Is Mercedes-AMG’s lineup of AMG GT models ready to rumble with Porsche’s 911 fleet?

The launch of the Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupe at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show brought the total number of GT models to six. That’s a lot of models to have in a range when you consider that the first of these performance cars, the AMG GT, was only unveiled in 2015. But success breeds success and by and large, the Mercedes-AMG GT line has been just that for the German automaker. There’s no question about that, but what can be argued is the AMG GT’s place in the segment, or to be more specific, it’s status compared to that of the current king of the sports car business: the Porsche 911.

(It’s also worth mentioning that Porsche also unveiled the new 911 GTS at the same venue, so the timing for this comparison is appropriate.)

So here’s the question: has Mercedes-AMG created a line of GT sports cars that can realistically challenge Porsche’s own family of 911 models for sports car supremacy?

It’s an interesting question to ask because there can be legitimate answers from both sides. If you’re on the side of Mercedes, you can point to the GT sports cars as fresh and compelling choices in the market. Mercedes-AMG, after all, has done a remarkable job building the brand up, as shown by its ever increasing portfolio. There’s a healthy market for the GT today and Mercedes is smart to capitalize on that interest.

On the flip side, Porsche purists are also not wrong for scoffing at the question because it’s the 911 we’re talking about here. The model is without question one of the most iconic nameplates in the history of the auto industry, so before some kind of young whippersnapper can puff its chest and stare down the 911, maybe it should show some kind of longevity first.

Clearly, there are no right or wrong answers here because this whole comparison can be shaped and reshaped depending on the narrative that’s being thrown out. But with the success of the Mercedes-AMG GT line, that earlier question about the GT challenging the 911 is fair game and we’re going to try to find out whether there’s more to it than what meets the eye.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Okay, so before we take a deep dive into comparing Mercedes-AMG’s GT family with Porsche’s 911 family, it’s important to remember that by sheer volume alone, the AMG GT and all its variants are significantly outnumbered by the Porsche 911. Consider this: there are six members of the AMG GT family and they are:

  • Mercedes-AMG GT
  • Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster
  • Mercedes-AMG GT S
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupe
  • Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster
  • Mercedes-AMG GT R

On the flip side, a visit to Porsche’s website reveals that there are 21(!!!) different versions of the 911, namely the following:

  • Porsche 911 Carrera
  • Porsche 911 Carrera S
  • Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet
  • Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet
  • Porsche 911 Carrera 4
  • Porsche 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet
  • Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
  • Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabriolet
  • Porsche 911 GTS
  • Porsche 911 GTS Cabriolet
  • Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS
  • Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet
  • Porsche 911 Targa 4
  • Porsche 911 Targa 4S
  • Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS
  • Porsche 911 Turbo
  • Porsche 911 Turbo S
  • Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet
  • Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet
  • Porsche 911 R
  • Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Obviously, it’s unfair to say that the Mercedes-AMG GT already loses because of the significant disparity in variants, so let’s bring it down to four variants for both models. It’s easy for the AMG GT because it’s basically just the GT, GT S, GT C, and GT R. As for Porsche, let’s use the 911 Carrera S, 911 GTS, 911 Turbo, and Turbo S. Seems like fair comps, right?

Mercedes-AMG GT vs Porsche 911 Carrera S

2016 Mercedes-AMG GT
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2017 Porsche 911 High Resolution Exterior
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Note: side-by-side photo of the Mercedes-AMG GT and the Porsche 911 Carrera S

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t pick the Porsche 911 Carrera to line up against the Mercedes-AMG GT. The answer to that is simple and it all ties into the notion that the entry-level 911 really belongs to a separate category altogether, one that’s also populated by the likes of the entry-level Jaguar F-Type. For some reason, Mercedes decided to leave that space alone and jump straight into the territory of the 911’s ’S’ counterpart, the 911 Carrera S.

Comparing the exterior and interior of both cars can be a little tricky because they’re appeal is subjective. Some will like the long front hood look of the AMG GT whereas others find appeal in the 911’s iconic looks. What we can point out though is that the AMG GT is longer and wider than the 911 S, thanks in part to having a length of 70.47 inches and a width of 30 inches compared to that of the 911’s measurements of 69.2 inches and 27.95 inches, respectively.

