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Mercedes-AMG can barely keep up with the Aussie appetite for its pumped-up hot rods, with around 20 per cent of all Mercs sold here being of the AMG variety.
And this is its latest piece of finely tuned German muscle to reach our shores – the GT 63 S 4-Door Coupe.
It’s been launched alongside the in-line six-cylinder turbo powered GT 53 4-Door Coupe, and the boffins from Affalterbach have created an ultra-rigid missile fresh from the ground up, in the flagship’s case packing a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 pumping out 470kW (630hp) and 900Nm.
It’s the fastest four-door production car around the Nurburgring Nordshleife, and with rear-biased all-wheel drive, made for your favourite B-roads.
|Mercedes-AMG GT 2020: 63 S|
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
At a fraction over 5.0 metres long and just under 1.9 metres wide, the GT 4-Door Coupe is substantial, but an overall height under 1.5 metres sets up an aggressive stance that screams speed.
Fat guards are filled by dark 21-inch rims, and the low-set, bulging bonnet sits behind menacingly angular ‘Multi-beam’ LED headlights sitting either side of AMG’s now signature ‘Panamericana’ grille, looking ready to chew up and spit out lesser machines.
It has to be said that calling this car a four-door is a bit cheeky because technically it’s a hatch, and to my eyes at least the gentle rearward slope of the turret and large cargo door enhances the design’s understated power.
Inside is a sea of top-shelf nappa leather, with the twin-widescreen cockpit layout (two 12.3-inch hi-res displays) dominating the dash. Carbon-fibre is applied liberally (in the 63 S), and the grippy sports steering wheels and seats look and feel close to track grade.
Turbine-style air vents (four in the centre, and one at each edge) are now a Mercedes design signature (used in the back as well) and they combine with the brushed metal finishes around the broad centre console and on the pedals to deliver a sense of occasion and anticipation just sitting in the car. Fit and finish is flawless.
At surface level the GT 4-Door Coupe is a more liveable alternative to the GT Coupe, for blazing fast road trips, and obscenely rapid grocery runs. But the fact is it’s sooo much more practical than its two-door stablemate.
Space in the front is generous with storage running to twin cupholders in the centre console, as well as a modest glove box, decent sized door bins (with room for bottles), and a lidded storage box between the seats.
Connectivity and power options include 12-volt outlets, multiple USB ports and NFC (Near Field Communication) tech for easy Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection of enabled devices.
Rear seat room is healthy. At 183cm I was able to sir behind the driver’s seat set to my position with plenty of leg and headroom to spare. Although anyone travelling in the rear centre position will have drawn the short straw, because the back seat is sculpted with bolstered positions for the two outer positions only.
A fold-down centre armrest offers more storage with a lidded box and a pair of cupholders and twin vents in the rear of the front centre console can be adjusted individually as part of the four-zone climate control system.
Hit the button, near the driver or on the key fob, to open the tailgate door and you’re presented with 461 litres (VDA) of cargo space, with the rear seat split-folding 40/20/40 to increase flexibility and liberate considerably more room.
There are tie-down hooks at each corner of the boot floor, an elasticised cargo net is included, and 12-volt power is provided.
So, the GT 4-Door Coupe can’t just be about staggering performanmce. The GT 53 kicks things off at $249,900, before on-road costs, and at that price you’ll want a handsome load of standard features to go with all that performance potential.
We’ll cover active and passive safety tech in the Safety section, and aside from that the GT 53’s standard equipment list includes, performance front seats (heated and ventilated with electronic adjustment and memory), sports steering wheel (trimmed in nappa leather and ‘Dinamica’ microfibre), ambient interior lighting (with 64 colour choices), nappa leather upholstery, open-pore ash wood trim, sliding glass sunroof, four-zone climate control, a head-up display, keyless entry and start, active cruise control, Burmester 14-speaker, 640-watt audio, the ‘Comand’ multimedia system (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), 3D sat nav, the previously mentioned ‘Widescreen Cockpit’ and wireless charging for mobile devices.
The GT 63 S shifts things up to $349,900, before on-road costs, adding interior carbon-fibre trim, even more leather around the cabin, the ‘AMG Light Display’ (shows the AMG logo under the side of the car), dark-tinted privacy glass (from B-pillar back), and power closing doors.
On the more technical side the GT 53 features, 20-inch alloy wheels, the ‘Dynamic Plus’ package (specifically tuned steering and suspension), ‘Dynamic Select’ (individual set-up for engine, transmission, suspension, steering and exhaust), a rear limited-slip diff, adaptive suspension, active parking assist, metallic paint (with nano ceramic paint technology) and yellow-painted AMG brake calipers.
The GT 63 S tips in the full-fat powertrain, 21-inch rims, and rear axle steering (an element of rear counter-steer up to 100km/h).
