Mercedes-Benz Dials 911 in Designing AMG GT Coupe

Jackson Wheeler
7 Min Read


Say you’re one of those fortunate few who find themselves in the market for a new performance car with between $100,000 to $200,000 to spend.

While that’s a vast amount of money for a car, it doesn’t quite get you into the Italian exotic car territory, sadly enough.

You could spend less and go for a new mid-engine Chevy Corvette, and nobody would blame you. Or for around the same money, you could consider the Lotus Emira—great-looking and exotic given its low numbers.

But for many enthusiasts, the gold standard for a high-end sports car is Porsche’s 911.

The 911 has existed in its various permutations for about 60 years now. It is simply unique. No other production car (I’m not counting Morgans as “production”) has existed for so long as the “same” design.

OK, nobody would suggest it’s the same car as when it was introduced in 1964, but the general configuration and design DNA are clearly present in the newest version of the car.

2020 porsche 911 4s in red and white parked

Current 992-generation of the Porsche 911, in 4S trim.

Porsche

There’s the same smooth, fastback profile, the same side view window graphic and a front that’s dominated by single, round (ish) headlamps. No other car manufacturer has labored so hard to maintain the heritage of the original design and at the same time update it into a thoroughly modern machine.

And no other manufacturer has spent so much money and engineering resources to rectify what many believe to be a fundamental flaw of a rear-engine design.

But 911 buyers wouldn’t have it any other way, (as Porsche learned with the 911’s intended replacement, the 928) and today’s version is testimony to the seemingly ageless desirability of the car.

The AMG GT’s bulging rear quarters, as pretty as they are, mimic the Porsche 911.

Just look at the thing. It’s like a designer’s exaggerated sketch of the original car: same general shape but stretched out, with a faster windshield, lower upper, and of course enormous wheels and tires.

Unlike the original, the 992 variants are all “wide bodies,” meaning they have pronounced rear quarters that give them an exceptional road-worthy look.

Given the car’s acceleration, great handling, build quality, 2+2 seating, overall usability and iconic design (again, no other car looks like a 911) it’s no wonder it’s the default choice for so many in this price class.

2024 amg gt howlin across spain
porsche 911 gt3 touring blue in front of mountains

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring.

Porsche

But there is another possibility. Mercedes-Benz has just introduced the latest version of the AMG GT, and it appears to be a formidable challenger to the 911, at which it is clearly aimed.

A little history. The first-generation AMG GT was introduced in late 2014 as a 2015 model. It was a front-engine, strictly two-seater priced and aimed directly as a 911 competitor, unlike the more expensive and exclusive AMG SLS that preceded it.

What visually distinguished the first gen most was its side-view proportion: an exaggerated dash-to axle that clearly announced its front midengine layout, almost to the point of caricature.

Originally available only as a liftback (an open version would follow), it was the opposite of the 911 in the way it was packaged.

The new AMG GT follows in this vein though its proportions are not as dramatic as its predecessor, but they are more coherent and balanced. Based on the same platform as the new AMG SL, it shares the interior and its general form development of MB’s current soft, organic execution.

It’s also a 2+2 now. It is a very handsome, purposeful-looking vehicle, with the right amount of aggression and refinement.

2024 amg gt parked on road
2021 porsche 911 gt3 touring gentian blue profile parked on road

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring.

Porsche

But walk around it, and it may appear somewhat familiar. The upper profile, smoother and less humpy than the earlier version, looks a bit like, well, the 911.

And how about the side glass graphic—except for the subtle beltline kick-up at the rear—doesn’t that look suspiciously like the 911?

Also from that view, the bulging rear quarters, as pretty as they are, mimic the Porsche. As does the horizontal tail lamp graphic, admittedly different in execution than the 911’s light bar. Still, you get the point.

The most obvious difference between the two cars is the front face. With the current 911, the standard front fascia on the Carrera has a wide, horizontal air intake that is the weakest part of the whole design: No rear-engine Porsche should have a mouth so big and ungainly.

The Mercedes has an even larger mouth, in their inverted “Panamericana” style. But given the front engine, its justified and visually works and should scare the daylights out of anyone seeing it in their rearview mirror.

If Porsche were to build a new front-engine sports car, it’s not hard to imagine it looking something like the AMG GT. And what a car that would be, given the brand’s capabilities.

It’s just that Mercedes, in its sincerest form of flattery yet, has beaten them to the punch.


dave rand design consultant apr 2023

Tom Murphy

Dave Rand (pictured right) is the former executive director of Global Advanced Design for General Motors.

Headshot of Dave Rand

Contributor

Dave started scribbling cars in his math books in elementary school and eventually parlayed his enthusiasm into an esteemed career as an automotive designer. He started at General Motors in 1978 and stayed more than 32 years, working in Brazil along the way to becoming Executive Director of Global Advanced Design. He later worked as a consultant for both domestic and foreign companies. When he isn’t preoccupied with home renovations, Dave likes standing back and contemplating his award-winning 1966 Jaguar E-Type coupe.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at Speedofdaily.com, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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