New Mercedes-AMG GT C 2017 review

The hard-top Mercedes AMG GT C sits centrally in the AMG GT range but does it represent the sweet spot?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The GT C is perhaps the most complete AMG GT yet. It’s not quite as involving in a track situation as the GT R, but it’s a more exciting and engaging drive than lesser versions. What’s most surprising, is how civilised it can be when taking things easy on the road. However, at the price this Edition 50 spec car demands our money would go on the Roadster version that brings you closer to that addictive V8 soundtrack.

The Mercedes AMG GT was just one car two years ago, but the model line-up has expanded so rapidly since that the car maker now refers to it as the “AMG GT family”. With everything from the base 470bhp GT to the track-focused, 577bhp GT R, there’s plenty of choice to whet the appetite of sports car fans. But where does this middling GT C sit?

Essentially, the 550bhp GT C borrows some crucial elements from the GT R – the wider body and rear track, active rear-wheel steering and a portion of the extra power – to make it a more focused drive than the standard car, but it’s also supposed to be a more useable and subtle package. We’ve already driven the GT C roadster both in the UK and abroad, and came away mightily impressed on both occasions. Does the coupe version do anything to change our view?

Best sports cars to buy now

Well, it’s £11,500 cheaper than the equivalent roadster, for starters. However, the coupe is only initially available in limited-run ‘Edition 50’ spec, marking fifty years of the AMG performance brand, whereas the roadster can also be had in standard form. Edition 50 brings matte grey paint, black chrome trim and wheels, plus quilted upholstery, but means the GT C coupe is just £1,400 less than a roadster without those trinkets.

The coupe is also 70kg lighter than the hard-top car, on account of the removed roof mechanism and reduced chassis strengthening required. To be honest, though, you’ll be hard-pushed to notice the pounds shed on the road. What you will notice is the increase in boot space, making this a true long distance GT car.

But what makes this GT C a more appealing prospect than the (albeit improved for 2017) GT S is its breadth of dynamic ability. The stretched rear track makes it feel impressively planted and composed where lesser AMG GT’s lack finesse, scything through fast bends with barely any body movement. The steering is another real improvement – it’s still super direct, so takes a bit of getting used to, but there’s more feel and natural weighting than in this car’s cheaper siblings. All of this combines to make for a really confidence-inspiring experience, allowing you to jump from corner to corner, building speed and exploiting the grip.

The momentous traction, combined with the GT C’s near two-metre width, means this isn’t a playful, lairy AMG car. While it was a reasonably easy car to place on the road on our German test route, we suspect Britain’s narrow B-roads may make it seem more intimidating. 

It’s far from straight-laced – and you can thank the engine for that. We’re very familiar with Affalterbach’s hand-made 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, but it remains a dominating feature of the car. All 680Nm of torque arrives at 1,900rpm, and from there on the GT C builds speed with explosive urge. It rifles through the gears rapidly, particularly in the racier drivetrain settings, and despite a fairly modest 0-62mph time of 3.7 seconds, it feels every bit as accelerative in-gear as anything Porsche can offer.  It’s also impressively responsive for a turbocharged engine, and always wants to rip right to the redline. 

The speed is only half the story, though, as no AMG V8 would be complete without the trademark guttural soundtrack. The GT C’s unique exhaust tune means it’s even more vocal than lesser AMG GTs, snarling away from the line and offering up a cacophony of pedestrian-startling crackles and bangs when you lift off. It’s addictive, and provides an element of theatre that something like a 911 Turbo lacks.

Equally impressive is that once in comfort mode, with the adaptive suspension dampening the worst intrusions and the exhaust in its quietest mode, the GT C will cruise serenely all day long, allowing occupants to enjoy the lavishly-trimmed – if ergonomically flawed - cockpit. It’s still a firm car, but it manages to feel less jiggly than the standard AMG GT, although we’ll reserve full judgement on the ride until we get to try it on British tarmac.

The only fly in the ointment that stops us recommending this particular GT C is that price hike caused in part by the Edition 50 spec. Mercedes will launch a standard version of the Coupe once that has sold out, and although money won’t be a great concern at this level of the market, the temptation of the similarly-priced Roadster makes that the GT C we’d choose for now.  

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e
Fiat 500 vs Honda e vs MINI Electric
Car group tests

Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e

The new Fiat 500, MINI Electric and Honda e are three retro-inspired electric superminis - but which is best?
19 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Volkswagen ID.4 SUV

New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review

VW ID.4 EV gets another electric motor and four-wheel drive in hot GTX form
21 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed
Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition
Ford Puma

Fan-designed Ford Puma ST Gold Edition revealed

Ford unveils a special edition Puma ST, with a black and gold colour scheme chosen by Ford fans over social media
18 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power
Vauxhall Astra render
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power

The new Vauxhall Astra will get a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a more premium image - here’s how it could look
17 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review
Volkswagen Caddy California MPV - front
Volkswagen Caddy

New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review

It’s a family hauler and weekend camper all rolled into one, but is the Volkswagen Caddy California any good?
21 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services
Tesla Model 3 police car - front
News

Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services

Tesla hopes to offer UK police forces a new zero-emission emergency responder option with the Model 3 police car
17 Jun 2021