Peek into the interior of both cars and, once again, it becomes an exercise in subjectivity with some liking the more sophisticated cabin of the Mercedes whiles others preferring the 911’s cleaner overall design. That said, certain features are available as standard on one model and as an option on another. Take for example something as “basic” as leather seats. They come standard on the 911 S compared to being an option for the AMG GT. On the flip side, a power sunshade for the roof is another optional feature for the Mercedes, but is completely unavailable to the Porsche. Speaking of which, front power memory seats and heated front seats are also standard on the AMG GT and optional on the 911 S. It’s the same thing with items like the multi-function steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and heated exterior mirrors, among other items. All of these features come standard to the AMG GT and are either options or unavailable for the 911 Carrera S.

On the matter of technical specs, the Mercedes-AMG GT is powered by a 4.0-liter bi-turbo V-8 engine that pumps out 456 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, good enough to get the car from 0 to 60 mph in around 3.9 seconds before hitting a top speed of 189 mph. The 911 S, on the other hand, has a smaller 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-six engine that has 420 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque on tap. The numbers say that the AMG GT has the edge, but the 911 Carrera S isn’t that far off from it either. For one, it only takes 3.7 seconds for the car to hit 60 mph with a PDK transmission and its speed tops out at 190 mph, nipping the bud off of the AMG GT. Check out the table below for a clearer look

Model Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 MPH Time Top Speed
Mercedes-AMG GT 456 horsepower 443 pound-feet 3.9 seconds 189 mph
Porsche 911 Carrera S 420 horsepower 368 pound-feet 3.7 seconds ( w/ PDK) 190 mph

The comparisons between both models are close but the AMG GT does appear to have more options at its disposal. It’s also more powerful, even if it’s technically not faster than the Porsche. But the numbers are almost too close to call so in this regard, let’s take a look at the most important number of them all: the price.

The Mercedes-AMG GT starts at $111,200 while the Porsche 911 Carrera S with the PDK transmission can be yours for $106,600. It’s splitting hairs, but that extra $4,600 should account for all the standard options on the GT that are either optional or unavailable on the 911 Carrera S.

Mercedes-AMG GT S vs Porsche 911 GTS

Mercedes-AMG Turns Up The Heat On Family of GT Sports Cars
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New Porsche 911 GTS Now Has Turbochargers, Gets More Power High Resolution Exterior
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Note: side-by-side photo of the Mercedes-AMG GT S and the Porsche 911 GTS

The more powerful version of the AMG GT is the GT S and while it does feature a lot of the same components as the GT, it does come with more power, which also means that it’s more expensive than the entry-level model. More importantly, the GT S provided customers a better option back when they were the only two GT models. Yep, for a time the AMG GT and GT S models were the only ones competing against all these Porsche 911 models before the AMG cavalry came into the picture.

In a surprising twist of fate, the AMG GT S now finds itself competing against the newest iteration of the iconic Porsche model, the 911 GTS. Just like the AMG GT C, the new 911 GTS was unveiled at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show and it came with a handful of notable surprises, the biggest of which was the introduction of a 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-six engine that pumps out 450 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. That amounted to gains of 20 ponies and 62 pound-feet of twist, numbers that the 911 GTS is going to need since the AMG GT S packs 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.

With an advantage of 53 horses and 73 pound-feet of torque, it’s no surprise that the AMG GT S can hit 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the 3.9 seconds it takes the manual-transmission 911 GTS to cover the same ground. Fortunately, Porsche’s PDK transmission always comes handy in situations like this as it helps the GTS slash 0.4 seconds off of its own time, resulting in a 60 mph sprint that only takes 3.5 seconds. Top speed though is fairly dead even for both models with the 911 GTS holding the slimmest of edges at 194 mph compared to 193 mph for the AMG GT S.

Check out the splits in the table below.

