We get to grips with the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster’s brutish bark and bite
The designers and engineers at Mercedes must spend their time spinning rooms full of plates, such is the diversity of the products the company creates. At precisely the same time the company’s stand at the Tokyo Motor Show was extolling the virtues of compact, quasi-autonomous city cars, a large lorry was disgorging a shiny new Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster for Wallpaper* to assess.
Compare and contrast the modest, neat and subtle visions the company has for the roads of tomorrow with the screaming, howling drama generator that is the AMG GT. As the first standalone model of the Mercedes-AMG performance division, the GT had a lot of expectations to match up to. It arrived in late 2014 to plenty of plaudits – we loved it for its classic GT elegance.
Refined elegance is only a small part of the story. Throughout its history Mercedes has had a hand in some of the best-looking racing cars of all time. It’s only in recent decades that the company’s image has shifted more and more towards the luxury end of the market. Sure, there have been the occasional limited-run supercars and the epically enhanced products of the AMG division, but the baseline has always been refinement and elegance.
Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster
Mercedes is on a mission to conquer everything. While we were getting to grips with the GT C’s bark and bite, the company was busy readying its contender for the ultimate crown – the hypercar. Alongside its diminutive smart vision EQ fortwo, the Tokyo stage featured the AMG Project One, a multi-million pound rival to forthcoming contenders from Aston Martin, McLaren, Ferrari, et al. Among motoring’s elite manufacturers, the race is on to create a road car capable of outclassing a Formula 1 machine or Le Mans contender. Given that the humble automobile is facing more and more challenges, these baroque extravagances, with their elaborate styling and engineering, feel like the last days of all that the industry has held dear for so long.
Project One is still a few years away, and we suspect it’ll be far more refined than the casually brutish GT C. Without a roof, the two-seater loses some of its visual fluidity, but also gives you a shocking insight into the sonic turbulence this car leaves in its wake. The V8 engine is channelled through a titanically loud exhaust system, with a ‘Sport’ button that might as well be labelled ‘look at me’, such is the crackle and snap it produces. Rock hard suspension, cacophonous noise and a wide, wide body make the GT C a fidgety companion in the city. In any case, cars like this are rapidly heading for urban extinction. The GT C is fine company providing you can find a far-flung reserve of decent road to enjoy it while you still can.