An iron fist in a velvet glove

When you see one on the street, you can’t stop staring. The long hood, the aggressive nose with the classic-looking grille, the big wheels hiding sizeable brakes and the short tail. It’s got all the ingredients of a Gran Turismo built by the book and, in Roadster trim, it offers limitless headroom for those endless summer days.

The AMG GT is everything the SLS was plus some more and the AMG GT C Roadster is the most powerful and fastest AMG GT with a drop-top that you can get Stateside for now, as no GT S Roadster is offered for the 2019 model year. Still, with 550 horsepower and a top speed that comes perilously close to 200 mph, it’s hard to see why you’d want more. The good news is that, in spite of all of the muscle, the AMG GT C Roadster still offers all the refinement you’d expect coming from a product of the Mercedes house.

If you want to enjoy the best that Affalterbach’s got to offer, you can’t go wrong with the Mercedes-AMG GT, the two-door sports car from the brand with the three-pointed star that’s ready to take on all of the GTs on the market, including the 911, the Corvette, and the Audi R8 - and do it with an added dose of style. Yes, the gullwing doors that made the SLS feel extra special are no more but let’s not forget Lamborghini isn’t offering scissor doors on all its models either - and you can hardly complain when behind the wheel of one. The chassis is on point, as is the paddle-controlled automatic transmission that helps you get from naught to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. We tested one to see if the $34,150 price gap between the standard AMG GT Roadster and the C version is worth it. Read on to find out.

  • 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    550 @ 5750
  • Torque @ RPM:
    502 @ 5000
  • Displacement:
    4.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    3.7 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    196 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Video

The video review we put together shows you an honest and in-depth walkaround of the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster, detailing both its strengths and weaknesses. From the outset, it’s obvious that this car is one of the prettiest in its class, full of curvy lines everywhere you look. The aggressive stance of the AMG GT C Roadster drives home the message that, while still a luxurious grand tourer, the car means business and wants you to drive it hard.

We talk about its appearance, giving you the lowdown on some subtle design changes Mercedes introduced for the 2019 MY and also some details that show Mercedes’ philosophy with this car, one that’s less focused on practicality and more on appearance and performance. Mercedes’ team of designers penned the AMG GT to be somewhat similar in appearance to the SLS AMG but also to be more compact and better from a dynamic point of view.

We discuss what that means from behind the wheel and how the numbers you read on the spec sheet seem to be conservative when you’re in the moment and apply pressure to the loud pedal, asking more and more from that 550-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. The sensation of speed is further amplified with the top down, while with the top up you feel as if you are embroiled neatly inside the cockpit of a race car. The GT C Roadster isn’t quite that but let’s not forget the AMG GT3 racer was spawned by this model after all.

Exterior Design

  • Redesigned front end
  • Retro-inspired grille
  • Revised light clusters
  • Grille between tail lamps like on the GT S
  • No fake grilles
  • Longer but lower than the 992 Carrera
  • Longer than the Audi R8
2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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The 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster is a feast for the eyes.

While you expect a grand tourer that costs well over $100,000 to grab everyone’s attention, the AMG GT C Roadster does that and more. They say that you shouldn’t get a car you don’t turn around to glance at after you park it and Merc’s two-door bullet for the road surely has that effect on you. Don’t blame yourself if you’ll end up spending minutes upon minutes savoring all the details of the body, all the curved lines, the flared fenders, the plunging nose with the ginormous intake, and the huge multi-spoke rims finished in black and hugged by meaty rubber. The SLS AMG that came before it was a little bit edgier and it was even bigger in size but not by much, and you can definitely feel that the AMG GT is no Miata as far as dimensions are concerned.

Seen from the front, the AMG GT looks feisty with that big grille that protrudes forwards and the angled headlights placed outboard. The grille itself sports no less than 15 vertical bars with a chromed contour and a blacked-out center. The three bars in the center are interrupted by the almighty three-point star badge that’s also the hiding spot for the radar in the nose. On the right-hand side, you’ll spot the AMG logo positioned between two bars.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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The headlights are placed on either side of this massive mouth of the AMG GT. Each features one bar of LEDs that act as daytime running lights, with the bar shaped like an upside-down L.

The main beam is framed by this L with three more light units below.

Originally, the two openings in the lower bumper that feed air into the radiators were separated but, after the facelift, they’re connected via a caved-in passage that passes across the width of the lower front bumper. That’s just dark-colored plastic there, but, from a distance, it looks like a continuous grille from one side of the front fascia to the other.

