Aural delight

The new Mercedes-AMG GT S comes with a lot of sound and fury, which will attract more than its fair share of attention.
The new Mercedes-AMG GT S comes with a lot of sound and fury, which will attract more than its fair share of attention.ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN
The new Mercedes-AMG GT S comes with a lot of sound and fury, which will attract more than its fair share of attention.
The new Mercedes-AMG GT S comes with a lot of sound and fury, which will attract more than its fair share of attention.ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN

The Mercedes-AMG GT S announces its arrival with a roar

If music be the food of love, play on; give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.

Shakespeare may have been talking about how too much of a good thing might just be the cure for love sickness, but his sentiment would resonate with someone behind the wheel of the new Mercedes-AMG GT S.

The car is a lovely piece of automotive art: plenty of curves and all in the right places, a long snout that seems to go on forever when viewed from the helm and wheel arches that rise up to almost the car's shoulders.

A first-class cabin greets you when you open the door. You will find finely stitched leather lining the two seats and cockpit, a generous splash of chrome on the fascia and a centre console with a symmetrical display of dynamic controls flanking a main rotary that deals with the car's infotainment system.

Behind that multi-function rotary is a club-shaped gear lever. You may have noticed that the size of this appendage is always inversely proportionate to the power of a sports car. And the AMG GT S' lever is really tiny.

With 510bhp and 650Nm available from a 4-litre bi-turbo V8 mounted just behind the front axle, the car is pure adrenaline. It catapults to 100kmh in 3.8 seconds and on to a top velocity of 310kmh - putting it in the approximate vicinity of thoroughbred racers such as the Ferrari 458, Lamborghini Huracan and Porsche 911 Turbo.

  • SPECS/MERCEDES-AMG GT S

  • Price: $690,888 with COE

    Engine: 3,982cc 32-valve bi-turbocharged V8

    Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with paddle shift

    Power: 510bhp at 6,250rpm

    Torque: 650Nm at 1,750-5,000rpm

    0-100kmh: 3.8 seconds

    Top speed: 310kmh

    Fuel consumption: 9.4 litres/ 100km

    Agent: Cycle & Carriage

In shape and price, the GT S is closest to the Porsche. Its temperament, however, is closer to that of the Italians - immensely rewarding if you have the guts and the distance, but wild, listless and hemmed in when you have neither.

Its trigger action throttle is often hard to live with, specifically when droopy-eyed progress and eye- popping acceleration are separated by less than two degrees of pedal travel.

This may be entertaining on an open stretch of tarmac that goes on and on. But in Singapore, it often gets a tad hairy and disruptive.

It does not help that the car appears so long and wide in the cockpit, with a relatively small glass area that makes visibility a bigger problem.

But here's the thing. The car's unwieldiness can be an attractive trait at the same time. Its element of surprise, its untamed disposition and its uncompromising stance with regards to speed remind you of the time when sports cars were not to be trifled with.

Then, there is the sound and fury. While often signifying nothing in the Singapore context, it makes you - and those around you - believe you are going like a bat out of hell. Even when you are merely making a trip to the supermarket.

Like a Harley-Davidson with hollowed-out tailpipes, the AMG roars, pops and crackles with ease and abandon. Especially when you push a button on the centre console that opens up the exhaust flaps.

And that is the music that compensates for the car's inability to give you the kind of response you expect and hanker after in the city. The booming aural assault is unrestrained and unmitigated, with a mad mash of wind and percussion notes that reach the very core of your soul.

It gets a bit much at times, such as the Maserati that makes like it is blasting off to the moon, but is actually merely keeping pace with the Corolla next to it.

In fact, the AMG GT S may be louder. So, if you want a car that announces to the world that you have arrived (literally and figuratively), this German juggernaut is more than a sound investment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'Aural delight'. Print Edition | Subscribe