Mercedes-AMG GT vs. Porsche 911 [w/poll]Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:01:00 EST
Mercedes-Benz designed the AMG GT to compete head-on with the Porsche 911. It's a clear, singular purpose, and Benz brings a lot of money, technology and race-bred expertise to the fight.
The AMG GT is Merc's followup to the awesome SLS AMG, the retro-modern, gullwing-doored coupe that took us by storm half a decade ago. But this new GT coupe is a more focused sports car than the SLS, rather than an all out supercar capable of extreme performance. It's got a brand-new V8 engine, and state-of-the-art technology that help it to not only be a proper Mercedes, but to be a serious performer.
Mercedes will sell its new baby in two models. The GT S arrives first, in spring 2015, followed by the standard GT in mid-2016. Of course, there's room to grow from there. And while Porsche may have already expanded its 911 range to include a vast variety of models, here's how Stuttgart's icon stacks up against Affalterbach's bad boy.
Power and Speed
The AMG GT is rated at 456 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, and the AMG GT S makes 503 hp and 479 lb-ft. They both use the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, which is hand-built at AMG headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany, and then tuned differently for each variant.
- Those power ratings slot the Benzes between the 911 Carrera S, which pushes out 400 hp and just 325 lb-ft from a 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine, and the 911 Turbo, which has 520 hp and 487 lb-ft (524 lb-ft when overboost is used) from a 3.8-liter twin-turbo six.
- Despite the power variance, the sprint to 60 miles an hour is quite competitive. The 911 S has a best time of 3.9 seconds, dead even with the GT, and a couple ticks slower than the GT S, which clocks 3.7 seconds. The 911 Turbo outclasses both Mercedes easily, with a 3.0-second time with the Sport Chrono pack.
There's more choice from Porsche, and in this area, that's unlikely to change much.
- Porsche sells the 911 with seven speed-manual and seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmissions. Mercedes also will offer the GT with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission – but that's it. Purists can pull the paddles (or grind their teeth) in manual mode.
- You can get several 911 models with all-wheel drive, while GT and GT S are strictly rear-wheel driven. There are some AMGs with 4Matic, but it would add considerable weight to the GT models.
There's more choice from Porsche, but we expect this to change quickly for Mercedes once the GT S and GT arrive on the market.
- You can get almost any flavor of 911 you'd like. Track-oriented? There's the 911 GT3. Raw power? You need the 560-hp Turbo S. There's coupes, convertibles and everything in between (like the Targa). You can even celebrate 50 years of the 911, with you guessed it, a 50th Anniversary edition.
- The pickings are much slimmer for the GT line. But there's no way Mercedes keeps it this way for good. We hear a convertible is possible, but not approved, and naturally, other performance and luxury packages are likely.
The lesser-powered 911s are lighter, no surprise there, but the aluminum-intensive Mercedes is still extremely competitive.
- We estimate the GT will weigh about 3,500 pounds, and GT S will weigh about 3,560 pounds when they come to the United States. This projection takes the European weights and factors in added equipment needed to meet American crash-test requirements.
- By comparison, the 911 S with a seven-speed manual checks in at a lithe 3,075 pounds, and the PDK model is 3,120, which allows the trimmer Porsches to post competitive 0-60 times even though they give up a lot of horsepower. Even the Turbo and its 520 horses only weighs 3,516 pounds.
- It's worth noting: The 911 remains a rear-engine car, while the GT and GT S have a front-mid-engine layout.
The Mercedes sports cars strike right at the middle of the 911 lineup. There are lighter, cheaper, and lesser-powered 911s, but the GT and the GT S are competitive and even better – on paper – than several of their closest 911 rivals in some crucial areas. Porsche also offers several higher-end 911 variants that outclass the two Mercedes entries, though obviously, Benz has left itself room to grow. Pricing hasn't been announced, but the GT is expected to start around $115,000, and the GT S should begin around $130,000.
So, based on this preliminary data, which one would you choose? Vote in our poll below, and sound off in the Comments, as well.
By Greg Migliore
See also: Porsche 918 Spyder gets tiny recall for rear control arms, Jay Leno puts carbon fiber wheels to the test on a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Porsche's former CEO Wiedeking to stand trial over VW-share manipulation.