The new Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT

Posted: June 7, 2012 by The Car Spy in General, Mercedes Benz, New Cars
Tags: , , ,

Many years ago you often used to hear the term ‘GT’ banded around to describe cars that were pretty damn quick in their day and were strictly speaking ‘Grand Tourers’ or ‘Gran Turismo’ type cars. Ferrari (of course) threw in the odd complementary ‘O’ or ‘Am’ to further describe a type of car that was built built for a purpose hence the 250 GTO for instance – the ‘O’ standing for ‘Omologato’. It all used to make perfect sense.

Then along came Ford.

In the UK it was probably the Cortina that kicked off Ford’s propensity to stick a GT badge on anything that had (slightly) wider wheels and mildly tuned suspension settings. Ford were up there with Coca Cola when it came to brilliant marketing ideas. They brought the glamour of the racing past to the man in the street with 2.2 kids with two letters of the alphabet and it worked a treat.

Along with the Cortina GT came the Anglia GT, Corsair GT, Classic GT, Consul GT accompanied by the Capri which not only had a GT badged version but you could add a bit of flavouring and get a GT XL or even a GT XLR – there must have been a time when the Ford marketing bods’ heads all exploded at once when they ran out of letters to play with.

To be fair to Ford though they did create the marvellously understated ‘Ford GT40’ which pretty much smashed the competition into oblivion (including Ferrari and Porsche) when it hit the tracks in the mid 60’s – still a devilishly handsome car today too. When the modern-day Ford GT was created it was almost as though the company was claiming back some historical rights to the use of the ‘GT’ label.

However, come the end of the 70’s the GT was no more at Ford and they turned their attention to the letters X and R which were just waiting to be molested by Joe in Marketing. The XR3i was born and leashed upon the world a series of XR-labelled cars from Ford for a another decade or so thereafter.

At the same time that Ford made their move away from the very two letters that it most closely associated its cars with VW decided that G and T just needed a little help in the form of a small letter ‘i’. The rest is history as they say.

Today ‘GT’ seems to be re-establishing itself in the way that it was meant to be used which is all very quaint and retrospective. A Bentley GT just sounds so right – if you had never seen the car you would know that it was a car that could could gobble up long distances at a fair rate of licks.

Therefore maybe the SLS should have had a GT badge on it from the very beginning since it might be a better suited Grand Tourer than a street racer to compete with the likes of the GT3 from Porsche. Yes there is an SLS GT3 but you can’t buy that from your local Benz dealer.

The GT credentials are there. The SLS has the long, pointy nose of those glamorous 1950’s and 1960’s GT’s and with its big, grunty lump of an engine it feels like it could sprint to the Moon and back without pausing for breath.

Nonetheless Mercedes has found it necessary to introduce a ‘GT’ version of the SLS anyway. Big headlines are 591hp power output which is well up from the 563hp of the ‘standard’ car, redeveloped suspension and re-worked transmission. Lots of carbon fibre appendages will justify the (inevitable) higher price when it is eventually in October this year.

The GT is dead, long live the GT!

For further details of the SLS AMG GT contact The Car Spy on 01732 760699 or email

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