These two openings feature a bar placed horizontally but no mesh, which means you should be careful driving your AMG GT on rougher roads as stones and all kinds of debris could be stored in these inlets and block the radiator or, worse still, there’s a chance it may get damaged since it’s exposed like that. In between these two vents, there’s another one that features vertical flaps that direct air to the left and to the right below the main inlet. The lower lip that bridges the gap between the two outboard air vents features a polished black tip.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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From the side, the first thing that you’ll notice is just how long the car’s hood really is. In all, the hood (from the A-pillar towards the tip of the nose) measures some 80 inches, a lot when you consider that the whole car measures 179 inches. You’d think that Mercedes would make the front half of its sports car bigger after it decided to dump the SLS AMG’s monstrous 6.2-liter, naturally aspirated V-8 that needed lots of room because it was humongous in size. However, when you open the hood you understand why the engine of the AMG GT also needs lots of room: the block is placed further up in front towards the nose with the turbochargers placed behind, hidden behind a metal cover that helps dissipate heat. This arrangement is obviously nowhere near as compact as Porsche’s boxers but, then again, the long hood pretty much makes the AMG GT what it is.

The car we tested came fitted with the most expensive wheels available for this model: the cross-spoked forged 20-inch ones painted in matte black with a chromed lip and a protruding Mercedes-badged center cap.

These rims cost $2,000 on their own and, while expensive, they underline the car's already serious look.

The only other black rims are the five-spoke split rims that cost $1,500 and, just like these ones, can be had in the bigger 20-inch variety or the smaller 19-inch one.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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The side vents are functional although, if you get close, you’ll notice that there are only two small openings that let air out - although there’s a mesh that covers the whole opening. Of course, if that whole thing would’ve been opened it would’ve disturbed the airflow along the side of the car. On these side vents, there are badges letting passers-by know that the rumble from the exhaust comes from a bi-turbo V-8 engine. Two more vents, that are also functional, are placed on the hood towards the windshield.

A strong design line that goes slightly up from above the rocker panels makes the car seem shorter than it is.

Talking about the rocker panels, they feature a chromed bar and actually curve inwards, meaning that the outer edge of the front tires isn't covered by the wheel wells all the way down.

The by-product of the cheeky design is that you may get dirt all over the rocker panels near the front wheels as there are no mudguards to protect the bodywork.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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Such a detail shows that Mercedes was more concerned with making the AMG GT stand out visually than to give it a more practical design. This is also evidenced by the totally exposed radar in the nose. With no bumper and no protection, a slight hit could potentially send the systems onboard into a manic streak that needs fixing. In other words, you really need to be careful not to damage the nose. In the back, things are a little bit better as, due to U.S. safety regulations, Mercedes did bother to mount two overriders on either side of the number plate but that’s about it, the curved, bulging rear end is otherwise unaffected (when compared to the European-spec AMG GT).

The rear end is really cheeky-looking with the elongated taillights with the transparent indicator lights in the middle.

The lights are placed on either side of the trunk on the more curved section of the rear fascia before the rear kind of goes down straight below the character line that connects visually the tips of the two air vents placed outboard that seem to be carved right into the fender flares.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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There’s also a horizontally-mounted vent in between the taillights, just below the trunk lid that’s home to another AMG badge, a GT C badge, and the Mercedes three-pointed star. It’s also on the trunk that Mercedes placed the electronically operated pop-up rear wing that is either activated automatically when you surpass 120 mph or you can pop it up yourself using a button inside the cabin if you want it deployed as you drive slowly through town. A neat detail is the added rear light bar - the one that’s usually integrated into the roof on a standard car - which is placed within the rear wing and only really works with the wing down.

The retractable soft top doesn’t actually take up any of the already limited trunk space as it is stored in an area behind the seats covered by some really flimsy plastic panels.

With the roof up, the line of the car changes and you get a somewhat big rear window.

However, due to the angle of the soft top, there’s not much you’re going to see through there so you’ll rely on the sensors - as you’ll do in the front due to the angled windshield that opens up to that seemingly infinite hood.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster exterior dimensions
Length 179 in
Height 49.6 in (top up)
Width 81.7 in (with mirrors)
Wheelbase 103.5 in

How Big is the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster?

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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The Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster is surely no small car, although it can still make its way through narrow back roads or city streets filled to the brim. The car is longer by 1.1 inches compared to the 2019 Porsche 911 992 Carrera 4S Convertible and by 4.6 inches compared to the mid-engine R8. In spite of the size difference, the R8 actually comes with a larger 104-inch wheelbase as Audi placed the wheels further towards the car’s extremities for better road holding while AMG’s overhangs, especially in the front, are quite big (the tail is shorter than that of the SLS).

