The reign of concept sports cars began after the turn of the twentieth century, when engineering and styling were tested on race tracks and marathon road races. Ferdinand Porsche, Karl Benz, and later Enzo Ferrari, among others, tested their engineering theories on efficient use of space combined with high performance. Now it has evolved into a newer, faster, and better designs like the GT3, which remains to be the best example of what the modern sports car industry can offer to driving enthusiasts.
Porsche 911 GT3
The Porsche 911 GT3 and its brother car, GT3 RS, are favorites among those seeking a proper track car that can double as an occasional daily driver. A little warning, though: these cars are certainly not for the faint-hearted.
Mercedes-AMG GT S
On one hand, over the years, plenty of other manufacturers have tried to steal the Stuttgart brand’s thunder, but all have failed to do so. But not until Mercedes released its newest concept car—the Mercedes-AMG GT S.
The replacement of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG was announced after it went out of production. The newest sports car that replaced the Mercedes-Benz is the GT S, a car based on a modified SLS platform but more focused on driving dynamics rather than being an outright Grand Tourer, which was the SLS’s real forte.
But of course, if you want a genuine sports car, you have a line of choices to pick a favorite from—if you have about $300,000 in your pocket. But until Aston Martin releases a Vantage substitute or until the latest Audi R8 hits the road, Porsche’s 911 GT3 and Mercedes’s GT S shall be your best choices.
Performance on the Road
When the two cars were first revealed, they both cost about $300,000. The Mercedes-AMG GT S is priced at $294,610 (but with $56,900 worth of options), and the Porsche GT3 comes at $293,600 (plus $19,890 worth of options).
If you look at them from the outside, you could guess as to which looks more expensive. The SLS attracts you with its gull wing doors, which majestically sweep open, with a spaceship depressurization sound for added effects.
On the other hand, the GT S is the more convenient car. It possesses the same characteristics as that of a long bonnet, and with a deep, low cabin that helps bring its ideal weight distribution to fruition.
The Porsche 911 GT3 looks like a 911 with a bigger wing.
You can easily get in and out of the Mercedes-AMG GT S. It’s an easier car to live with as a daily driver. It also has basic boxes for rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.
The GT3 is not that fun to drive around in heavy traffic. You can tell that it hates it. It can jerk at times from constant low speed and acceleration; and if there’s even a small hint of rain, it becomes somewhat daunting.
The GT S in comfort mode becomes like a plush C-Class with a semi-mute V8 burble. You can have a cup of tea in it, and no one would look twice.
If you’re planning to buy a GT3, you should learn how to park it. Its huge wing, limited rear visibility, and no parking sensors make it very difficult to park. Considering how good it is as a track car, it doesn’t make sense how comfortable it can be on the road. This car is likely to misbehave on a poor road and is annoyingly road compliant.
An average driver could never extract the true performance from either of these cars. They both offer the levels of speed and agility that require a professional racing driver’s finesse to fully understand and then exploit.
So from an average driver’s perspective, the Mercedes is the easier of the two to drive fast. It flies with an exhaust note that will leave even the biggest Porsche fan in awe.
Its power-steering system feels overly assisted, and the sensation of speed is generally masked by the car’s extreme composure. The additional 210Nm of torque from the V8 helps the AMG exploit its speed on the straights.
It feels like you’re playing a video game when you’re on the wheels, and stepping on the brakes feels as though they could last an entire Le Mans endurance race, having done over twenty-five fast laps. The brakes have a $17,500 carbon ceramic, which makes it easy to drive.
While you will find yourself far more comfortable initially with the GT S than the GT3, each passing lap finds you getting faster in the GT3. You’ll begin to plateau in the Mercedes-AMG and begin to rely on later braking points rather than carrying more speed into a corner at the right angle.
You will soon deem driving the GT S more convenient, but you’ll also notice that the GT3 runs faster with every lap you finish. The Porsche 911 GT3 has a roughly 200 kg weight advantage (1420 kg) over the Mercedes-AMG; so while it lacks a bit of torque, it makes up for it in weight.
One of the most breathtaking experiences one can have in a road car is driving the Porsche 911 GT3 at full speed. After plenty of warm-up laps, the team did five hot laps with the same driver in each car, trying to set the fastest time. While the Porsche felt genuinely faster from behind the wheel, in the end, the GT S beat the GT3 by about half a second, with both cars using exactly the same tires.
The GT S may be faster than the GT3 when it comes to speed, but if you ask which is more enjoyable to drive on a track, the Porsche is the solid winner.
Cabin and Interior
The interior of the Porsche looks a bit old-school compared to the Merc.
The Porsche has plenty of buttons, each performing a single function.
The harness attached to the seats makes going fast more fun. Given there’s no movement in the seat, you feel more comfortable pushing harder.
The GT S’s seats are a little wider and more forgiving for larger folks.
Power and Engine
The GT S uses a front mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, with the engine placed inside the vehicle’s wheelbase. The space frame chassis and body are made out of aluminum alloys, while the boot lid is steel, and the engine bonnet from magnesium. The suspensions are double wishbones, front and rear, with forged aluminum wishbones and hub carriers.
The 911 GT3 features a 4-liter flat-six engine (the largest engine offered in a street-legal 911). The engine itself uses the crankshaft from the RSR, paired with increased stroke dimensions that increased the power to 368 kW at 8250 RPM and 460 nm of torque at 5750 RPM. Chassis development has been influenced by the GT2 RS and uses parts from other RS 911s.
The Mercedes is more likely to impress at a drift meet than the rear-engined GT3. The Merc will hit 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds, while the GT3 manages that in 3.5 seconds.
The GT S beats the GT3 in numerous race tracks around the world.
The Porsche remains the faster car to drive on a track and brings a surreal sense of enjoyment to track sessions. The initial learning curve with the Porsche on a track is much higher. Hitting what feels like at least 90 percent of its ability appears to be within reach with more and more practice. However, the Mercedes-AMG seems to be far easier to drive at first, but you quickly reach a point where it no longer feels comfortable to push harder.
So what do you think? Which car is better? Well, we’ll know it once you decide to grace the streets sporting one of the two, won’t we?