Mercedes: AMG is big on performance

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Of course, Mercedes and AMG are no strangers to more practical performance with the likes of the hotter versions of the CLS and E-Class, but how much you can push that concept is another matter – this GT sets you back a cool £121,350 after all. There’s another burning issue in the form of the CLS, Mercedes’ other four-door coupe, which also comes with an AMG version, albeit now only a 435bhp V6-engined version in the 53 model. Power aside, though, while the CLS and AMG GT when compared alongside each other are noticeably different, at a casual glance it’s easy to see how they could be confused. And being confused with a car that costs you 50 grand less isn’t ideal.

Then again, this AMG GT isn’t exactly for shy or retiring types.That wide grille with its dinner plate-sized three-pointed star set between those slim lights gives it an imposing look.

We also love the sleek lines, although the curvaceous rear might not be to everyone’s tastes.While the styling helps hide some of the bulk, at almost 16-and-a-half feet long, this is not a small car and it shows. It’s also not slow.

AMG’s old 6.0-litre engine might be absent, but it’s still a twin-turbo 4.0-LITREV8 petrol with an eye-watering 585bhp under your right foot.

With four-wheel drive as standard it’s enough to get it from 0 to 60mph in just 3.4 seconds and on to that 193mph top speed. Officially, the average fuel economy is 21.4mpg, but any owners are unlikely to see anything close to that if they utilise any of the GT’s performance.

And they’re likely to do so too, as it’s just too tempting. From the moment you push the starter button and the engine roars into life ahead of you, there’s no question that this is a car of temptations.

Even with driving mode set in Comfort, a quick flick of your right foot is enough to have the GT leaping up the road and that performance is dangerously addictive.

In Sport mode those reactions are even more rapid and along with the strong brakes and sharp steering, you can cover ground disconcertingly quickly.

But there’s a big difference between a quick car and a sporty car. And despite all of the clear driver focus, this is still a big car. A big, 2.1 tonne car, in fact. And the GT’s size and weight never really leave the back of your mind.

It may be capable of going very quickly and can go round corners at an astonishing rate thanks to its plentiful grip, but that sense of inertia is ever present. The brakes are powerful, but this is still a lot of car to slow or stop. It may have the straight-line speed to match many a sports car, but this is not a set of wheels you can throw around like a Porsche Boxster.

That’s apparent inside as well. The wide double-screen dashboard looks superb and there are deep, comfortable seats. But the low driving position and shallow glass area exacerbate the feeling of width inside the car and its overall sense of size.

That’s not to knock the other elements of the Mercedes’ interior. Build quality is exceptional and there are helpful switches on the steering wheel to change the driving modes and suspension settings.

In the back – the whole reason for buying this car above the two-door GT remember – there’s a surprising amount of head and legroom but space for your feet is tight if the front seats are in their lowest position.

It’s also a little claustrophobic, with the shallow glass area. Practicality is also a little compromised by the fact there’s only two seats. Further back there’s a long boot, but also a very high lip to lift bags over.

Overall, there’s a lot to like about this four-door AMG GT. It looks good, it’s rapid, it drives reasonably well and offers a modicum of practicality.

However, what it isn’t is especially sporty due to its dimensions.Yes, we’d argue this is a better option than the go-faster SUVs out there, but it’s not without compromise.

And if being asked to spend north of £120,000, we’d prefer not to compromise.

LOGBOOK LOWDOWN

Price: £121,350

Engine: Turbo-petrol – 4.0-litre, V8

Power: 0 to 60mph in 3.4 seconds, 193mph top speed

Average fuel economy: 21.4mpg

CO2 emissions: 256g/km

Rivals: Aston Martin Rapide, BMW M5, Porsche Panamera

Rating: 8/10

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