The Mercedes is also very wide, measuring 81.7 inches from the tip of the exterior rear-view mirror on the right to the tip of the mirror on the left. To put it into perspective, the latest 911 - that’s ditched the practice of narrow-body and wide-body configurations - measures 71.9 inches in width. The R8 is also narrower by 5.3 inches which may be surprising as you’d think a mid-engined car is wider than a front-engined one. The R8 is, however, 0.8 inches lower than the Mercedes-AMG while the rivaling Porsche 992 is 1.6 inches taller.

Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Convertible Audi R8 V10 Spyder
Length 179 in 177.9 in 174.3 in
Height 49.6 in (top up) 51.2 in 49.0 in
Width 81.7 in (with mirrors) 79.7 in 76.4 in
Wheelbase 103.5 in 96.5 104.4 in

Having said all this, the AMG GT isn’t that extreme in terms of size. An Aventador, for instance, is 89.17 inches wide and over 188 inches long making it seven inches longer than the AMG-built car and also some eight inches wider, while also being lower. This means that the first Mercedes to come with the ’Mercedes-AMG’ badge is more practical than a bona fide supercar while also being slightly wider than most GTs out there, giving it a boost in presence.

Interior Design

  • Purposeful cabin with tall and wide center console
  • Tight bucket seats with plenty of bolstering
  • Outdated infotainment screen
  • Analog dial cluster
  • Will probably receive an update soon
2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Interior
- image 857656
The AMG GT C Roadster shares its cabin with the AMG GT C Coupe, so there aren't any surprises when you step inside if you're familiar with the interior premises of the coupe.

But, it’s still a very nice place to be in. For starters, there’s Alcantara and matte carbon fiber almost everywhere and the tall center console that separates the driver from the passenger lets you know that Mercedes-AMG thought about giving the person behind the wheel an involving experience.

When you step inside - which isn’t the easiest of operations with the low windshield in the way - you are welcomed by the car’s leather-wrapped bucket seats that offer plenty of bolstering to keep you in place when you decide it’s time for some heavy cornering, although they aren’t too hard on your lower back. In the car we tested, the central part of the seat is covered in Alcantara as well as the bolsters. The interior door panels are also covered in Alcantara and they come with integrated airbags. The door pockets aren’t particularly big but, then again, space is limited inside a sports car such as this one.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Interior
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The steering wheel of the AMG GT C Roadster features a semi-flattened rim. There are buttons on the two horizontal spokes while the lower one is hollow and finished in black, with the AMG logo at the bottom where it connects with the Alcantara-wrapped rim. Looking straight ahead you’ll notice the analog dials of the AMG GT, a sign that the car was originally introduced all the way back in 2014 when digital gauge clusters like on the four-door AMG GT sister model weren’t yet the norm. The odometer is on the left and, for some reason, it goes all the way to 220 mph although this car will top out at 196 mph. In the lower part of this gauge (that comes with a carbon fiber-themed background), there’s the fuel meter. The tachometer is on the right and there you can see that the car redlines at 7,000 rpm. In the lower part of this gauge, there’s the water temperature meter. In between, there’s the LCD screen for the onboard computer - you can toggle through its options via the buttons on the steering wheel.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Interior
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The top of the dashboard in the car we had to play with is covered in black leather with yellow stitching, matching the stitching on the seats.

The four central air vents and the display screen for the infotainment system sprout out from a caved-in area of the dash.

The surround of the air vents is covered in carbon fiber as is the middle area of the lower center console (its frame is covered in a hard black material). Below the vents, there is a number of metal buttons including the one that raises the spoiler, the one for the heated seat function, and one for the ventilation that comes via the headrest through the roll hoop behind the seat. Between the roll hoops, there’s a transparent wind deflector.

Towards the top part of the center console, you’ll find more buttons (for the climate control, all with a nice feel to them) placed directly in front of a hidden storage area where you can find cup holders. The pad and the rotating knob that controls the infotainment system is placed a bit lower down, in front of the small shifter knob. On either side, there are more controls including the driving mode toggle, the engine start/stop button, the button that deactivates traction control and one that stiffens the suspension up for when you take your AMG GT C Roadster to a track day - which you most definitely should as this car is entirely too quick to be driven hard on the open road.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Interior
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The car stays true to its GT orientation and, with its low seating position, you should be able to clear the soft top coming over your head even if you're a taller person (headroom is about 39-40 inches).

There’s plenty of space for two adults inside but that’s about it. For comparison’s sake, with the roof up, an R8 Spyder offers 38.5 inches of headroom and 40.9 inches of legroom, as well as 55.1 inches of shoulder room. The Mercedes feels a bit roomier but this may have something to do with the layout of the cabin.

