Auf Wiedersehen SLS, Hallo AMG GT

This Friday, auto show season officially kicks-off with the Paris Salon show in the heart of the City of Light.

   And all set to be the undisputed, headlining show-stopper is Mercedes-Benz’ sensational new 2016 Mercedes-AMG GT.

   This is the successor to the glorious SLS AMG supercar with its head-turning gullwing doors and thundering, hardcore 583-horse 6.2-liter V8.

2016 Mercedes AMG GT

   But with this all-new Mercedes-AMG GT – notice how they’ve dropped the “Benz” part – the aim is to appeal to a broader audience, with the target rival being Porsche’s benchmark 911.

   That means instead of a sticker price of $248,000, this new AMG hand-built GT will likely start at closer to $130,000.

   Going mainstream means the SLS’ funky roof-hinged doors will be replaced by more normal portals. And in place of its big 6.2-liter V8, there’s an all-new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that’s been developed specifically for the GT.

2016 Mercedes AMG GT S - Paris Auto Show

   In the metal, this new road-rocket looks absolutely breathtaking. It carries over many of its design cues from the original SLS, with its long, long hood and huge, air-gulping front grille. But it is so much more refined in its nether regions which, on the SLS, always looked rather awkward and disjointed.

   While the new GT may not have the wow factor of the SLS with its gullwing doors, the standard doors allow a completely different, and more elegant domed roofline, together with small rear three-quarter windows and a sloping rear screen.

   What’s interesting is that AMG would ditch the much-loved 6.3-liter V8 from the SLS and develop an all-new engine for the GT.

Interior of 2016 Mercedes AMG GT S

   But expect the new engine to be nothing less than a technical tour de force. AMG claims that it’s the first sports car engine with twin turbochargers mounted inside the cylinder banks. They call the design “Hot Inside V” and it’s said to enable a more compact under-hood layout, and more responsive power delivery.

   Two versions of the engine will be offered, at least initially. The standard engine will make 456-hp and 443 lb-ft of torque, while an uprated version with higher turbo boost will deliver 503-hp and 479 lb-ft.

   And, as you’d expect, performance will be blistering, with the base engine punching the new GT to 60mph in just 3.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 189mph. The uprated motor gets the GT to 60 in a mere 3.7 seconds and runs to 193 mph.

2016 Mercedes AMG GT S - Paris Auto Show

   Three different versions of this new GT will be built at the AMG plant in southern Germany. The launch model will be the limited-edition AMG GT Edition 1, powered by the 503-hp engine but featuring lots of carbon fiber appendages, unique 10-spoke alloys and a fixed rear wing. No word on pricing yet, but expect somewhere in the region of $180,000.

   Next up will be the AMG GT S, again powered by the same 503 horsepower V8, but with a less flashy bodywork. Deliveries of both the Edition 1 and GT S will likely start around April next year.

   As for the standard GT with the 456-hp twin-turbo V8 and a less pricey price tag, that will likely arrive in early 2016. Then, some time after that expect the inevitable roadster model.

   As they’ll no doubt be saying in Paris later this week: Ooh la la!

Fornt end of the 2016 Mercedes AMG GT S - Paris Auto Show - Automitive Review by Howard Walker

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