Mercedes-AMG GT S: Weight Distribution Makes it a Winner
Let’s extol the virtues of the front-mid-engine configuration.
Mercedes-AMG has never had a problem making power. The hand-built V8 in the first-generation E55 was potent for its time. Over the years, AMG’s power plants have only grown more weapons-grade through the addition of superchargers and turbos. However, power is most effective when it’s properly controlled. The design philosophy behind the Mercedes-AMG GT S is proof of that.
As part of the second season of its Supercar Superbuild series, which premiered Jan. 21, the Smithsonian Channel has documented the technical know-how and production processes that create exotic machines such as the Alfa Romeo 4C, Rolls-Royce Wraith, and Mercedes-AMG GT. The German sports car is designed to take on cars such as the Porsche 911, but it goes about flying down roads and racetracks in a completely way. Whereas the Porsche can be considered a technical fighter, according to Automobile‘s Christopher Nelson, “The AMG is that brawler, just gets inside and just starts digging at the body and just hits as hard as it can.”
It delivers those blows with twin-turbo-V8-powered fists, as opposed to the 911’s turbo flat-six punches. The base AMG GT generates a stout 469 horsepower, more than enough to take on the entry-level 911’s 370 horsepower. The GT S produces even more, cranking out 515. However, that much power needs to be carefully unleashed. Engine placement is key. Putting it too far up front would make the GT nose-heavy. The speed-mongers at AMG opted to put the V8 as close to the driver as possible. As the narrator for the above video says, “Placing the engine behind the front wheels centralizes the mass and puts the focus on handling.”
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The engine isn’t the only heavy part in the GT S, though. The seven-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT helps it put its face-flattening output to the pavement. Instead of situating it near the engine, AMG’s engineers went with a transaxle. According to the narrator, “It’s part transmission and part axle. The layout’s critical advantage is that it moves a large and heavy drivetrain component to the back.”
Mind-blowing steering also helps, as we learned at the Texas Auto Writers Association’s Texas Auto Roundup last year.
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