If you were expecting a replacement for the almighty SLS AMG, you’ve come to the wrong place. According to Mercedes-Benz the GT – and its more expensive, more powerful and more desirable GT S (yes, they’ve done it again) sibling – is a new standalone, classical sports car. To me it’s more like when Robert Downey Jr did the Sherlock Holmes movies. Let me explain…

I spoke favourably of the new Mercedes-AMG C63 S in the August issue of the magazine (on shelf from Monday 20 July), so consider that as Iron Man. Downey Jr is a more refined version of himself and he shows us more of his acting range in Tropic Thunder later that year. Then he turns the dial up (to me, at least) in Sherlock Holmes.

The GT shares an engine (twin-turbocharged, 4-litre V8) and similar power figures with the C63, but comes in a lighter, more agile body that ditches the rear bench and swaps out the MCT (celebrated in the August issue of our magazine) for the DCT gearbox. Its feels like the accountants took over the AMG production floor and spliced an SLS with the volume selling C63, but it works so well.

It snarls and burps like a proper V8, accelerates like it’s running from a horde of zombies and possesses a prima ballerina’s balance and poise in the corners. Mac have also gone to great lengths to improve the launch control and quotes a 3,8 second 0-100km/h time, which translates to the car reaching 100km/h in a mere 52 metres. All this is achieved through a combination of magnesium alloy construction in the front end, a lower centre of gravity from some dry-sump mechanics and a deep massage of the DCT gearbox (it shifts quicker in the GT than in the SLS it’s sourced from).

You sit very low in this car and there’s no elegant way to exit it, but the visually arresting aesthetics will turn heads and probably cause a few comical pedestrian accidents. R1 642 000 will get you the GT with 340 kW and 600 N.m, while the 375 kW and 650 N.m GT S will set you back R1 981 000. You’ll want the S model because Merc should’ve just had the one model and the endless list of options.

The Mercedes-AMG GT is a standalone sports car that injects much-needed AMG madness into the classical sports car market.