In the hierarchy of Mercedes-Benz sports cars, one vehicle stands crank and pistons above the rest: the AMG GT. Born of DNA from the most famous Mercedes of all time, the 300 SL “Gullwing,” the AMG GT is the ultimate expression of what 100-plus years of crafting fine motorized conveyance can produce. Benz enthusiasts — or anyone who loves speed, really — will already be familiar with the three letters that indicate the upper echelon of the marque’s model range: AMG.
Now Benz’s official performance division, it was founded in 1967 by three guys in a garage outside Stuttgart who wanted to make their cars go much, much faster than factory spec. Fifty years on, the latest vehicle to bear the AMG badge, the new 2018 AMG GT C Roadster, is a rip-snorting reminder that, though the garage may have gotten bigger, the goal remains the same.
In terms of raw sex appeal, pedigreed power and drool-worthy design, the AMG GT and especially its new Roadster variant match revs with a very rarefied group that includes the McLaren 570GT, Ferrari 488 GTB and Aston Martin DB11. In its previous iteration as the SLS AMG, it also matched price tags with its more exotic competitors. But in its latest incarnation, Mercedes reduced the cost considerably without sacrificing anything in the way of performance or luxury.
Now with a starting sticker of $111,200, the AMG GT looks downright affordable compared with the DB11’s $215,000 debit. Of course, the GT C Roadster costs a bit more, at $157,995. But you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to see that’s still something of a bargain.
Benz AMG GT (2 images)
For that hit to the brokerage account, you get a 550-hp hand-built V8 biturbo engine good for hitting 0-60 MPH in 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 196 MPH. Convertibles that can deliver these kinds of numbers stray into unicorn territory, but the AMG GT C Roadster has its rubber planted firmly on the tarmac. It’s a Mercedes after all, which means the engineering and technology are second to none. Look no further than the fact that the DB11 uses the same gear.
Were James Bond to go topless, he’d no doubt do it in the $300,000-plus Vanquish Volante, which takes 4.1 seconds to get to the same goal. But we’re sure the bean counters at MI6 would rather he got behind the wheel of the GT C Roadster, even if driving a German car might seem a little outré. After having piloted one in Arizona — for the authorities’ sake we’ll refer to it as “spirited” driving — we can confirm that 007 doesn’t know what he’s missing.
Because if he did, he might well defect to the GDR.