A component at the front of the car also cut some weight while improving fit. AMG added a magnesium crossmember to the front end in place of several aluminum parts. This piece provides a mounting point for the headlights, front bumper, and other small parts. As a single piece, it provides an advantage for fit tolerances.
All told, the changes took about 66 pounds out of the body in white, and they had another benefit, too. "All these changes affect the character of the car in that the center of gravity becomes about 10 mil lower, which is a lot, and this gives us better driving performance," Wolleson noted.
All told, the GT lost 150 to 200 pounds compared to the SLS, depending o the model. The shorter length and smaller engine changed the weight balance slightly: from 46/54 rear biased in the SLS to a bit more neutral at 47/53 in the GT.
Less expensive, too
For the 2013 model year, the SLS AMG GT base model cost $202,505, including destination and gas-guzzler tax. While that car made 583 horsepower, you can get a 469-hp 2017 Mercedes-AMG GT for as little as $113,395 and the top-of-the-line 577-horse AMG GT R comes in at just $157,995.
Why the price difference?
Wolleson has the answer: "We had a lot of efforts in making the body in white itself easier to build--less welding, more riveting, more gluing, which is cheaper technology. We managed to get rid of the quite expensive structure for the gullwing doors. The gullwing doors are quite expensive. And all this leads to the cheaper price."
2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black SeriesEnlarge Photo
A better car for less money is a win-win
Sometimes a platform just doesn't work in its first iteration. While the SLS was an engaging car to drive, it did have its foibles. It seems what it needed was a shorter wheelbase and a bit less weight. To our backsides, the GT just feels better.
Wolleson provided his view of the changes in driving character: "The shortening of the wheelbase has got a big influence on the handling. We reduced the weight so it is a positive influence. This car is lighter, it's shorter, so all of this gives you more agility."
More agile for less money? That's evolution we can believe in.