pcoty 2022
DW Burnett

What I loved most about R&T’s Performance Car of the Year testing was that the nine vehicles we thrashed ranged from over $350K to $31K, and we could celebrate all of them. The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series was my personal favorite and, while it is mighty un-cheap, it wasn’t the most expensive either. Third in that order, actually ($335K as tested). What did I love about it? Climb in and let’s take a hot lap.

INTERIOR

Taste is subjective. But to me, Mercedes-Benz makes the best car interiors in the world. I found myself savoring the AMG GT Black Series’ interior at the strangest of moments. As in, while hammering down the straightaway of the Monticello Motor Club’s 1.9-mile North Course topping 120-mph. Look at those air-conditioning vents! They resemble jet engines. The door handles, the center console. So refined! This car’s interior combined the best of the two genomes that make up the DNA of this magazine: road and track. Elegance and sophistication meets focus and functionality, all of it put together to make the driver feel uber-comfortable while hammering the throttle, either to work or into turn two.

2022 pcoty
DW Burnett

You can control so much directly from the steering wheel. Touch screens are in vogue. In some cases, the entire dash has become a touch screen. This car offers the opportunity to control so much while keeping your hands where you want them. Throttle map, transmission response, even the engine noise, all of it you can tweak without taking your hands off the wheel. Throughout the rest of the car, no detail has escaped the eye of the designer. The stitching in the seats, the shaping of the manumatic shifter—everything screams style, sophistication, comfort.

PERFORMANCE

How much have the times changed? Consider that of the nine PCOTY cars in this year’s trials, four of them could produce well over 600 horsepower. Mankind’s defining ambition is to harness power, so you have to admit we’ve come a long way. Of all the cars we pit against each other, the MB-AMG GT Black Series had the most brute power by far—720 thoroughbreds. More than the Porsche 911 GT3. More than the Lamborgthini Huracan STO. And the MB still weighed in at fewer pounds than half the other vehicles we tested. How much fun is it to hurl this thing around a racetrack? It’s a car you can jump in and, having never driven it, put serious speed to the pavement right off without terrifying yourself.

2022 pcoty
DW Burnett

Here’s some more numbers: 4.0-liter V-8, 590 lb-ft., 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, 3,616 pounds. Tons of low-end torque and huge discs translate to bliss on a track with lots of corning. Slow in, fast out. Put all that together and you can surmise why the AMG turned a lap 2.27 seconds faster than the latest iteration of Porsche’s 911 GT3. In racing terms, you can grow a beard in that amount of time.

2022 pcoty
DW Burnett

Sure, the AMG GT Black Series was the only car that arrived at our track trials with a team of mechanics with a van full of tools and tire warmers. But if you’re spending this kind of bread, that’s to be expected.

EXTERIOR STYLING

Nobody could argue that it wouldn’t be a delight and even a lifetime’s goal to have a GT3 in your garage. At the same time, the 911 (first debuted in 1963) has become over the decades such a familiar shape, something we see on roads most every day. What makes it so distinct is also what makes it so familiar. In comparison, the AMG GT is unlike anything else on the road. While driving around upstate New York, it was a magnet for pedestrian eyes. You could tell who the gearheads were on the sidewalks, because their heads became laser beams and you could hear their inner dialog from yards away, even with the windows rolled up. WTF is that?!

2022 pcoty
DW Burnett

Yes, this car subscribes to the age-old tradition of classic sports car styling—long hood, short rear deck—a la the Ferrari 250 GTO, generations of the Nissan Zs, and the latest versions of the Toyota GR86 and Subaru BRZ, among countless others. And yet, it looks nothing like any of those cars. The more you look at it—with that huge rear wing and front splitter (both, by the way, fully adjustable for added racetrack badassery)—the cooler it looks.

Among the cars we tested, there were plenty of triumphs. Even the latest VW GTI is a blast to drive and a joy to behold. But the Black Series is the one I want in my garage.

2022 pcoty
DW Burnett