Mercedes-Benz has opened up its most exclusive model to a wider audience for 2018 with the addition of a roadster version of the AMG GT.
It's a move that solidifies Mercedes's participation in a vehicle class where the Audi R8, Porsche 911 Turbo and Nissan GT-R are better-known players. But Benz has a decent amount of experience building Grand Touring two-doors that can handle themselves on a racetrack, something you might already have guessed based on this car's imposing looks and gorgeous curves.
With its folding soft top in place, the GT roadster actually looks more like a coupe than its GT Coupe sibling, which wears more of a fastback look and sports a hatchback cargo opening. Otherwise, the roadster is mechanically identical, being based on the same chassis (with some structural upgrades in place of the fixed roof) and using the same 4.0L turbocharged V8, rear-wheel drive layout and seven-speed automatic transmission.
The structural upgrades required to turn a coupe into a convertible always add weight, but Mercedes worked hard to keep the extra heft to a minimum. Besides a folding top optimized for lightweight-ness, the GT roadster also boasts additional use of aluminum in the car's suspension and a trunklid structure made from plastic and carbon fibre.
Still, at 1,735 kg, the convertible is a good 40 kg heavier than the GT C Coupe, but that's not enough to cut notably into the car's performance: Top speed falls by 1 km/h to 316, but the convertible still launches from 0-100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds.
All the roadster misses out on is the coupe's R variant, which boasts a more potent engine (577 hp/516 lb-ft) that cuts 0.1 second off the car's acceleration time and adds one km/h to its top speed.
The GT is a serious sports car and comes with some of Mercedes's best performance bits, like big brakes, electronic limited slip rear differential, rear-wheel steering and a race mode for its powertrain customization system. It also gets staggered wheels measuring 19 inches up front and 20 out back.
It's not all about all-out performance here, however. The GT gets heated leather seats, a panoramic sunroof and automatic climate control as standard, plus blind spot assist, a backup camera and parking assist.
The R Coupe takes lightweighting even more seriously, changing out the aluminum torque tube surrounding the driveshaft to carbon fibre and ditching the lesser C coupe's sunroof for a carbon fibre lid. If that's not enough, two option packages let the buyer turn various exterior bits into that exotic material.
Fuel consumption estimates are 14.5/10.8 L/100 km (city/highway).