on-sleeve, roaring with a teeth-gritting ferocity that panics the trackside starlings on this early spring morning.

The AMG GT S is not, of course, meant to be a direct replacement for the retiring SLS AMG, even if it does adopt its front suspension and an improved Getrag seven-speed dual clutch gearbox that executes shifts with sniper-like precision. But where the SLS required a delicate hand and constant attention, the GT merely wants — no, demands — passion. It asks only to be pushed harder at every corner and straight, for any and all reservations or hesitations I might have as a driver to be unpacked, as though thrilled to finally get the chance to go for a good hard run and show off its talent.

Through the off-camber esses of the track’s Moss Corner, the 20-inch rear wheels of the GT maintain a fierce grip. Out of the corner, the approaching runway of the Mario Andretti back straight beckons. Pushing the throttle to the floor ignites the twin turbos nested within the top V of the engine. The 4.0-litre V8 immediately forces air and fuel into the specially coated cylinders with a fervour that forces me into the supportive leather sport seat. The rear tires struggle for traction; the back end twitches right, then left. The pressure on my body is more extreme than a jet on takeoff. Trees become a blur as the rear spoiler lifts into place at 120 km/h. I cannot see where needle and number intersect in the instrument dials. I remind myself to breathe.