2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster First Drive Review: Low, Wide, and Mean [Video]

2018 mercedes amg gt c roadster
2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster is the latest addition to the AMG family of high-performance cars. What better way to celebrate AMG team’s 50th anniversary than with a topless performance car that attacks all of your senses.

The new roadster comes in two flavors: a base GT, and a much more potent GT C. What does the extra letter “C” get you? Quiet a lot, actually. The GT starts out with the 4.0L bi-turbo V8 that produces 469 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 465 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm. The top of the line GT C Roadster gets bigger turbocharger components for higher boost, modified pistons for less compression, a higher flow fuel pump, and exhaust port updates. All this combines for a total of 550 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm and 502 lb-ft of torque @ 1,900 rpm. Both versions of the engine are mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The GT C also gets an electronically controlled limited slip differential, adaptive sport suspension, active aerodynamic components, active rear wheel steering, staggered wheel sizes, larger front brakes, and a Race driving mode.

Turn the drive-mode selector knob, and GT C Roadster turns from a comfortable cruiser into a serious performance car that is ready to pounce. The exhaust bypass valve opens for maximum auditory pleasure. The steering feel gets heavier, the throttle response is heightened, the suspensions stiffens just enough, the transmission shifts quicker, holds gears longer, and down-shifts with an aggressive blip of the throttle – and the car is transformed. The 4.0L V8 sits just behind the front axle, making it a front/mid-engine layout.

The car feels very balanced and flat through high-speed or very tight corners. Acceleration ranges from effortless to “put you in the back of the seat”. The exhaust note (especially in “loud” mode) is mean, but not as explosive as that of the Jaguar F-Type R and its supercharged V8. Mercedes-AMG says that the GT and GT Roadster compete against the Audi R8 and the Porsche 911 lineups.

Exact pricing has not yet been announced, but expect the 2018 GT Roadster to start around $160,000. If you are worried about fuel economy estimates, this car is probably not for you, and EPA ratings have not yet been announced.

The GT Roadster will go on sale in late summer or early fall of 2017, according to Mercedes-AMG.

Check out this Live press briefing for the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster. We are working hard on a full first drive video, so please stay tuned for that and more details about the AMG GT lineup.