How Much Cargo Room Does the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster Have?

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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You can tackle a long-distance highway trip (or you can go down B-roads as well, to be honest) aboard the AMG GT C Roadster without feeling soar when you arrive at your destination, but don’t expect to be able to carry lots of luggage. Having said this, the trunk of the Merc is one of the biggest in this segment, especially when you talk about convertibles that generally offer less trunk space even if that trunk isn’t at any time occupied by the folding roof. In all, the trunk can swallow 10.1 cubic feet of stuff which is just as much as you can cram in the back of a Corvette C7 Convertible. An R8 Spyder, on the other hand, only boasts eight cubic feet of cargo space while the 911 992’s front luggage compartment is only big enough to store 4.6 cubic feet of stuff.

The issue is that the trunk is quite high up and it’s not particularly deep either, so even if it’s not small for the segment, you still have to be very judicious about what you take on your trips with the AMG GT C Roadster. Then again, this car is all about the thrills it can provide and trust us when we say that it offers adrenaline in droves.

Is Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster’s Infotainment System Easy to Use?

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Interior
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Even though we tested a 2019 MY AMG GT C Roadster, the car didn’t come with Mercedes-Benz’s latest infotainment system. Instead, it comes with the aging Mercedes Command system that’s inferior to the MBUX system. At least the 8.4-inch screen’s image quality is crisp, making up for the ungainly way it pops up from the dash (but, hey, Mercedes has got tradition when it comes to sticking screens on dashboards and making them look like the ultimate iPad-looking afterthoughts, or, at least, they were).

We must say that the touchpad on the console and the rotating knob are straightforward, even if you haven't been in a Mercedes-Benz before (it's not like other manufacturers don't have more-or-less similar setups anyway).

The issue is, though, that there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity. On top of that, the system’s multiple screens get confusing especially since some useful and, may we say, quite basic options aren’t out in the open and, instead, you’ve got to dig through to find them. It’s not hard, but it takes some time and with the MBUX it’s all easier. Happily, if you order a 2020 MY AMG GT (coupe or roadster), it’ll come with the MBUX interface.

Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster and Car Seats

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Interior
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The AMG GT C Roadster is far from being a family car. In fact, the only thing further away from being a family car than the AMG GT C Roadster is, perhaps, a BAC Mono or another single-seater that’s somehow roadworthy (at least in some countries of the world). The point here is that the AMG GT wasn’t designed with car seats in mind and, as such, doesn’t come with a LATCH system for the passenger’s seat. We reckon that if you have a family and you also own or want to get yourself an AMG GT, you also have in your garage a more practical car with a backseat spacious enough for child seats.

Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster Performance

  • Souped-up version of the GT’s V-8
  • 4.0-liter displacement
  • Twin turbos
  • 550 horsepower
  • 502 pound-feet of torque
  • 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds
  • Top speed of 196 mph
  • Slower than the R8 to 60 mph
2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Drivetrain
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The 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster is a stunningly fast car. You only need to gently tap the throttle for your head to be pressed hard against the headrest. Sure, there are cars that are quicker out there and lighter but the sense of speed you get aboard this car with its low, angled windshield and no roof is particularly exhilarating.

For starters, though, let’s look at the numbers and compare the standard Roadster to the C Roadster, the fastest version available Stateside.

Both are powered by the same 4.0-liter, DOHC, twin-turbocharged V-8 (known as the 'Hot Inside V' due to the placement of the turbochargers), but the C offers plenty more power.

It peaks at 550 horsepower between 5,750-6,750 rpm and 502 pound-feet of twist between 2,100 and 5,000 rpm while the standard model only cranks out 469 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. The sizeable difference translates into a higher top speed (196 mph versus 188 mph) and a 0-60 mph sprint slashed from 3.9 seconds down to just 3.7 seconds. Both are fitted with the same AMG Speedshift dual-clutch seven-gear automatic transaxle with flappy paddles behind the steering wheel. The transmission sends all of the power to the rear wheels.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Drivetrain
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2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster specifications
Engine diecast alloy block, 4.0-liter, DOHC, twin-turbocharged, V-8
Compression ratio 9.5:1
Output 550 horsepower between 5,750-6,750 rpm
Torque 502 pound-feet of torque between 2,100 and 5,000 rpm
Gearbox Seven-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT dual-clutch rear-mounted transaxle
Suspension Four-wheel independent double-wishbone with forged aluminum arms and hub carriers. Electronically controlled shock absorbers with 3-stage adaptive damping
Brakes Perforated, slotted and ventilated 15.4-inch front discs with composite rotors and 6-piston calipers. Perforated and ventilated 14.2-inch rear discs with single-piston floating calipers
Steering Variable-ratio rack-and-pinion with speed-sensing power assist
Performance 0-60 mph 3.7 seconds
Top speed 196 mph
Weight 3,660 pounds