Model Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 MPH Time Top Speed
Mercedes-AMG GT S 503 horsepower 479 pound-feet 3.7 seconds 193 mph
Porsche 911 GTS 450 horsepower 406 pound-feet 3.5 seconds ( w/ PDK) 194 mph

Mercedes-AMG GT C vs Porsche 911 Turbo

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior
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Note: side-by-side photo of the Mercedes-AMG GT C and the Porsche 911 Turbo

The newest variant of the AMG GT finds itself in the crosshairs of arguably the most seminal version of the 911. But now that we’re here, this is what you consider a prizefight between the upstart Mercedes-AMG GT C and the Porsche 911 Turbo. By sheer name value alone, the AMG GT C is at a distinct disadvantage because the 911 Turbo is as iconic as it gets. It certainly doesn’t help the Mercedes sports car’s cause to know that the 911 Turbo is packed with all the elements of a purebred Porsche, right down to the classic looks, the luxurious interior, and the unmistakable performance credentials that made the 911 Turbo famous to begin with.

Fortunately, the AMG GT C is no slouch either. It also has a sportier and more refined look compared to the AMG GT and GT S models. It even has the latest tech armaments, not to mention the world class handling and aerodynamic expertise of AMG. The AMG GT C may be new to the fight, but it comes in ready to mix it up with the legendary 911 Turbo. That readiness is no more evident than what prospective customers get under that long, sloping hood. Pop that open and there sits a tuned version of the same 4.0-liter biturbo V-8 engine that’s good for 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. Granted, Mercedes-AMG has yet to release the car’s performance capabilities, but you can bet that with all that extra power, the AMG GT C should be able to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in around 3.5 seconds before peaking at about 197 mph.

The numbers are impressive across the board; it’s just that the 911 Turbo might be a little more impressive. The numbers certainly speak for themselves as the sports car’s heavily tuned 3.8-liter turbocharged flat-six engine is capable of producing 540 horsepower and around 523 pound-feet of torque. It’s still less power than the AMG GTC but the torque numbers are now better than that of the Mercedes. Slap on Porsche’s Sport Chrono package and you can see that higher torque in full bloom as the car is capable of going from an idle position to 60 mph in a staggering 2.9 seconds. That’s at least 0.6 seconds quicker than the AMG GT C. The 911 Turbo also likely finishes ahead in top speed at 199 mph, although to be fair, Mercedes-AMG has yet to release the figures in those departments. Either way, check out the table to see how close both cars are to being completely similar in power and performance.

Model Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 MPH Time Top Speed
Mercedes-AMG GT C 550 horsepower 502 pound-feet 3.6 seconds* 197 mph*
Porsche 911 GTS 540 horsepower 523 pound-feet 2.9 seconds (w/ Sport Chrono) 198 mph

Likewise, fuel efficiency is hard to compare at this point considering that Mercedes-AMG has yet to release the numbers for the AMG GT C. That said, the extra power should account for some changes and the estimates are likely to arrive at 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. If those numbers hold true, the 911 Turbo once again gets the edge with its 19/24 mpg splits.

Then there’s the cost of each car. The Porsche 911 Turbo starts at $159,200. The Mercedes-AMG GT C, on the other hand, is likely to cost a little more, at least when you consider the trend in prices of the AMG GT and GT S models. Somewhere in the $160,000 range, perhaps?

Mercedes-AMG GT R vs Porsche 911 Turbo S

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Porsche 911 Turbo High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Note: side-by-side photos of the Mercedes-AMG GT R and the Porsche 911 Turbo S

There are two schools of thought regarding the Mercedes-AMG GT R. On the one hand, it’s road-going status allows it to compete against the Porsche 911 Turbo. On the other hand, the AMG GT R was also developed to be a track marauder and the closest competition on that end from Porsche is the equally track-focused Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

First, let’s dive into what makes the GT R a notable rival to the 911 Turbo. A significant departure for the GT R relative to other models of its kind is the fact that it actually does share a lot more physical traits of a GT3 race car than an actual road car. It’s got wider fenders that create enough space for 20-inch wheels and the wider track gives the car a more aggressive than usual look to it. The car also benefits from having larger side intakes, a redesigned center vent and splitter, side skirts, and a set of 20-wheels to go with that aforementioned wider track.

On the performance front, the AMG GT R more than holds its own too. That’s all thanks to the same 4.0-liter biturbo V-8 as all other AMG GT models. The big difference here is that Mercedes-AMG used new turbochargers with modified compressor machining, increased boost pressure from 1.2 to 1.35 bar, smaller wastegate aneroid capsule, and sharpened engine mapping. The end result is an output of 577 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, a big step up even from the just-announced AMG GT C. The numbers are impressive and they help the AMG GT R sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds before hitting a top speed of about 198 mph.

