2019 Mercedes-AMG GT C Roadster Review: Fast Banana


Verdict 6.3 / 10

The Mercedes-AMG GT C fills the barely noticeable gap between the angry GT R and the entry-level GT. Unique styling, a raucous V8, and in this case, a removable top give it track-worthy performance and style in spades.

But the AMG GT C Roadster suffers from its own set of problems. In key areas like comfort and technology, it falls behind newer competitors like the Porsche 911. While other sports car makers excel in all respects, not just performance, the AMG GT C Roadster – while still fun as hell – needs some refreshing to keep up with the times.

Design 8/10

The Mercedes-AMG GT C gets an above average score in the looks department, obviously. It’s unmistakable thanks to its the long, svelte hood, curvaceous lines, and short rear overhang, which attract the eye as only a two-door Mercedes can. That’s all the truer when you add a removable top, multi-spoke black wheels, and the appropriately named Solarbearm Yellow paint.

That said, this car isn’t stunning, at least not compared to the dearly departed SLS AMG. And yes, we know we’re in the minority here. Sure, the GT C is unique, and to onlookers, it’s a solid reason to stop us on the street and start asking questions. But something about its styling is off-putting: the Panamericana grille is cartoonish and imposing, the hood is almost too long, and the Merc has a bit of a stubby butt. With the top up, it’s all worse.

But the AMG GT C is still a Mercedes, and that means there’s a lovely interior. Handsome, soft leather pairs well with piano black trim and real aluminum accents to make this high-powered cabrio feel warm and welcoming. It’s a very nice place to spend time, even if the layout of the aging infotainment system compromises the overall beauty of this cabin.

Comfort 5/10

Don’t let the AMG GT C’s so-called “Comfort” mode (one of five driving modes) fool you – this car is the antithesis of comfort. The chassis is back-breakingly stiff, and the thick, low-profile tires on massive 20-inch wheels only make the ride rougher. The seats themselves are pretty nice (snug, high-quality leather buckets), but they don’t do anything to help cushion your butt from the stiff suspension.

The AMG GT C also suffers from storage issues, as do most two-door convertibles. Trunk space with the top up is a tiny 10.1 cubic feet, although that’s more than enough to dispatch its primary challengers, which place the engine amidships and rely on tiny frunks. The Audi R8 Spyder has just 4.0 cubic feet of cargo space for crying out loud.

Technology & Connectivity 6/10

The outgoing Mercedes COMAND infotainment system is still a fine setup, though the newer MBUX system is superior. That said, the GT C’s 8.4-inch tablet-style infotainment screen displays crisp, clean graphics. The control dial and touchpad are pretty straightforward. But it’s the features – or rather, lack thereof – that hold this system back.

For one, there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity – at all. You get that with MBUX, and sort of expect it in every car on sale today, especially ones this pricey. Also, COMAND’s usability is confusing; it takes digging through multiple screens to find desired settings. Five years ago, this was a good setup, but now it feels outdated, especially when most new Mercedes’s have the far superior MBUX. Thankfully, the 2020 update includes all the new tech.

Performance & Handling 9/10

In search of a sports car with ridiculously quick steering, scalpel-sharp handling, and a riotous twin-turbocharged engine? Look no further. The Mercedes-AMG GT C excels in all aspects of performance and handling.

In a straight line, the AMG GT C is a rocket ship. Pop it into Sport+ and the twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V8 will send power to the super sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires in a hurry. All 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque arrive at a moment’s notice.

On the twisty stuff, the AMG GT C carves up corners like a go-kart, despite its relatively large footprint. The steering is lightweight and exceptionally quick, but just hefty enough to provide perfect feedback from the road. And when you need to stop, it has the stopping power of a .44 Magnum – the standard AMG high-performance brakes are immensely powerful.

Safety 6/10

The AMG GT C Roadster comes with all the safety equipment you’d expect at this price point. Things like pre-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot assist, lane-keep assist, parking sensors, automatic high-beam headlights, and a wide-angle parking camera are all standard. But the lone safety option is a pricey one: Active Distance Assist – essentially Mercedes’s version of adaptive cruise control – is $2,250.

All of these safety systems are extremely helpful and proactive in most situations, particularly with the AMG GT C’s many blind spots, but overly sensitive at times. Encounter a tall bush or an approaching curb and the system gives off a warning.

Unsurprisingly for a pricey performance model, neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have had the chance to slap an AMG GT C into a barrier.

Fuel Economy 3/10

Even in its class, the Mercedes-AMG GT C doesn’t have great fuel economy. At 15 miles per gallon city, 21 highway, and 17 combined, the AMG GT C’s fuel economy falls short to cars like the McLaren 570S (16/23/19), Corvette Z06 (15/22/18), and Porsche 911 Turbo (19/21/24). And naturally, this thirsty V8 requires premium fuel only.

Pricing 7/10

No, the AMG GT C Roadster isn’t cheap – $158,850 to start is definitely pricey. But compare it to other cars in the class and its six-figure starting price is easier to swallow. The Audi R8 Spyder ($177,100), the aforementioned 570S Spider ($208,000), and the current version of the Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet ($174,100) are more expensive. The Corvette Z06 Convertible ($85,400) and Jaguar F-Type SVR Convertible ($121,900) are cheaper, although they arguably lack the presence of the AMG GT C and would likely only qualify as secondary competitors to the R8, 570S Spider, and 911 Turbo Cabrio.

Our tester, meanwhile, topped out at $179,515. More expensive options like the Active Distance Assist ($2,250), 20-inch AMG wheels ($1,700), an interior ($800) and exterior ($750) Night Package, heated front seats ($950), and a handful of other lesser options, all hike the price, but not egregiously so.

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