Mercedes-AMG Starts 2020 With 800 Horsepower

AMG
cars with big numbers on the boot are always a reason to look forward to the
new year. To enter the new decade, the Mercedes sub-brand
from Affalterbach is pulling out one heckuva big number. Seventy-three, to
be exact. 

Like
the jersey of a world-class athlete, that number has been retired since the
ultra low-production SL73 AMG stopped production in 2001. Back then,
“73” referred to 7.3 liters of V12 power. The new GT might not have
12 cylinders, but with a 275-horsepower advantage on its predecessor, we don’t
expect anyone to bat an eye.

Evolution of the Four-Door GT

A
derivation of the shapely coupe developed to contend with the Porsche 911, the
AMG GT has only been available in four-door guise for about a year now. The
addition of the range-topping 73 model will unquestionably push competitors
from Germany and elsewhere to deliver the goods in the executive express
category if they can. 

Reports
from the Geneva Motor Show describe the new AMG using
a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 coupled with an electric motor that drives the
car’s front axle for a combined output of 805 horsepower. While it hasn’t
actually rolled onto any motor show booths just yet, the car can be seen and
heard making a rapid departure in the short film AMG presented as a thank you
to employees. 

Thanks
to all-wheel-drive, which is becoming the standard layout for all AMG models,
the GT73 should have the ability to lay the power down like a scalded Teutonic
cat. The 0-60 estimates are in the low two-second range. Purists, we know
you’re out there, but you’d have to be loony to think there’s any chance of a
stick shift variant. Frankly, we’re not sure you could think quickly enough to
shift it.

Picking a Fight With Porsche

If
those figures are correct, the AMG would be a viable competitor to Porsche’s new
Taycan EV. Except that with its internal-combustion V8, the AMG would enjoy a
significantly longer range than the giant-killing new Porsche. With
well-specced Taycans approaching $200k, the AMG’s six-figure price tag wouldn’t
be a hindrance either. It could very realistically be the cheaper car in many
scenarios.

Porsche’s
Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is the closest Porsche to the AMG in terms of layout,
but it lags behind the new car in horsepower, torque and 0-60 time, where only the Taycan
can challenge

the GT’s expected low two-second sprint time.

As
for other rival marques, BMW and Audi don’t currently show signs of introducing
anything that can threaten the nearly 1,000-horsepower Merc. For those with
American taste, the Charger Hellcat presents an interesting if significantly
less opulent package — without the complexity and
maintenance costs
of high-tech hybrid features and pricey Mercedes repair bills.

Not the Only ’73

If
you’re not convinced that the four-door coupe is the best place for your nearly
$200,000, Mercedes-AMG has thought of that too. The AMG-GT isn’t the only
nameplate that has been registered for. In fact, there might be as many as
three additional models equipped with the AMG’s hybrid layout from what we know
at the time of writing: the G, GLS, S and SL models.

Though
the AMG’s stablemates are exciting, it’s still the four-door AMG GT that will
have enthusiast pulses racing. G- and GLS-class Mercedes are large, heavy SUVs
that will no doubt take highway cruising to new extremes when imbued with 805
hybridized horsepower, and the traditional S-class follows a similar philosophy
in an old-timey luxury sedan format. The SL has stopped production and has a
questionable future.

The
AMG GT, however, is a working man’s performance car. It’s able to usher four
adults to a business function effortlessly at triple-digit speeds (on the
autobahn, of course) and also surprise you with its dance moves when you take
the twisty backroads home. 

The Legacy of ’73 Continues

No
one could have guessed that in a world where engine sizes continue shrinking,
AMG would revive the 73 moniker. SL73 AMG owners have even had to be on the
lookout for Horacio Pagani, who’s been transplanting the
V12
from
those cars into his Zonda hypercars because AMG doesn’t build the engine any
longer. But now the nameplate will carry on as an AMG icon.

There
have even been rumors that the new hybrid powertrain could find its way into a
modernized rendition of the Mercedes-Mclaren SLR. A halo car made using this
astounding powertrain would truly be something to see, but while the SLR was an
impressive car, it never gained much following among collectors. The pseudo-F1
styling might be to blame for that.

Enthusiasts
have often feared that technology would lead to boring cars, but those who are
paying attention know that the pendulum swings both ways. The same technology
that can make cars less engaging and ultra-efficient can make them ultra-potent
and otherworldy quick. What we have here is an example of the latter. Don’t let
anyone tell you it’s a bad time to be a car enthusiast.

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