Just before winter’s arrival, a lovely convertible comes to visit.
– Detroit, Michigan
The Mercedes-AMG GT lineup seemingly offers a variant for every taste, and based on my experience so far, each one charms in its own manner. This GT C is more powerful than the base GT Roadster but not as intense as the track-devouring GT R. The Roadster’s power top lowers in just 11 seconds while driving at up to 31 miles per hour. As someone who loves fast cars and convertibles in equal measure, well, it was hard for me to say no. Just as the first chilly mornings announce the onset of winter, spending a few days top-down in this GT C was one final top-down treat for the year.
Huge turbo punch. The 4.0-liter biturbo V8 in this car is far from new, but its ferocious low-end punch is still plenty rewarding. As in all its many, many applications, the V8 develops massive torque almost straight off idle – 502 pound-feet from 1,900 rpm, in this case – and pulls steadily right through its rev range. Never for an instant does this car lack for power, making it a rocket that had me triple-checking the speedometer all day long.
Go topless in all weather. With temperatures plunging, I’m glad that Mercedes offers the toastiest top-down conveyances around. In addition to heated seats, the GT C Roadster benefits from the wonderful (and aptly named) Airscarf function that blasts warm air on one’s neck. It makes top-down motoring feasible in far more varied conditions. The only way the GT C Roadster could be better suited to gray November days? A heated steering wheel, which is unfortunately not offered.
Lovely materials throughout. Layout aside (see below), the material choices inside this GT C are beyond reproach. Every switch and knob moves with a precise action, and everything you touch, from leather to plastic to carbon fiber, rewards with a delightful feel.
Awkward interior arrangement. The layout of the AMG GT’s cabin has never appealed to me, and this C Roadster does nothing to change that layout. The dainty electronic shifter is positioned so far back I must contort my right arm to select drive. The dizzying array of round control knobs on the console takes up a lot of space and makes the cabin even more cramped. And with a low, set-back seating position, it takes some guesswork to locate the end of the car’s long hood.
Twitchy rear-wheel steering. Rear-wheel steering helps reduce a car’s turning radius at low speed while making it more stable at high speeds, both of which are virtues. But in the GT C, aggressive rear-wheel steering and surprisingly light power steering make the car nervous in urban driving; steer a little bit, and the car pivots more than I expect. It takes quite a few miles at the helm before the knife-edge turn-in feels natural.
Road noise. The convertible top does an admirable job of keeping wind noise at bay even at freeway speeds, but that only serves to highlight another source of sound: the tires. Abundant rumbling from the rear tires is present top up or down. Fortunately there’s a powerful Burmester sound system (a $4,500 option) with which to drown out the roar.
Photos: Jake Holmes / Motor1.com