Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S: The 'Ring Storming, Daily Driving, Four-Door Supercar
As the fastest four-door to lap the Nordschleife, AMG's four-door coupe holds its own on the road.
If you can only stick one car in your garage, but you need to carry a couple passengers, want the exterior to catch plenty of second looks, and demand enough power to instantly melt tires, you've got plenty of good options right now. Mercedes-AMG introduced its GT four-door coupe in 2019 to please the driver who craves supercar performance in a more usable package, and to cut into the Porsche Panamera's market share.
Nürburgring lap times are a comical pissing contest among manufacturers, with dozens of current cars rushing around the famed German circuit faster than the most ludicrous supercars of just a decade ago. Mercedes-AMG and Porsche have taken turns clocking quicker laps with these fast four door offerings, and at the time of writing this review, the Affalterbach outfit has bragging rights.
Boasting a 7:23.009 time around the 12.8-mile-long course, and 7:27.800 for the full 12.9-mile lap (which incorporates the T13 section of the Nürburgring circuit), the AMG GT 63 S beat the record previously held by the Porsche Panamera Turbo S by two seconds. Do fast 'Ring laps translate to fun on normal roads? To find out, Mercedes-AMG subjected me to a week behind the wheel of its most potent four-door coupe.
The Big Figures
Like nearly every Mercedes-AMG model, there's a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 pumping out 630 horsepower and 664 lb-ft (900 Nm) of torque. Through a nine-speed MCT transmission, AMG's 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system, and an electronic limited-slip differential, the AMG GT 63 S will rocket from 0-60 MPH in 3.1 seconds on its way to a top track speed of 195 MPH. Loaded with all this kit, the GT 63 S weighs 4,758 pounds (2,158 kilos), and sports dimensions that are damn near identical to the Porsche Panamera.
Base price for the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S is $161,200, and with options including plenty of carbon fiber trim inside and out, heated and ventilated performance seats, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires wrapped around 21-inch wheels, $8,950 carbon ceramic brakes, and special designo Brilliant Blue Magno paint my tester racked up a sticker of $191,105.
For drivers who aren't power-obsessed (or flush with cash), the AMG GT four-door coupe has other engine options, including a new-for-'21 GT 43 with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with 362 horsepower, a GT 53 variant--that I tested last summer--with that straight-six in 429-HP spec mated to Mercedes' EQ Boost 48V mild hybrid system that adds a hint of extra power and gobs of electrified torque, and a "normal" 63 model that boasts 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque.
Ripping Through Your Commute
If your daily trek to the office is a longer one, you'll be happy inside the GT's cabin. With a wide expanse up front, supportive yet comfortable seats, a high center console, and a low-slung cockpit, you'll feel like you're in a fighter jet as you blast down the freeway. Despite the high belt line and sharp coupe-like body lines, outside visibility is good.
Commuting on concrete surfaces, there's plenty of feedback through the performance-focused suspension, and a good bit of chassis feedback. The 21-inch wheels and low profile tires are an accessory to the stiff ride crime. Keep the dynamic ride mode set to comfort, and you'll ease up some of that suspension feedback. If you want to listen to something other than AMG's splendid V8, the Burmester audio system is fantastic.
I appreciate how easily I could pass anyone on the road when providing the slightest amount of pressure to the accelerator. Pedal inputs are super sensitive, and I advise you to tame your right foot if you want to achieve anywhere near the 15/20/17 (city/highway/combined) EPA fuel economy estimates. I have a healthy speed habit, so I only managed 16 MPGs throughout my week-long test.
Set up with the sportiest seating option, this AMG GT 63 S included heated and ventilated buckets. With a two-seat configuration in the back, your friends have plenty of legroom, a couple USB outlets in the center console, and there's an option for a cool executive console and screen setup. Storage space is great out back, with plenty of room for multiple roller bags in addition to backpacks and shopping bags, and the power lift gate allows for easy access to your goods.
Blasting Around The Twisty Stuff
Above average drivers will be rewarded with obscene levels of performance on any road or circuit. With several drive modes available, including ways to separately tweak the stability control, you can dial in the perfect settings for any conditions. With AMG's drive unit steering wheel, you've got customizable buttons that allow quick access to toggle exhaust, suspension, stability control, and drive mode settings on the fly.
My perfect setup was with the suspension in comfort, the engine and exhaust in the most powerful mode, and switching the handling mode to Pro rather than the fully off Master setting, which kept the electronic nannies in waiting just in case I did something stupid. AMG's adaptive air suspension eliminates any body roll while coping with any road disruptions nicely, but it's still quite stiff in comfort mode. That fast Nordschleife lap time involved sacrificing some suspension compliance.
