2019 Mercedes-AMG GT S Roadster: The 515-horsepower Middle Child

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
2019 mercedes amg gt s roadster the 515 horsepower middle child

The traditional birth order for children goes from oldest to youngest and biggest to smallest. But cars are a little different. If the market allows for it, you can slot in a middle child almost anywhere you like. Formerly a two-trimmed affair, the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster is following the hardtop’s lead by expanding its ranks to include a middle-weight bruiser.

For the 2019 model year, AMG Roadsters will now come in a GT S trim. Better than the base unit, but not quite as impressive as its bigger brother, the formula for the mid-level trim is identical to the coupe variant that shares its name — just with an infinite amount of headroom.

The AMG GT and AMG GT C boast 469 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque, and 550 hp and 502 lb-ft, respectively. Slotting itself between them, the AMG GT S uses the same 4.0-liter biturbo V8 to produce 515 hp and 494 lb-ft. The combination is good for an 0-to-60 time of 3.7 seconds (estimated) and a top speed of 192 mph — splitting the difference between its siblings once more. That’s the predominant theme with the GT S. You’re getting more just about everywhere, but not so much to negate the GT C’s existence.

However, it’s closer than you might think. The GT S Roadster comes standard with AMG’s sports suspension with adaptive damping system, an electronically controlled limited slip on the rear axle, and variable performance exhaust — items which the base model lacks but come standard on the fancier GT C.

The two models also share multiple programable drive modes, including the “Race” setting that’s unavailable on the lower trim. But it lacks things like rear-wheel steering and has an interior with slightly less leather upholstery as standard. You can, of course, choose to upgrade.

An AMG high-performance composite brake system is obligatory. The front axle features composite discs measuring 15.4 x 1.42 inches, with six-piston fixed calipers, and 14.2 x 1.02 inch single-piston units at the rear. Mercedes will allow you to upgrade them to oversized high-performance ceramics, but we say pass unless you’re a track day junkie.

Standard wheels measure 19 inches up front and 20 in the back and come in a 10-spoke design. However, numerous designs are available for purchase. That might not be a bad investment either, because all three of the roadsters look practically identical. There are a handful of subtle tells, though.

Unlike the base model, the GT S comes with added chrome on the air inlet fins inside of the front bumper. There is also a little bit around the rear diffuser and front splitter. The red calipers are another giveaway. However, that doesn’t help much when trying to differentiate the mid-trim AMG from the GT C Roadster. All you can really do is hunt for more chrome around the lower portions of the bodywork.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet but the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT S Roadster has to be slotted in-between $124,400 and $157,000. We expect it to follow the coupe’s lead and be on the higher end of that spectrum, too.

[Images: Daimler AG]

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  • Bobmaxed Bobmaxed on May 15, 2018

    I agree 100% with Compaq Deskpro UGLY!

  • RHD RHD on May 16, 2018

    It could be better looking, for sure. Mercedes should look at its past roadsters to see what classic proportions and lines are. This looks like Hyundai had a say in its styling. I would prefer driving this over any other Benz, though. You couldn't actually drive it comfortably, though, unless you had a very expensive comprehensive insurance policy. Is it 4 times better than a Miata? Um, no. It just seems to scream "The guy driving this car is making an outrageous lease payment!" Around my town cars like this are only driven by status-competitive East Indians, and maybe an unmarried dentist or two.

  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
  • Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
  • ToolGuy No War for Oli.If you have not ever held a piece of structural honeycomb (composite sandwich) in your own hands, try it.
  • ToolGuy You make them sound like criminals.
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