What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me, No more.
Engine: 4.0L biturbo V8
Output: 476 to 585 hp/465 to 516 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: 7-speed DCT
US Price: Starts at $112,400
CAN Price: Starts at $133,600
Besides being a staple of ultra throwback playlists, this lyric from a cheesy one-hit wonder somehow also manages to sum up my train of thought regarding the Mercedes-AMG GT family of cars.
You know when you see something exceedingly beautiful you go “OOOF” and wince like it hurts a little? It’s a brief flicker of love. I have a friend who reacts that way every time he sees a woman in high heels. That is also my primal reaction when I see a Mercedes-AMG GT. I reacted in a similar way on a recent trip to Frankfurt when a scruffy German male model (if he wasn’t a model, he should be) walked past me with tattoos peeking out of his rolled up shirt sleeves and knuckle tattoos on his strong hands, fierce blue eyes making me suddenly feeling very vulnerable. He was impossibly beautiful, chiseled, magnetic, strangely mysterious, and seemingly dangerous. The Mercedes-AMG GT is a German male model and I want to run away with it and do bad things.
Driving the Nurburgring-bred Mercedes-AMG GT R that’s waiting for me in the pit lanes of tidy and technical Bilster Berg race track in Germany, for example, is one of those deliciously bad things.
Before climbing in the bright green coupe, I think, “Baby, don’t hurt me.” My step counter exposes me by recording my elevated heart rate and I have to force myself to take a few calming breaths. I’m excited but also quite nervous. Love is pain and I’m scared this will hurt.
Not that the car is dangerous — it just looks like it could rough you up a little and that makes it more exciting. The car has a badass stance and silhouette that just screams performance. Your eye starts at the aggressive grille, moves slowly over the long hood, follows the smooth curves of the sultry yet muscular bodywork and stops at a tidy and taut rear end — yes, I’m still talking about the car. The classic rear-drive sports car proportions mix with a high-fashion exterior design shout its menacing intentions to the world and makes drivers feel a bit flustered.
And if its looks don’t win you over, its performance will. It’s like finding out that model I’ve been lusting after is also an accomplished piano player, is a master of conversation and tells really good jokes. Similarly, driving the AMG GT lineup is a sensory experience that engrosses you, which is rare in the automotive world. Push the ignition and your ears are greeted by the snarl of a furious V8 breathing fire and coming to life. It quickly settles down into a grumbly and sinister idle, just tempting you to make it scream again.
And, of course, you always indulge because doing anything less with a hand-built 4.0-liter biturbo V8 (with anywhere from 476 to 585 horsepower and 465 to 516 pound-feet of torque depending on the GT model) at your disposal should be punished.
ALSO SEE: 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster Review
The possible danger that presents itself when a monster V8-powered rear-wheel-drive sports car is driven on a freshly rained-on, new-to-me race track isn’t lost on me. These conditions could be disastrous and end in a lot of hurt for both of us. But while the AMG GT looks like trouble, it’s actually a gentleman and takes every precaution to keep you safe while at the same time making sure you’re having as much fun as possible.
Via advanced safety systems and different driving modes, the GT holds your hand when you need some reassurance, but once you’re feeling more confident, it convinces you to push harder, communicating with you every step of the way. Your hands grip the suede-covered steering wheel and your butt is firmly planted in the supportive bucket seats, both of which help you get reacquainted with the lost art of listening to what your car is trying to tell you. The AMG GT is a great communicator and it compels you to listen because the whole experience is refreshingly tactile. The hydraulic steering system excels at telling you what the front tires are doing and how to react to it.
You giggle as you stomp on the pedal and the back end dances as the tires try to find grip. You find yourself shifting simply to hear the addictive burbles and backfires of the V8. You take a corner in anger and the back end slides out, inducing more giggles, but then pulling you back in before you end up in a ditch somewhere. The line between fun and danger is thin, and the GT straddles it gracefully.
Engineers have worked tirelessly to pack the AMG GT lineup full of advanced technology that makes its performance safe, fun, balanced, and intuitive. Between a snappy seven-speed transmission, a near perfect 47/53 front-to-back weight distribution, rear axle steering and adaptive damping in some models, and dynamic engine mounts among a long list of other features, the engineering solutions used in this car might be enough to make an astronaut blush.
ALSO SEE: 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe Review
And we know emotion can’t be manufactured, but somehow, Mercedes-AMG has succeeded.
My face the entire time on the track with the AMG GT R and on the winding roads of the lush German countryside with coupe and roadster versions of the GT, GT S, GT C switched between my brows being furrowed by intense concentration to guilty grins to full-on, teeth-baring smiles. I haven’t smoked a cigarette in years, but suddenly I found myself craving one at the end of the day.
The Verdict: 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Review
As most of us have experienced at some point in our lives, love hurts because it’s so intense and it makes you vulnerable — it’s intimate and it exposes you. The AMG GT does a similar thing because it feels strangely carnal to drive. In my case, my love for this car induces some pain because the AMG GT (like the German male model) is so unattainable for me, but damn, do I ever enjoy fantasizing about it.
The entire Mercedes-AMG GT lineup is spectacular and I love driving the cars, looking at them, listening to them, and being seen with them. Everything about these cars is exotic and there’s something romantic about the whole experience that is refreshing and addictive, just like falling in love, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment.