Last Friday the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GT made its debut during Monterey Car Week, undergoing some fundamental changes compared to the previous generation. Now twinned with the AMG SL convertible, the new GT is bigger, more practical and more luxurious, at first glance a regression from the seriously sporty character of the old GT. But according to AMG product manager Kevin Wilde, that’s exactly what AMG GT customers wanted.
"Most times when you think of a performance vehicle, you would think it’s got to be a two-seater and be lightweight," says Wilde, "but you don’t realize the other half of the segment are looking for something that’s more practical and functional."
The old Mercedes-AMG GT was always positioned as a rival to the Porsche 911, long regarded as the ideal dailyable sports car. And while the AMG was a match to Stuttgart's finest in terms of performance, the GT didn’t come close to the 911 in ordinary scenarios. The new car aims to change that.
"A large aspect of the new GT is functionality and everyday usability," Wilde says, "but that doesn't mean that the aggressiveness is gone."
The second-gen GT is based on the same MSA platform as the AMG-only SL that debuted in 2021, giving it more traditional proportions and a larger greenhouse, with the engine now fully front-mounted, as opposed to the front-mid placement of the previous version. Wilde says that upon seeing the new GT in person customers have been asking why Mercedes made the car smaller, only to learn that it’s actually longer, wider and taller than the outgoing GT.
While those dramatic cab-rearward proportions helped the outgoing GT look amazing, it was at the detriment of visibility and space. Increasing the wheelbase by nearly three inches and reducing the dash-to-axle ratio gives the new GT more cabin space, and the shorter hood is much easier to see over. Crucially, the seating position is still low and sporty, but driving the GT around a city will no longer be a chore.
In terms of overall interior design the GT is nearly identical to the SL, only doing without the central touchscreen’s glare-reducing tilt function. Performance bucket seats will be available at launch on the GT; Wilde says they were delayed for the SL but will finally be offered on the roadster soon. The buckets have more aggressive bolsters and fixed headrests, and they lack the massage function of the standard seats, but they’re still comfortable enough for long drives.
Even with the optional panoramic glass roof, headroom is noticeably improved. Wilde says that Mercedes almost made the panoramic roof standard due to how in-demand it was from buyers, though they didn’t care about the sunroof being able to open. And thankfully, it does have a nice shade that only lets a bit of light into the cabin.
The increased size also allowed AMG to fit the car with the biggest request from existing and potential GT owners: a back seat. The 2+2 arrangement will be standard on the GT55 and optional on the GT63, and it’s really only suitable for kids or pets. And while the old GT had a hatchback, just like the new one, Wilde says one of the most common customer complaints was that golf bags couldn’t fit in the cargo area.
The new GT’s cargo area is a little bigger than the old car’s (and more than twice as large as a 911’s frunk), and it has a revised shape for more optimized space. There’s a bit of a lip but otherwise the new GT’s back seats can fold flat, more than doubling cargo space to 23.8 cubic feet and allowing you to fit three sets of golf clubs. If you do without the rear seats the car gets a fixed bulkhead that will take up some of the space. The new GT’s power-operated hatch can now be opened hands-free, too.
Despite the change in proportions the new car is still recognizable as a GT from the outside. Wilde says the SLS and old GT were distinctive but too polarizing for some, so the new GT takes an evolutionary route with an emphasis on clean lines and better aerodynamics. "When we’re looking at the aerodynamic efficiency of this vehicle, there’s a lot of trickery going on that you might not see," says Wilde. The large grille features a black surround that houses additional lower intakes, and the intakes have active shutters that provide more cooling or reduce lift depending on the situation.
There are functional air channels at the edges of the bumper, an active underbody carbon profile that creates a venturi effect, and an active rear spoiler is standard. The optional aerodynamics package you see here features a fixed wing, a bigger diffuser and more air deflectors at the front end to further increase downforce and reduce lift. Those vertical fender vents are purely for styling, though.
"A large aspect of the new GT is functionality and everyday usability."
At launch, the GT will follow the SL lineup with GT55 and GT63 flavors that both use AMG’s handbuilt M177 twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, which the brand has used since 2015. Both versions of the GT now also come with 4Matic+ all-wheel drive as standard, which was another major desire from customers, especially those that experience real winters. This fully variable system can automatically send as much as 50% of torque to the front wheels or 100% to the rear wheels depending on the situation and drive mode, which means "those customers aren’t going to be losing out on their enjoyment," says Wilde.
AMG wanted to make sure the GT didn’t just feel like an SL with a roof to drive, so the coupe has its own tuning for the stability control, steering, suspension and other attributes. While it will be sharper and sportier than the SL, buyers of the new GT won’t be losing out on comfort. Wilde admits the old GT was badly suited for long road trips – or even just 45-minute jaunts – so improving ride quality along with the interior ergonomics was a major priority. The new car comes standard with the Active Ride Control suspension from the SL, which features hydraulic active anti-roll bars and adaptive dampers that should provide a super composed ride without any of the old car’s harshness.
The Hyper Blue Magno paint of the Monterey reveal car is one of a few new color options for the GT, and there are eight new wheel designs including one with a Tech Gold finish, something previously reserved for special editions. Beyond that, buyers can use Mercedes’ expanded Manufaktur program to customize how they please, something the brand has seen an increased interest in.
"If we want you in our vehicle for many years to come, we want it to feel like your car, so design it how you’d like it to be," Wilde explains, adding that Mercedes will also be coming out with more special editions for cars like the GT and SL.
Summing up the new car, Wilde says "there’s no sacrifices, it’s all just improvements. It’s still a GT, we’re living up to that name." It will be at least a few months until we can drive the 2024 GT and judge for ourselves, but after an extremely easy and comfortable road trip in an AMG SL55 from LA to Monterey – and then some Race mode rips up and down Big Sur – the new GT is looking even more promising.