The C’s M178 V-8 engine still features diecast alloy block and heads but the compression ratio is 9.5:1. Suspension is independent all around with double wishbones while the shock absorbers are electronically controlled with 3-stage adaptive damping (Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ modes that can be selected from that toggle on the center console). This is what Mercedes-Benz calls the ’Ride Control Sport’ suspension and it comes with the C from the get-go.

Steering is by variable-ratio rack-and-pinion with speed-sensing power assist. Brakes are perforated, slotted, and ventilated discs on all four corners.

In the front, the AMG GT C comes with 14.5-inch rotors and 6-piston calipers, while in the back there are 14.2-inch rotors with single-piston floating calipers. For $8,950 you can have fitted to your AMG GT C the AMG High-Performance Ceramic Composite Braking System that features two-piece carbon-ceramic brakes all-around - 15.8-inch in diameter in the front and 14.2-inch in the back. The rotors and calipers (that are finished in bronze to stand out) are 40% lighter than the standard setup.

How Fast is the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster?

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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The AMG GT C Roadster is a really fast car, especially when you consider the fact that it weighs 3,660 pounds, 20 pounds more than the 911 Carrera 4S Convertible. We’re not saying it’s the heaviest car in the segment - the R8 Spyder tips the scales at 3,730 pounds for instance, but it isn’t light either with the coupe versions slotting in at just 3,560 pounds. Yet, it really feels poised and ready, that engine always at your disposal and always willing to give more and more as if its resources are bottomless. 550 horsepower isn’t what you’d call bottomless nowadays when you’ve got 1,500+ horsepower cars on offer but for most of us it’s way more than enough and we don’t think you could ask for more given how thrilling this car already is - imagine, then, how the AMG GT R Pro will feel like!

That’s because the AMG GT C is already a really stiff car. Even when driving around in the softest Comfort drive mode, the car rattles over any sort of imperfection in the road surface - also because of the low-profile tires and the 20-inch rims. Of course, this is good because you can feel every movement of the car - also through the steering that’s very direct and communicative - but you’d think that they’d dial the roadster to be more laid-back even though we’re talking about the sportier C version of the AMG GT.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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Then there’s the noise. Put the car in the sportiest setting and the exhaust note gets extremely loud - and the throttle/brake/gearbox response is faster. In the convertible, all that noise from the V-8 makes you think of the old cliche that referred to Carroll Shelby’s AC Ace’s converted into Shelby Cobras, the ones that had a big V-8 and a bit of car strapped to it. This one feels a bit like that when you set the car in the loudest, sportiest driving mode and the engine is bellowing there in front of you. In hindsight, though, if you go to get a car like this, you should know what you’re signing up for. The fixed-head version features a bit better sound deadening on the inside, obviously, but you can’t beat the roadster experience.

