So many things now are designed to perform multiple tasks. My phone doubles as a GPS and a music player, while my headphones double as a tool to ward off strangers while walking to work.
Cars are the same — including the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S.
From the outside it carries the poise and elegance of a sports car — a svelte and classic silhouette balanced by sharp creases and muscular details once you sight it in the metal.
But step inside, and you swim in luxury car tropes.
You sit low; something emphasised by the all-cocooning centre console. And the design manages to present a full repertoire of technology — from the distronic plus autonomous cruise control to the plethora of other adjustable settings and drive modes — without looking even remotely cluttered.
Things change again once you’ve plucked the courage to prod the start button.
“The car is in track mode, and the exhaust is on its loudest setting,” driver trainer and Australian GT ace Dominic Storey says from the passenger seat — forced to crane his voice a smidge just to try to out-shout the four-litre bi-turbo V8 engine.
It screams a hell of a song, a song most supercars would be proud of. And even as we sit idling in the soaking wet pit-lane of Hampton Downs, it feels savage. Like I’m Major TJ Kong and this diamond white AMG is the nuclear bomb I ride to oblivion.
It’s a scary proposition; being given the keys to something so brilliantly destructive, then being asked to put the foot down for 15 minutes in the rain. Fellow driver trainer Peter Hackett was quick to mention in our pre-session briefing that we won’t be setting any lap records today.
He uttered those words while looking at me. ‘What did he know?’ I wondered — failing to register that I had arrived in a hoodie and cap. A rookie error.
But I needn’t have worried, as even in the rain the GT S felt confident and assured. Storey’s words of wisdom were brief ; but most likely out of fear rather than any acknowledgement of ability.
Admittedly, I was taking things relatively easy, more than conscious of the fact that I was behind the wheel of a $275,000 rear-wheel drive V8 on a track surface that resembled a river.
That didn’t stop me, however from kicking the tail out at the final corner, sending Storey’s arm across the cabin and towards the steering wheel faster than you can say “throttle modulation”. Thankfully for AMG and more importantly my own ego, I caught it — though I credit that to the car and its attentive underbelly.
There’s a fear that cars like the GT S, which try to establish themselves as all things to all people, can become sanitised — Jacks of every trade and masters of few.