Bring those numbers to the foot of the Porsche 911 Turbo S and you’re likely going to see the Porsche sports car nod in appreciation, or at least show respect to the AMG GT R. That’s because the 911 Turbo S packs just as much power – 580 horsepower’s worth – while also returning some incredible performance times. Remember when I mentioned that the 911 Turbo can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds with Porsche’s Sport Chrono package? Well, the Turbo S can do the same in 2.8 seconds before hitting a peak speed of 205 mph. Fuel mileage for the 911 Turbo S remains at 19/24 mpg in the city/highway split while the AMG GT R is likely to return somewhere in the 15/20 mpg figures.

Model Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 MPH Time Top Speed
Mercedes-AMG GT R 577 horsepower 516 pound-feet 3.5 seconds 198 mph
Porsche 911 GTS 580 horsepower 523 pound-feet* 2.8 seconds (w/ Sport Chrono) 205 mph

This is where things get really serious because whoever ends up buying either of these models must have deep pockets. The Porsche 911 Turbo S, for example, starts at $188,100 and that doesn’t even count the myriad of packages that are available for the model. Likewise, the AMG GT R is by no means cheap as well. It’s starting price should hit close to $200,000.

Where does the Porsche 911 GT3 RS fit in?

2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS High Resolution Exterior
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Note: photo of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS

Some people think that the Mercedes-AMG GT R was built to compete against the Porsche 911 Turbo S. Others think it was built to compete against the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, the only track-focused, street-legal variant of the 911 family. If you ask me, I think the AMG GT R was developed for a dual-purpose: to compete against the 911 Turbo and the 911 GT3 RS.

With regards to the GT3 RS, it al boils down to both cars’ track capabilities, which is to say that both are lethal on that specific type of road. That’s especially true for the 911 GT3 RS, which Porsche developed for that specific purpose. It may not be evident at first glance, but the 911 GT3 RS is a completely redesigned 911. From the bumper with the larger air intakes to the large splitter just below it and the front fenders with the race car louvers just above the wheels, the 911 GT3 RS is meant for the track.

On the technical front, the 911 GT3 RS has now taken the mantle as one of the last remaining versions of the 911 that still runs on a naturally aspirated engine. It was previously joined by the GTS, but as we saw in Detroit, that’s no longer the case. In any case, the GT3 RS is powered by a 4.0-liter flat-six engine that cranks out 500 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. When paired to a PDK transmission, the GT3 RS is good enough to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds to go with a top speed of around 195 mph. Fuel efficiency ratings should also reflect that of the AMG GT R with city/highway split of 15/20 mpg.

Model Horsepower Torque 0 to 60 MPH Time Top Speed
Mercedes-AMG GT R 577 horsepower 516 pound-feet 3.5 seconds 198 mph
Porsche 911 GT3 RS 500 horsepower 339 pound-feet* 2.3 seconds (PDK transmission) 195 mph

So, how far has the Mercedes-AMG GT family come and how far does it still have to go?

Some people will say that Mercedes-AMG still has a steep mountain to climb if it hopes of really taking it to Porsche in this segment. They’re not wrong in that assessment. The AMG GT family, as impressive as it has become, still has to add more variety into the mix to even come close to competing against the 911, never mind the fact that the latter is already firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of millions as iconic model into itself.

But I think that it’s a lot closer than what most people think. Mercedes-AMG may be new to the scene, but the division has been doing its thing for a long time. It’s not a neophyte that’s still feeling its way into the process; it already knows how to build performance cars. That experience allowed it to develop the AMG GT and GT S models and then quickly turn around and add the GT R and the GT C into the mix. And don’t be surprised if more GT models join the family soon.

The mountain that the AMG GT needs to climb as it relates to the Porsche 911 is appreciation and loyalty. Owners of the Porsche nameplate stretch all the way back to 1963. They know that when it’s a Porsche 911, it’s going to be worth whatever Porsche asks for it. But it’s still a different story with the Mercedes-AMG GT. The early returns look great, but the kind of love and affinity 911 owners have for their models is something that grows organically over time.

That’s what the AMG GT line doesn’t have…yet. If it keeps going down this path though, those things may arrive sooner than later. Either way, it’s going to be very exciting to watch.

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