All I Want for Christmas is AMG GT

"Christmas is most wonderful time of the year" - so they say, but to us, petrol heads it usually means traffic, shopping malls, and end of year road safety enforcement.  Cold weather is also not photographer's best friend so I am ready to put my car keys down and spend more time playing Forza Horizon 3, but not today!

A bit of free time and desperate crave for coffee brought me to Mercedes Benz Connection Tokyo, which frankly, after getting the M3 I was somewhat avoiding.

The result was, apart from a cup of decent soy latte was one of the most epic test drives in entire year!

Even though I had a choice of being waffed around in a Maybach, I went for the brutal balls to the wall AMG GT!

Mercedes Benz Connection does offer these surprise test drives once every blue moon.  After all, my very first visit back in 2012 resulted in a 40 minute cruise in SLS AMG!

This time around they are a lot more structured, and a detour towards Shinagawa was out of question,

so I had to settle for a more regular route, with a couple of extra tunnels in the middle. Of course there would be tunnels!

Well, before we set off, allow me to talk about the car!

This is probably where I should be holding my emotions while trying to describe the tiny details,

talk about the glorious V8

and try to analyze the monstrous sound of the valved exhaust,

but eventually I succumbed to my emotions as "dreaming of a white Christmas" has never beer more actual than this!

Dear Santa, can I have this loud, obnoxious, tire shredding, car alarm triggering, egocentric, tree-hugger punishing masterpiece of a vehicular art? Please? Pretty please, with sugar on top?

To which Santa said: Sure, it's yours but only for 25 minutes! Fair enough, so let's check it out!

Before I try to describe what AMG GT is, let's take a time slip and look at its predecessor.

It is undeniable that SLS AMG was a huge hit, it stepped out the boundaries of what Mercedes Benz was known to produce; it was loud, uncomfortable, wide, long, impractical, had impossibly bad fuel economy; it was punishing, and it was as frustrating to own as it was just plain useless, and for all those reasons -- it was awesome!

I mean just look at it! It was absolutely gorgeous, the gull-wing doors were what defined automotive pornography.  The sound of the engine brought instant goose bumps and when you saw one at your local car meet, it you knew you had get your camera out right away! We all know that despite the badge and relatively inexpensive price tag it was an exotic!

In a way it fits perfectly into a description of a modern day Countach - if you are a car guy there is no way that you don't want one. Its shape makes a perfect bedroom poster or a desktop background; if it were an action hero, it would a blend of Martin Riggs and John Matrix  -- a muscular asshole with a death wish and itchy trigger finger.  Bottom line, if you do somehow get the funds and cohones to finance and procure one of them, after 6 months of agonizing frustration filled ownership, during which you will be seen driving your daily beater Camry, you will end up with this:

If you look at all the complex high profile cars that Mercedes Benz has produced in last few years, there was probably no greater challenger than designing a worthy replacement for the SLS, and if anything, AMG GT is percisely it!  You see, Mercedes Benz had to get the SLS AMG and bring it down to earth! They needed to make a loud, obnoxious, egocentric machine, which people would not hate to own!

And whoa-la! AMG GT is a perfect breed of Mercedes Benz grass roots and SLS AMG DNA.

The proportions and design clues are identical, sound is as obnoxious, and sometimes may even seem like having an even richer tone and a lot more backfires

It is however a lot smaller, has shorter wheelbase;

it has magnetorheological hydrolic component in the suspension setup that makes ride comfortable,

it has good sound deadening, and interior that makes sense!

The moment you step into the car you are treated with top end Mercedes Benz luxury,

and abundance of toys -- perfectly suitable for modern day supercar.

Seating position is just right as sports bucket seats support you exceptionally well throughout corners, but at the same time they don't cause your legs to go numb and fall off after prolonged journey.

For what's it's worth, it even has plenty of trunk space,

 but what's even more important, is how easy it is to drive.

Reduced length, wheelbase and curb weight make the car more maneuverable and suitable for Tokyo streets.

Because of the ordinary sized bonnet and improved cabin layout, visibility is good making this car usable in every day situations.

Even on slightly damp roads I felt confident as the car's dynamics and drivability resembled a hot hatch rather than a high-end luxury cruiser.   While the forged double wishbone suspension and super sticky Michelin PSS tires wrapped around forged OEM BBS 19 inch alloys provided exceptional grip, stability and traction control kept things in control when you decided it was a good idea to "play around".

So has the car lost its AMG mojo?

Where the car shines away from all the ordinary AMG models is the fact, that just like the SLS, it is built from ground up by AMG.

This time they really did their homework as body is built using space frame aluminium construction making it a lot more light and rigid.

If anything however, it is whatever is hiding under the bonnet reminds us of the omnipotent AMG might.

True, the 4.0L Twin turbo-charged V8 has been fitted into most of the AMG models and the block will be offered  in future non AMG models as well,

But AMG GT is the only one that gets the dry-sump lubrication system allowing for better cooling, lower center of gravity due to revised oil pan design, higher compression and boost deriving an impressive 462 HP (510 for GT-S version)

The engine is mated to unique to the GT AMG SPEED-SHIFT 7-speed dual clutch transmission, making the shifts sharper and more dramatic.

Exhaust cracks and over-runs accompany every high-rpm gear shift and lift-off.  Word of warning: your neighbors are going to hate you if you keep driving this thing at night,

but on the flip-side, how can anybody blame you? This car is so much fun to drive it is beyond addictive, and when you are done driving, it's a joy to look at.

These are the little things that matter when it comes to satisfactory car ownership experience and set apart the cars that complete your automotive resume as any sort of experience with AMG GT is an unforgettable one.

So there we have it, on this cold December day, I a writing a letter to Santa, dreaming of a (pearl) white Christmas, V8, and optional valvetronic exhaust system.

Mercedes Benz AMG GT is on sale at Mercedes Benz Japan for 16.5 million yen.  I would like to thank Mercedes Benz Connection for letting me test drive and photograph their vehicles.




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