Dear Mercedes Benz and AMG,
I don’t like you. There, I said it. Glad that’s out in the open now. However, I want you to know I have nothing against you professionally. Your historical significance is not lost on me. You essentially helped form what the car of today is with your initial designs and efforts in the late 1800s and early this past century. Trust me, as an enthusiast I know what you mean to our community.
I got to drive a metric fuck ton of amazing cars at the International Motor Press Association (IMPA) test days in October. I recently wrote this article after I drove the AMG GT S on my website, Shifting Lanes.
Yet I am not a fan. I never had been and it wasn’t due to my family always having owned BMWs. I didn’t think you were any worse than BMW. In fact, my first model car was a 300SL Gullwing. It was given to me, so it wasn’t of my own choosing that I got that particular model, but I recognized it’s beauty. Alas, the timeless classic did not sway me in your direction. None of your cars were a pinup over my bed.
Even your more recent “classics” couldn’t pull me onto your side of the stadium. The 190E Cosworth. Pretty much every S-class. Even the SLS, an homage to the original Gullwing, didn’t rouse me in any way. Your sedans were bland, your coupes were meh, and your SUVs perpetuated the SUV turning into a luxury auto; something that they were not originally designed for. Granted I’m a fan of Range Rovers, the point is that you created a segment that didn’t need to exist. Then other companies tried to innovate to match and surpass you and that’s why we have the BMW X6. I’ll never forgive you for that.
Remember, this is just me. Obviously you’re still around and obviously you’ve sold millions of cars over your history. So it’s not like you’re hurting for business. Thought that Chrysler merger? What on earth were you thinking? Let’s just chalk that up to over-enthused exuberance. This ill-conceived decision set your back even further in my mind. I like to forget it even happened (much like you do as well, I’m sure).
Even given the amount of cars you physically produced, I never lusted after a single one. You never put forward a car I could see myself owning or dreaming about. Even the ridiculous SLR McLaren didn’t do it. I could not get into any of your designs. The double, round headlights on so many of your models that pounded pavement in the 90s and 2000s seemed contrived and lazy to me; a sign of the times as opposed to a true artistic element.
The newer stuff you have been churning out to win the luxury arms race has not been good either. When you released the CLA I thought you were insane. The front end was decent, but the back end was a disaster. More of a squatting dog than small, sporty car. There was also promise with the new C-class. While the inside is a masterclass in interior design, it was done before. Mainly because you did it yourselves. You took it directly from the S-class both inside and out. It’s not unique in any way. Your efforts have gone unheard and I cannot say that I’m a fan, still, even after all these years.
I’m here today to say that I never liked you. Like an old girlfriend asking if you ever loved her, my answer is no. I always passed the note back and didn’t even circle “maybe.” While you’ve showed me that you’re really trying, none of your designs could ever sway me to the dark side.
Until you made this.
HOW. DARE. YOU.
You make this, and…and…I have no choice other than to like you in a new capacity. You’re forcing me to like you with the AMG GT S. I hate you for that. This. My god. What you’ve made is just flawless.
Let’s begin with my seething hatred of the outside. I mean just look at it. How could you make something this beautiful? You are complete jerks. This is just you showing off a mastery of design in the highest regard. The bonnet crests into view while in the driver’s seat, reminding me that you’ve given it a long, sloping, old-school, grand tourer nose. This confirmed to me that there is enough room to shoehorn a monster under the hood, which you did and it’s just superb. The rear? Hoo boy. It’s the stuff that most poster pin ups should be modeled after. Just the right amount of function and pure sex. I can go on and on, but I’m sure everyone knows how beautiful this car is by now. Give me a few, I need to go grab a change of pants.
Inside it’s more of the same story. It’s more ergonomic nirvana. Everything is proportioned perfectly. The center console looks busy, but it’s not once you start to play around with the knobs and buttons. Every element has a purpose and they’re all easy to understand. Why are you doing this to me? Seriously, you’ve made this completely out of spite and no other reason. My approval was your only goal, clearly. I can’t speak to how comfy the seats are on a long stint, but they are bolstered perfectly for track use and aggressive back-road hooliganism. What surprised me the most is the ride comfort and how controlled this car feels over normal tarmac. It’s McLaren like in it’s sublime ride and I could have mistaken it for a sports sedan if it weren’t for the poor visibility out the back and the plethora of carbon fiber.
But when you want to attack any blacktop you’re currently on top of, you can. Motor Trend just gave this it’s “Best Driving Car Of The Year” distinction, and I have to agree with them. For how composed and approachable it is for normal, everyday driving, it’s even better when you push it to it’s limits. You’ve done something that other manufacturers attempt, but few get truly correct. The poise and grip make me feel as if this isn’t a road car, but an honest to goodness GT3 car. You know, with more leather and alcantara. The grip is just insane, but if I feel like I want to hoon a bit, I could. The engine sounds ridiculous in the best possible way. Bi-turbo ballistics are a good thing. And under heavy braking, the car is no less stable. This car has balance for days with no brake fade whatsoever. I’m a big fan. Wait, hang on, I’m being far too nice to you. This is blasphemy!
Ah screw it. There’s nothing bad I can say about this car. It’s awesome. Awesome is an overused word and I’m perpetrator #1 in that respect, but there’s nothing else to describe the GT S. Mercedes, what you’ve done with this car is given me a renewed sense of what you’re all about. Maybe I’ve been too harsh on you in the past. Maybe I’ve never really given you a fair shake. What the GT S has done has opened my eyes to not discredit any car manufacturer for any reason, especially you. Yes, this is a supercar and supercars are inherently fantastic on the whole and can turn even the staunchest unbelievers into worshipers, but it really does show that no matter anyone’s allegiances in the automotive industry, there could be something out there that might just take your breath away.
P.S. I want one. So, so badly.
Gregson is the co-producer of shiftinglanes.com where he and 2 gear head friends started an enthusiast website for shits and giggles to write about whatever they damn well please. You can contact Shifting Lanes here to tell us how wrong we are about everything, or yell at us on Facebook or Twitter.