5 0 5
Plus & Minus
Epic performance; engaging dynamics; pleasing acoustics
Road noise on coarse surfaces; price of options; thirsty when pushed
The Wheels Verdict: The Mercedes-AMG GT63 S 4-Door is an assault on the senses in all the right ways. There’s a cheaper GT53 4-Door, but if funds allow, the GT63 S is the must-have option. Dynamically talented and sensationally fast, the commanding four-door coupe has you constantly coming back for more.
WHAT IS THE MERCEDES-AMG GT63 S 4-DOOR?
The GT63 S is the first four-door sports coupe solely developed by AMG. It’s a style-driven variant for those who want more theatre than an E63 S, but prefer a more pragmatic existence than an AMG GT Coupe can offer. It’s also packing the most kilowatts of any AMG, which along with the rear-biased all-wheel drive system, is enough to overcome its two-tonne mass.
WHY WE’RE TESTING IT
A performance offering with 470kW and 900Nm demands attention. As does the plush interior and imposing exterior design. The mild-hybrid GT53 inline-six turbo is available for $249,900, while the GT63 S heavyweight is $349,900. Ultimately, Mercedes-AMG is throwing its might behind the barnstorming ‘coupe’ in the hopes of going after the Porsche Panamera. Game on.
MERCEDES-AMG GT63 4-DOOR REVIEW
Walking up to the $349,900 Mercedes-AMG GT63 S 4-Door, it’s hard not to be captivated by the drama. Nestled aptly in the forecourt of a fancy Melbourne hotel, the big, almost intimidating AMG owns its demeanour, one that is as imposing as the high-risers ensconcing it. However, it fails to truly disappear into the background. The menacing coupe-esque four-door catches the gaze of myriad blurry-eyed commuters.
And then the starter button is pushed. Firing on all eight, twin-turbocharged cylinders, the 4.0-litre M178 awakens with the kind of fury that cuts through morning rush hour. Shrinking violet? Not a chance. Those who slink into the shadows need not apply. Mercifully the cold-start revs settle to a calm idle speed, the quad tailpipes housed within the rear diffuser emitting a more subdued tone, and the opulent surrounds of the cocooning cabin become apparent. The boot, accessed by via liftback-style tailgate, has no trouble swallowing a few overnight bags and jackets.
Seated in firm, but well-bolstered AMG seats with a microfibre steering wheel in hand and large 12.3-inch screens in sight, it’s hard not to wonder what the USP is for this Porsche Panamera-fighting beast. Consider it simply an E63 S with a swoopy silhouette and you’d be, surprisingly, wide of the mark. However, it’s also not an AMG GT Coupe with a few extra doors. Instead, the first four-door coupe solely developed by Mercedes-AMG carves its own niche. It’s one that straddles luxury and performance in an attention-grabbing suit – the latter enhanced by $9500-worth of carbon-fibre addenda.
Pulling onto congested city streets requires attention, but there’s help at hand with 360-degree cameras and sensors. Not only is the 4-Door a sizeable two-tonne mass, thanks to the grenade under the bonnet, it’s also weapon quick. Merely breath on the accelerator activates 470kW and 900Nm from the ‘hot-vee’ bent eight. Anticipating the traffic ahead is vital. Reactionary inputs usually come too late given the 4-Door can reach 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds, a figure that feels utterly believable. The head-up is handy for checking speed and to see which one of the nine gears is in use.
Experiencing full throttle for the first time in the GT63 S 4-Door is an event. Traction is abundant as the rear-biased 4Matic+ all-wheel drive channels torque and the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S hoops stick to the road like Velcro. Acceleration is relentless no matter where you are in the rev range, and it’s accompanied by a cacophony of sound. Bundling passengers into the rear seats to experience the neck-snapping acceleration (a four-seat option can be selected), although they’ll be greeted with restricted rear headroom, but ample legroom.
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Turn off the straight lines of a highway and the hefty giant becomes a ballet dancer. Changes of direction are fuss-free and body movements are kept in check. Flick the steering wheel-mounted rotary dial to Sport Plus and the 4-Door parameters are set to their raciest, road-focused setting. It’s here that you can really feel the rear-driven nature as the Merc almost encourages delicate yaw movements from the 315-section Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S rears. There’s relentless purchase from the front axle (275 section), resulting in tremendous drive on corner exit.
The rear steering effectively shortens the wheelbase, meaning it rotates on its axis through tight hairpins with an athleticism that belies its five-metre length and 2045kg mass. It’s progressive, too, and won’t leave you feeling unnerved. The steering is slightly muted in terms of feedback, but the $17,900 optional carbon-ceramic brakes (390mm front, 360mm rear) fail to fade despite the speeds they repeatedly arrest. Where the GT63 S should be floundering, on a tight mountain road with infrequent flowing bends, it’s excelling. Not only that, it’s a lot of fun.
Kept in the focused modes the ride quality can struggle with sharp imperfection. Switching back to Comfort mode, the mood relaxes. It’s here, on open-radius country bends, that the newfound ride quality comes to the fore. Unlike the E63 S’s busy character, with adaptive air suspension, the 4-Door gains a level of compliance needed in a luxury coupe – even with large 21-inch alloys and low-profile tyres. With numerous drive modes offering tangible differences in character, taking this $392,400 (fully optioned) GT63 S to a track wouldn’t be out of the question, especially when you can select Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.
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It really is refreshing to discover that the 4-Door can viably be used simply as a luxury GT-car; however, coarse surfaces induce road noise that isn’t adequately quelled. Offering resistance against the NVH levels is the optional Burmester sound system ($10,400) – which seems a crime to use when there’s an angry V8 soundtrack in waiting. On the straight highway back to Melbourne there’s plenty of tech toys to play with, too. As moody clouds roll in the interior ambience is dominated by subtle mood lighting and the turbine-style air-vents add design flair to the aging dash layout. The last nit-picking niggle is the fact that there’s multiple buttons for the same controls.
Yes, it’s expensive, it has an unquenchable thirst for fuel when provoked, the ride quality still has room for improvement and the design won’t agree with everyone. However, it’s easy to wax lyrical when referencing the AMG GT63 S 4-Door. As far as automotive events go, it’s hard not to be effusive given the emotive nature of the beast. What a thing.
MERCEDES-BENZ GT63 S 4-DOOR VS RIVALS
Porsche Panamera, Audi RS7, BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, Aston Martin Rapide
MERCEDES-AMG GT63 S 4-DOOR PRICE AND SPECS AUSTRALIA
Model: Mercedes-AMG GT63 S 4-Door 4Matic+
Engine: 3982cc V8, dohc, 32v, twin-turbo
Max power: 470kW @ 5500-6500rpm
Max torque: 900Nm @ 2500-4500rpm
Transmission: 9-speed MCT
0-100km/h: 3.2 seconds
Price: $349,900 ($392,400 as tested)
On sale: Now