Now, let’s put those numbers we’ve been chatting about into perspective. So, the AMG GT C brings to the table 550 horsepower and 502 torque. The Audi R8 V-10 Spyder (not the $208,000 V-10 Performance, that’s closer to a GT R) cranks out 562 horsepower but only 406 torques. Finally, there’s the Carrera 4S Convertible, currently the meatiest 992-based open-top 911. There will be more powerful versions coming (the Turbo will drop the soonest) but, for now, we’ll make do with just 443 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. If you may think this isn’t enough to keep up with the AMG GT C Roadster, think again: even without the Sport Chrono pack, the 4S goes from naught to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Get the Sport Chrono pack and you’ll see that time go down to 3.4 seconds, at least two tenths quicker than the slightly heavier Merc. Also, the top speed is 188 mph, as fast as a standard AMG GT Roadster.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster vs competition - drivetrain specifications
2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster 2019 Porsche 911 992 Carrera 4S Roadster 2020 Audi R8 V10 Spyder
Engine diecast alloy block, 4.0-liter, DOHC, twin-turbocharged, V-8 Twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter, boxer six-cylinder 5.2-liter, DOHC, naturally aspirated V-10
Compression ratio 9.5:1 10.2:1 12.5:1
Output 550 horsepower between 5,750-6,750 rpm 443 horsepower at 6,500 rpm 562 horsepower at 8,000 rpm
Torque 502 pound-feet of torque between 2,100 and 5,000 rpm 390 pound-feet of torque from 2,300 rpm 402 pound-feet of torque at 6,300 rpm
Gearbox Seven-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT dual-clutch rear-mounted transaxle Eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission Seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic with flappy paddles
Suspension Four-wheel independent double-wishbone with forged aluminum arms and hub carriers. Electronically controlled shock absorbers with 3-stage adaptive damping MacPherson strut suspension with an anti-roll bar in the front and an LSA multi-link suspension with an anti-roll bar in the rear Independent all-around with double wishbones with unequal arms, with anti-roll bars front and back, and coils over Audi Ride Magnetic Fluid-Filled shock absorbers
Brakes Perforated, slotted and ventilated 15.4-inch front discs with composite rotors and 6-piston calipers. Perforated and ventilated 14.2-inch rear discs with single-piston floating calipers 13.77 inch ventilated, cross-drilled rotors all around with six-piston calipers in the front and four-piston calipers in the back All-around cross-drilled, ventilated disc brakes
Steering Variable-ratio rack-and-pinion with speed-sensing power assist Assisted rack-and-pinion with variable steering ratio Assisted variable ratio rack-and-pinion
Performance 0-60 mph 3.7 seconds 3.6 seconds (3.4 seconds w/ Sport Chrono) 3.4 seconds
Top speed 196 mph 188 mph 200 mph
Weight 3,660 pounds 3,640 pounds 3,730 pounds

Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster Fuel Economy

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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The Mercedes-AMG GT is supposed to be a more level-headed follow-up to the (slightly) insane $300,000 SLS. For starters, it costs less and it is also supposed to be cheaper to own as the big, gas-guzzling 6.2-liter naturally aspirated V-8 engine is gone. But the 4.0-liter unit that came in its place is by no means a Prius rival. Mercedes says the AMG GT C Roadster gets 15 mpg city and 20 mpg highway (average is about 18 mpg). That’s quite a bit less than you get in a 911 that delivers 23 mpg combined, 20 city and 28 highway - 13 mpg more than the Merc.

That’s not particularly surprising as the Porsche’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo boxer-six is known for being economical. The R8, meanwhile, with that last-in-line V-10 is also not one to brag about its fuel efficiency since it returns 21.6 mpg on an average.

Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster Pricing

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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We started this review by asking ourselves if the $34,150 price gap between the bog-standard AMG GT and the AMG GT C is worth it. After all, a fully loaded Camry won’t set you back more than $27,000 so how can Mercedes explain the price hike? Well, there’s the obvious bits like the sizeable increase in output (81 horsepower is quite a bit, 40 years ago there were many cars that only made 81 horsepower) and then the not-so-obvious stuff like the clever electronically controlled suspension. But, overall, it’s mostly about the oomph. If you somehow need to go faster in a two-door Merc without a roof, you’ll pay the premium. If you don’t, you’ll just settle for the standard model.

Looking at the landscape of luxury GTs, the Mercedes with its $158,850 MSRP isn’t at the tip of the iceberg, Yes, the Carrera 4S starts at a more reasonable $133,400, less than $10,000 above the MSRP of the AMG GT, but the Audi R8 goes up from $182,100 and that’s before you’ve started adding anything to it. There are cheaper options, sure, like the F Type R Roadster that’s barely over $100,000 but a car like this is a status symbol. While the F Type is chic and that throaty V-8 is lively and wants to have fun, the Mercedes-AMG badge has a different image as the three-pointed star is now a few levels above the Leaping Cat in the world of luxury automobiles. Oh, and let’s not forget that, when new, a 488 Spyder costs $280,000 without taxes...

Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster Options

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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The list of available options for this car is quite big. We’ll only go through the most expensive and most interesting of them to give you an idea of how easily you can make an already expensive sports car into a really expensive one.

Let’s start from the outside. The most expensive tint for the body, Designo Iridium Silver Magno is $3,950 but, at least, you don’t pay extra if you want your soft top to be red. The cross-spoked wheels seen on our car are another $1,700 and the AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package (that this car doesn’t have) is $5,300.

Inside, the Black Exclusive Nappa leather/DINAMICA with red stitching is $750 and matching red seatbelts are a healthy $500 while the matte carbon fiber trim pieces fitted to this car make the price go up by a whopping $3,1000 - really, adding carbon fiber to your Mercedes isn’t for you if you’ve got a weak heart. With the cabin not smashing any records when it comes to insulation, you may not want to invest in the $4,500 Burmester sound system but it’s there if you want it.

