Mercedes-AMG Starts 2020 With 800 Horsepower
AMG cars with big numbers on the boot are always a reason to look forward to the new year. To enter the new decade, the Mercedes sub-brand from Affalterbach is pulling out one heckuva big number. Seventy-three, to be exact.
Like the jersey of a world-class athlete, that number has been retired since the ultra low-production SL73 AMG stopped production in 2001. Back then, “73” referred to 7.3 liters of V12 power. The new GT might not have 12 cylinders, but with a 275-horsepower advantage on its predecessor, we don’t expect anyone to bat an eye.
Evolution of the Four-Door GT
A derivation of the shapely coupe developed to contend with the Porsche 911, the AMG GT has only been available in four-door guise for about a year now. The addition of the range-topping 73 model will unquestionably push competitors from Germany and elsewhere to deliver the goods in the executive express category if they can.
Reports from the Geneva Motor Show describe the new AMG using a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 coupled with an electric motor that drives the car’s front axle for a combined output of 805 horsepower. While it hasn’t actually rolled onto any motor show booths just yet, the car can be seen and heard making a rapid departure in the short film AMG presented as a thank you to employees.
Thanks to all-wheel-drive, which is becoming the standard layout for all AMG models, the GT73 should have the ability to lay the power down like a scalded Teutonic cat. The 0-60 estimates are in the low two-second range. Purists, we know you’re out there, but you’d have to be loony to think there’s any chance of a stick shift variant. Frankly, we’re not sure you could think quickly enough to shift it.
Picking a Fight With Porsche
If those figures are correct, the AMG would be a viable competitor to Porsche’s new Taycan EV. Except that with its internal-combustion V8, the AMG would enjoy a significantly longer range than the giant-killing new Porsche. With well-specced Taycans approaching $200k, the AMG’s six-figure price tag wouldn’t be a hindrance either. It could very realistically be the cheaper car in many scenarios.
Porsche’s Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is the closest Porsche to the AMG in terms of layout, but it lags behind the new car in horsepower, torque and 0-60 time, where only the Taycan can challenge the GT’s expected low two-second sprint time.
As for other rival marques, BMW and Audi don’t currently show signs of introducing anything that can threaten the nearly 1,000-horsepower Merc. For those with American taste, the Charger Hellcat presents an interesting if significantly less opulent package — without the complexity and maintenance costs of high-tech hybrid features and pricey Mercedes repair bills.
Not the Only ’73
If you’re not convinced that the four-door coupe is the best place for your nearly $200,000, Mercedes-AMG has thought of that too. The AMG-GT isn’t the only nameplate that has been registered for. In fact, there might be as many as three additional models equipped with the AMG’s hybrid layout from what we know at the time of writing: the G, GLS, S and SL models.
Though the AMG’s stablemates are exciting, it’s still the four-door AMG GT that will have enthusiast pulses racing. G- and GLS-class Mercedes are large, heavy SUVs that will no doubt take highway cruising to new extremes when imbued with 805 hybridized horsepower, and the traditional S-class follows a similar philosophy in an old-timey luxury sedan format. The SL has stopped production and has a questionable future.
The AMG GT, however, is a working man’s performance car. It’s able to usher four adults to a business function effortlessly at triple-digit speeds (on the autobahn, of course) and also surprise you with its dance moves when you take the twisty backroads home.
The Legacy of ’73 Continues
No one could have guessed that in a world where engine sizes continue shrinking, AMG would revive the 73 moniker. SL73 AMG owners have even had to be on the lookout for Horacio Pagani, who’s been transplanting the V12 from those cars into his Zonda hypercars because AMG doesn’t build the engine any longer. But now the nameplate will carry on as an AMG icon.
There have even been rumors that the new hybrid powertrain could find its way into a modernized rendition of the Mercedes-Mclaren SLR. A halo car made using this astounding powertrain would truly be something to see, but while the SLR was an impressive car, it never gained much following among collectors. The pseudo-F1 styling might be to blame for that. Enthusiasts have often feared that technology would lead to boring cars, but those who are paying attention know that the pendulum swings both ways. The same technology that can make cars less engaging and ultra-efficient can make them ultra-potent and otherworldy quick. What we have here is an example of the latter. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a bad time to be a car enthusiast.