Watch your back, Porsche, you’re about to get a challenge from your cross-town rival, Mercedes-Benz.
Hours before the official opening of the 2014 New York Auto Show, Mercedes offered small group of reporters and dealers a brief tease of the all-new sports car it plans to launch later this year. And a top executive confirmed that the new Mercedes-Benz GT will take direct aim at the segment’s benchmark, the Porsche 911.
For the moment, there aren’t many details to go on. Mercedes offered up only a basic sketch of the exterior shape, along with some close-ups of the new GT’s interior, all done up in a seductive red leather.
But Steve Cannon, the CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, later told TheDetroitBureau.com, “We’re going into space the Porsche 911 has had all to itself for all these years.”
That appears to mean the Mercedes GT likely will drop in price from the outgoing SLS supercar just finishing its run. That 2-seater started at $200,000, though special versions were significantly more expensive. The current Porsche 911 starts at just over $84,000, though the line tops out at more than double that figure.
The surprise unveiling of the GT followed the first public showing of the new Mercedes S63 AMG Coupe, which Mercedes AMG CEO Tobias Moers described as “the ultimate halo car.” The new GT could push aside the S63, however.
(For more on the new Mercedes S63 Coupe, Click Here.)
Showing a brief video of the sports car’s interior, Moers said that “The extra low seating position and high belt line make you feel like you’re part of the machine.”
The GT’s cabin is no spartan affair, finished off in red leather and chrome, with a level of refinement that appears to rival some of Mercedes’ most expensive sedans and coupes. There’s actually a hint of Porsche in the interior design, with all key vehicle controls clustered around the center console, “arranged like cylinders in a V-8 engine,” suggested Moers.
That less-than-casual reference might just suggest that the new Mercedes-Benz GT will be powered by one of the maker’s big V-8s. The bi-turbo version under the hood of the S63 AMG makes a neck snapping 577 horsepower, while the current SL63 AMG roadster gets 530 hp out of its 5.5-liter biturbo V-8.
(Porsche set to debut new GTS models in Beijing. Click Here for a closer look.)
One thing seems certain, the new Mercedes-Benz GT should be among the fastest vehicles the maker has ever produced, with the handling to match.
The target buyer, said Moers, is a person “who has fuel running in their veins.”
An official introduction is set for September, which would suggest the world will get a better look at the Mercedes-Benz GT at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
(Mercedes Concept Coupe also coming to Beijing. Click Here for a sneak peek.)