Something you should get, though, is the $875 Lane Tracking Package complete with Blind Spot Assist Lane Keeping Assist - yes, Mercedes doesn’t offer those systems from standard on its $160,000 sports car. Without that package, the only active safety systems you get are attention assist (it monitors different parameters of driving behavior, and can automatically alert the driver with both visual and audible warnings) and collision prevention assist plus (this one can initiate autonomous braking from speeds up to 65 mph). Then there’s the $2,250 Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC that’s just your run-of-the-mill adjustable cruise control...

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster options
Designo Iridium Silver Magno $3,950
cross-spoked wheels $1,700
AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package $5,300
Black Exclusive Nappa leather/DINAMICA $750
Red seatbelts $500
Burmester sound system $4,500
Lane Tracking Package $875
Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC $2,250

Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster Competition

2019 Porsche 911 992 Carrera 4S Roadster

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The latest 911 Carrera 4S Roadster offers the same open-air experience as the Merc but in an extremely different package. For starters, the Porsche is a bit more practical inside (more storage space available, also behind the seats), and it’s got a more modern digital dash with an improved infotainment system. Purists don’t seem to like the dash but those are only the purists that haven’t tried it yet.

The driving experience is still classic Porsche with the engine hanging in the back but all the clever chassis, suspension, and damping tech really minimizes the inherent drawbacks of the rear-engine layout with almost no nose lift, little oversteer, and more than decent aerodynamics (underbody aerodynamics used to be a pain for Porsche engineers due to the engine hanging out where the diffuser ought to have been).

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What all this means is that the latest 4S is easier to push to the limit - thanks also to chunkier tiers because now all cars are of the ’widebody’ variety. The downside is that you may say that the 992 911 has lost a bit of the unique character running through the family. Also the engine won’t ever even dream of challenging the V-8 in the Merc from the point of view of the soundtrack although Porsche fans won’t be disappointed as it still sounds specifically Porsche. If you’ll be lucky enough to drive the two back to back you’ll notice that the AMG is the stiffer of the two even in the supposedly ’loosest’ suspensions setup and if you’re not one to dig a rougher ride, you’ll definitely want to go with the Porsche that’s also cheaper. But many others will as well. Exclusivity is parting with the Mercedes this time around.

2019 Porsche 911 992 Carrera 4S Roadster specifications
Engine Twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter, boxer six-cylinder
Compression ratio 10.2:1
Output 443 horsepower at 6,500 rpm
Torque 390 pound-feet of torque from 2,300 rpm
Gearbox Eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission
Suspension MacPherson strut suspension with an anti-roll bar in the front and an LSA multi-link suspension with an anti-roll bar in the rear
Brakes 13.77 inch ventilated, cross-drilled rotors all around with six-piston calipers in the front and four-piston calipers in the back
Steering Assisted rack-and-pinion with variable steering ratio
Performance 0-60 mph 3.6 seconds (3.4 seconds w/ Sport Chrono)
Top speed 188 mph
Weight 3,640 pounds
Length 177.9 in
Width 79.7 in
Height 51.2 in
Wheelbase 96.5 in

Read our full review on the 2019 Porsche 911 992 Carrera 4S Roadster

2020 Audi R8 V10 Spyder

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The R8 is the more exotic of this trifecta as it’s mid-engined like you’d expect from a supercar while the 911 and the AMG GT are decidedly GTs, cruisers if you will. The R8 looks aggressive with the big, redesigned grille in the front and the narrow headlights and it’s not just all show and no go. That V-10 offers plenty of go although it lacks turbochargers. Power output is up by 12 horsepower compared to the Merc although torque is down by 100 pound-feet (and you can feel that in the lower range). It’s hard to say if you’ll turn more heads in the Audi - you might, since it’s a mid-engine exotic-looking thing, so it may have the upper hand on the AMG GT C Roadster.

It’s also got the upper hand when it comes to speed as any R8 can now reach 200 mph. You can thank Audi for that as it added 30 horsepower to the V-10’s already impressive tally but the RWD-only version that was like the swansong of the previous R8 is no more - all R8s are back to being Quattro-only. This isn’t a bad thing given how much oomph the car puts down and there’s more: Audi reworked the power steering feedback on all models, including those that come with an electromechanical steering rack, and fiddled with the Dynamic Select system by adding three new driving modes: Dry, Wet, and Snow. Of course, all of these changes that have affected the R8 both on the inside and the outside mean the 2020 MY is the most expensive yet with prices going up by a noticeable $5,000 compared to the 2018 MY, the last of the old generation.

