My Car Quest

April 21, 2024

Design Analysis: Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

A muscle convertible from the Three Pointed Star.

by Wallace Wyss –

Whereas once a Mercedes 300SL Roadster drew all the looks away from other foreign cars, in recent years there haven’t been Mercedes roadsters that were as daring as that car in its time. Until now. I can’t say I like the droptop version of AMG’s front-engine GT R supercar until I drive it (I think Mercedes has lost my address when it comes to previews) but I can say that while at a Malibu cars ‘n coffee the one new roadster was drawing attention away from all the mid-engine rivals except a La Ferrari in pearl white.

The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R roadster has an exotic twin-turbo V-8 but it’s up front. It’s got retro proportions, a long-hood and short-deck proportions. True it was barely noticed as a coupe, but this open version draws attention. Still to come is the AMG One—a Formula 1-engined, plug-in hybrid with a claimed top speed of 217 mph.

Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

This car attracts all the attention from the GT R coupe which has been around since 2018. The ragtop is limited to just 750 units worldwide,and is very pricey–$26,850 more than the $164,895 GT R coupe.

The coupe and roadster both are powered by the same twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Other features are adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering, electronically controlled limited-slip differential, and active aerodynamic addenda.

The 4.0-liter R model produces 577 horsepower at 6250 rpm—108 more horses than the standard GT and 17 more than the GT C model. It is Mercedes’s most powerful two-seat convertible. The GT R’s 516 pound-feet—is available from 2100 to 5500 rpm. Wheels are 2.2 inches wider over other GTs, shod with massive Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer performance tires, sized 275/35R-19 up front and 325/30R-20 in the back.

One magazine reported it had wheel spin if floored from a dead stop but apparently given the space it could reach its claimed 198 mph. Alas Mercedes doesn’t offer a racer like GT R Pro setup on the roadster. Even with carbon fiber here and there, it tips the scales at about 3750 pounds, only 50 pounds less than a GT C roadster.

FRONT I know, they wanted to recall the front of the 1951-’53 300SL racing cars. The ones that raced at Berne, Le Mans, etc. But I saw that model doesn’t stick in people’s memories so they reached back too far. The headlights are following everyone else, not blinded into the contours as nicely as in the ’57 roadsters Euro laps. The two hood blisters do bring back pleasant memories of the mass produced 300SL coupes and roadsters. This nostalgia thing can go too far.

THE SIDE A nice pleasing shape, with the traditional sport car long hood,short rear deck proportions. The tapered tail and even the taillights are a lot like a Lexus coupe of a decade or more ago, pleasant but not trend setting.

Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

Richard Bartholomew captured this side shot, the best view of the car by far, because it shows how long the front “half” really is. Note 20-30 deg. slope of rear deck, without which it wouldn’t have as dramatic a side profile. Also the side vent is functional, not just for looks–shades of the ’54-57 Gullwing and later 300SL roadster.

THE REAR The rear spoiler looks tacky like a budget muscle car from Detroit long ago where I would expect a note sophisticated one that electronically extends from the rear when needed like the Crossfire first gen. The exhaust pipes are nestled in little coves nicely and thankfully they don’t have a lot of other junks at the back, pseudo race car like. It’s amazing they don’t need every aero aid they could get with a top speed like they have.

Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster

IN SUM It is nice to see a Mercedes roadster “reclaiming” the street again. The Mercedes cabriolets was getting too namby-pamby for a company with all that racing history. Detroit has the Corvette but that’s too overdone with gadgets, sharp angles, and enough character lines for half a dozen cars. This Mercedes is a more plain and simple statement.

Can’t talk bout the interior, didn’t see it, or how it performs. I’ll see if I can get in the waiting list for a test car. It could be a long wait…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss has lectured on design at the Art center College of Design. He is presently writing an anthology of short stories set in the car world.


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Design Analysis: Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster
Article Name
Design Analysis: Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R roadster has an exotic twin-turbo V-8 up front. It's got retro proportions, a long-hood and short-deck proportions. True it was barely noticed as a coupe, but this open version draws attention.

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