Acceleration in the AMG GT 63 S provides the sort of thrust fighter pilots feel when taking off. Exhaust valves have a rowdy soundtrack when you smash the go pedal, while not being overly poppy when you back off the throttle. Unleashing all 630 horses comes with ease, but you better be wide awake if you want to exercise the AMG GT's full capabilities. There may be all-wheel-drive and plenty of tech on board, but this car still packs performance that will quickly reveal how little talent you may possess, so don't get too cocky.
Laser-focused steering, albeit somewhat over-boosted by an electric assist, gives you confident carving, and rear axle steering enables cornering speeds expected from much smaller and lighter sports cars. Sticky 275/35/21 front and 315/30/21 rear Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires--a $600 upgrade--provide maximum grip with the slight downside of increased road noise. I'm glad my test car was given the leather steering wheel option rather than the DINAMICA (Alcantara) one that will suck any moisture from your hands.
AMG's optional carbon ceramic brakes pack two-piece rotors measuring 15.8 inches up front and 14.2 inches out back, and are clamped down by massive calipers. Costing an extra nine grand may seem steep, but if you plan on flogging your AMG GT 63 S regularly, you'll appreciate the extra stopping power while shaving unsprung weight when you're trying to slow the 4,700-pound machine.
Track Day Hero
I didn't take the car for hot laps during this test, but during the launch in the fall of 2018, the fine folks at Mercedes allowed journalists plenty of time throwing the car around Circuit of The Americas. I'm fortunate to play at COTA on a regular basis, and am allowed to flog all sorts of fast metal around it. In the review I published elsewhere, I noted that the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S is wildly fast around the American F1 track, coping with its heavy weight effortlessly, while delivering suprisingly quick laps.
Throwing the instrumentation display into Supersport mode to reveal more data points while flashing shift lights tell you when you flick the right paddle. Select the Race drive mode and hold on as the turbocharged V8 roars, steering inputs get positively heavier, and the big four-door coupe dances. Get too ham-fisted, and the weight will take its toll on the Cup 2 rubber, introducing a bit of understeer. The rear axle steering setup makes the rear wheels point the same direction as the fronts at speeds under 62 MPH, but switches to the opposite direction to help give you better rotation in faster corners.
Blasting over 160 down the 3/4-mile back straight is easy, and the ceramic brakes chomp down to make the tight left into turn 12. Play with AMG's Track Pace app to log all sorts of telemetry and make the most of your time on several pre-loaded tracks while being able to load your own course. I haven't seen another AMG GT four-door coupe participating in a non-OEM track day at COTA, as most track day regulars are probably going to opt for a lighter car if they're spending this much cash, but it's good to know the AMG GT 63 S can keep up with several supercars.
Photo from my participation in the launch at COTA, fall 2018.
The Pros And Cons
Cabin treatments are space age, sport cool ambient lighting, and surfaces are covered with plenty of carbon fiber, perfectly-stitched leather, and shiny metallic trim. Mercedes-AMG released the GT four-door coupe as a 2019 model, and since then has introduced its new MBUX infotainment system in other models. MBUX has a similar look and feel, but it gets touch screen functionality that the GT's COMAND system does not. Wireless mobile charging is standard, as is Apple Car Play, but Android Auto is not available yet.
The blue paint job on this test car is wonderful, and I can't think of a better looking satin finish to come out of a big factory. Especially for a $4000 option. Speaking of options, while this GT had nearly $30,000 in options, but it is a press car that ticked a lot of option boxes, and each of them was reasonable. Other OEMs could be as reasonable as Mercedes with option package pricing. The AMG GT's body style is a bit polarizing versus its rivals from Porsche and BMW, but I like it. I do wish there was a shooting brake option like you get with the Panamera Sport Turismo, which not only looks great but offers a hint more cargo volume.
How Much Speed Do You Need In A Four-Door Pacakge?
AMG's fastest four-door isn't cheap, with a base price of $160,000 that quickly exceeds $200,000 if you get wild on the options sheet. If you don't *need* the extra power, save $20,000 by taking the non-S GT 63 route, and be pleased with 577 horsepower and all of an extra .2 seconds to 60 MPH. I'm a big fan of the GT 53 model, and think the performance is sufficient while still getting the same fantastic looks and saving over $50,000 versus the 63 S. Ignore the base 429 horsepower figure, as the EQ Boost system provided plenty of extra electrified torque.
Going a completely different direction, I would probably opt for the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S. It packs a little less power, but is nearly as quick from 0-60, and is more of a sleeper outside. If you're comfortable spending way more cash, and demand the cooler body style, you'll be rewarded with one seriously fast four-door in the AMG GT 63 S.