The Mercedes-AMG GT coupe heralds a new design language for the brand with the three-pointed star
Design Coup The most novel aspect of the new gt has to be its styling, which is the first manifestation of Mercedes-Benz's 'sensual purity' design philosophy on a production car

THERE are no gull-wing doors but then, Mercedes-Benz says the new AMG GT isn't meant to be a replacement for the SLS. The SLS is a super sports car, while the Mercedes-AMG GT, to quote its full name, is a foray into a new segment, one with cars like Jaguar F-Type, Audi R8 and most importantly, the Porsche 911 Carrera S. In entering this niche, the brand with the three-pointed star is doing so with a more clearly defined identity for its high-performance division. Where once this new model's nameplate would have read "Mercedes-Benz GT AMG", the nomenclature is now simply Mercedes-AMG GT.

Also new is the 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine, developed for improved efficiency and emission levels. Its race-inspired dry sump engine is tuned for  462 hp in the GT and 510 hp in the GT S. But clearly, the most novel aspect of the new GT has to be its styling, which is the first manifestation of Mercedes-Benz's "sensual purity" design philosophy on a production car.

While the SLS has more "geometric" or "theoretical" styling, the GT gets lighter, more sculpted styling where "every surface flows into the next", according to exterior designer Mark Fetherston.

Its proportions and details are key. So the front overhang is reduced and the roofline faster to make the GT more compact than the SLS and give it a grand tourer character. The roof is neatly integrated into the design with a strong rear end that has muscle, but still conveys lightness with its darker rear apron and slim tail lamps - the slimmest for a Merc so far.

But while the AMG GT's pretty rear end is distinctive, Mr Fetherston says his favourite part of the car is the front end, with its three-dimensional grille set into the one-piece bumper as if it's permanently primed for a soft open-mouth kiss. Calling the GT "a cohesive design of a focused performance car", he says it looks very close to the original design model in an era where the character of a concept can easily get diluted as it passes through numerous layers of vetting.

"It is every designer's dream to see the car driving on the road that resembles his sketch."

For Mercedes though, the AMG GT's timeless styling is a design coup.