2019 Audi R8 Exterior
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Driving one, you may think the R8 isn’t as communicative as it ought to be given it’s almost breaking into supercar land with those specs but where it lacks in raw feel it makes up in friendliness: the R8 helps you get up to speed and soon enough you’ll be going faster than you’d want to know without feeling it, it really does happen in a car such as this one. That’s because, inside, you’ll be wrapped in layers upon layers of screens, all feeding you information: you’ve got the Audi Virtual Cockpit, the brand’s 12.3-inch virtual gauge cluster that’s fully customizable (in Sport mode the tachometer gets pride of place in the middle and you are displayed stuff like lap times, tire pressures, and there’s even a lap timer). The Audi connect infotainment system is shoulders above Merc’s old Command with much better connectivity. It comes with a Wi-Fi hotspot incorporated and 4G LTE potential.

2020 Audi R8 V10 Spyder specifications
Engine 5.2-liter, DOHC, naturally aspirated V-10
Compression ratio 12.5:1
Output 562 horsepower at 8,000 rpm
Torque 402 pound-feet of torque at 6,300 rpm
Gearbox Seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic with flappy paddles
Suspension Independent all-around with double wishbones with unequal arms, with anti-roll bars front and back, and coils over Audi Ride Magnetic Fluid-Filled shock absorbers
Brakes All-around cross-drilled, ventilated disc brakes
Steering Assisted variable ratio rack-and-pinion
Performance 0-60 mph 3.4 seconds
Top speed 200 mph
Weight 3,730 pounds
Length 174.3 in
Width 76.4 in
Height 49.0 in
Wheelbase 104.4 in

Read our full review on the 2020 Audi R8 V10 Spyder

Is the Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster for Me?

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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The 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster is the kind of car for those that don’t want an all-out show-stopper like a Lamborghini Huracan but also want people to know that they mean business.

It's an imposing car with an aggressive stance that's also quite elegant in a way.

Bigger than a Porsche and rarer on the street, you’ll definitely turn more heads in the Merc than in a 911 and if that’s something you like or even one of your goals when buying a car at this price point, then the AMG GT is the car for you. If not, then maybe you should get the more unassuming Porsche of which there will soon be a dime a dozen in the posh neighborhoods of the world.

In terms of road manners, the Mercedes is quite stiffly sprung but the seats make up for much of that in the sense that you aren’t taking every bump in your lower back although you do feel it if the road is even just a little bit rough. We would’ve liked at least the open-top model to be a bit softer but you can go for the smaller, 19-inch rims and that will help a bit if you aren’t one to dig a more hardcore ride as that’s what this car is offering, a ride about as stiff as that of the R8’s and stiffer than the Porsche’s.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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If you like to hear the noise rumbling away, then, again, the AMG GT is the car for you. Put it in Sports mode and it’s worth it for the soundtrack alone, although you’ll be satisfied with the ultra-sharp gear changes and the immediate response of the pedals and steering, one that isn’t particularly heavy but it’s got enough feel to it to make you know that you’re part of the activity and you’re not just cocooned away in the cockpit far from the action. It must be said that the AMG GT is no lightweight car despite its massive reserves of oomph and you can feel that weight, although body roll is well within limits. If you want a lighter roadster you may have to look elsewhere but if you dig a car that’s ’driven’ by a big engine in the front, the AMG is a solid choice that doesn’t really break the bank - sure, the sporty C version is more expensive than the standard one and when you’ll be done with it the price will hover around $170,000 but an R8 starts at over $180,000 and that’s still $100,000 away from a 488’s price point, so it’s not that bad.

Final Thoughts

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster - Driven Exterior
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The AMG GT is a car with a unique character, one that’s infectious and that gets you hooked from the moment you step inside, drop the soft top and floor it. It’s hard to let go of that adrenaline rush and of that soundtrack because the senses are constantly under fire in this car - and not in a bad way. As a luxury sports car, it ticks most if not all of the boxes and doesn’t fall in any way shape or form short off our expectations.

Yes, it’s not perfect but the few flaws that it does have will be addressed soon - like that aging infotainment system - and when all that is done, you’re left with a car that you wish wasn’t launched in 2014 as that means a brand-new two-door sports car must be somewhere along the way in the not-so-distant future and we quite like this one. But, hey, the SLS AMG was also bundles of greatness and we still found a place in our hearts for the AMG GT so let’s embrace whatever comes next. Until, then, though, one more run with this one - top down, please!

Further reading

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster.

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R.

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT C Coupe High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT.

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT S Roadster Exterior Wallpaper quality
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No matter what, though, it won’t be as aggressive as the AMG GT C

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes -AMG GT S Roadster.

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