And if you want to go further there are eight option packages, from exterior chrome or carbon-fibre, to a luxury rear seat set-up incorporating two elaborately sculpted individual chairs with a touchscreen, extra USB ports and heated and cooled cupholders.
There are also more than a dozen individual cost and no-cost options, as well as multiple alternate wheel designs to choose from.
Plenty of dollars and plenty of fruit to go with the fire and fury. And thinking about the upcoming V8-powered BMW M8 Gran Coupe (likely to launch in the first half of 2020) it will need every bit of it to stay competitive in this ultra-exclusive market niche.
The V8 volcano generating this car’s prodigious power is the same all-alloy, direct-injected, 90-degree 4.0-litre (M178) unit used in the two-door GT coupe, in this case with dry rather than wet sump lubrication.
Its two turbos are located in the engine’s ‘hot vee’ to improve under-bonnet packaging and reduce the distance exhaust gas has to travel to reach each twin-scroll turbo, and that charged air has to travel to the cylinders (minimising throttle lag).
Maximum power of 470kW is available between 5500-6500rpm and peak torque of no less than 900Nm is delivered across a broad plateau from 2500-4500rpm.
The GT 53’s 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder unit produces 320kW at 6100rpm and 520Nm from 1800-5800rpm, with an ‘EQ Boost’ starter-alternator unit between the engine and transmission adding an extra 16kW/250Nm.
Drive goes to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, in the 63 S featuring a wet, multi-disc start-off clutch, and a conventional torque converter in the 53.
The ‘4Matic’ all-wheel drive system sends drive to the rear axle permanently, and the front wheels variably, with the torque split continuously adjusted according to conditions and driver input.
At the time of writing, Mercedes-Benz Australia hadn’t issued Australian Standard combined cycle fuel economy figures for the GT 4-Door Coupe, but NEDC Euro standard numbers are 9.4L/100km for the GT 53 and 11.3L/100km for the GT 63 S. NEDC CO2 emissions for the combined cycle are 215g/km and 257g/km respectively.
Despite the GT 63 S’s stop-start system (with glide mode) and eight- to four-cylinder deactivation tech (available from 1000-3250rpm), over close to 280km of mainly open road driving on the launch program we saw a dash-indicated figure of exactly 16.0L/100km.
Minimum fuel requirement for both models is 98 RON premium unleaded, and you’ll need 80 litres of it to fill the tank.
Okay, so first up this is one fierce four-door, claimed to sprint from 0-100km/h in 3.2 seconds, which is properly supercar fast, and if you’re game and have a driveway long enough, able to blast up to a maximum velocity of 315km/h. Wow.
And behind the wheel it feels every bit of it. A flat-chat, launch-control assisted take-off narrowing your field of vision ever-so slightly and inducing an involuntary tensing of the abdomen.
The accompanying soundtrack is suitably ferocious, with a full-noise pass delivering a satisfyingly sharp spike on the decibel meter.
With 900Nm available from just 2500rpm there’s always an ocean of torque available, and by the time you’re into the upper rev range in anything above third gear you’re either headed for licence loss or the first corner of your favourite race circuit.
The nine-speed ‘MCT’ transmission in the 63 S features a (wet) take-off clutch and the big four-door puts its power down beautifully, the rear axle LSD and carefully tuned ‘4Matic’ all-wheel drive system seamlessly distributing torque between the axles and individual wheels able to make best use of it.
Slip into manual mode and the fun factor dials up a few notches with sharp and positive moves between ratios. But if you prefer leaving it in drive the transmission will sense what you’re up to and pick up ratios at just the right spot to keep things on the boil.
The electrically assisted steering delivers good road feel and the 63 S’s rear axle steering helps with precise and predictable turn-in on cornering.
The adaptive damping system helps keep this roughly 2.0-tonne weapon in check on twisting backroads, the optimal setting for our launch drive being engine, transmission, steering and exhaust turned up to 11, with the suspension in ‘Comfort’ mode. Spot-on.
A monster brake package comprises big ventilated discs (390mm fr / 360mm rr) with six-piston fixed calipers at the front and single-piston floating units at the rear. They wash off speed quickly and calmly time after time.
But dial things back to a less aggressive, more everyday mode and the ride comfort remains a stand-out trait. Even on big 21-inch rims the GT 63 S turns coarse-chip rural bitumen into a smooth carpet, with very little noise filtering into the cabin.
The front seats are super-supportive and comfortable for long stints behind the wheel and ergonomics are top-shelf with all major controls ideally placed and easy to use.
And if you want to get into the nitty gritty the AMG ‘Track Pace’ function in the Comand media system captures and analyses over 80 vehicle-specific data points as well as circuit lap times. Fun
3 years / unlimited km warranty
The Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe offers in impressive suite of active features including ABS, BA, EBD, stability and traction controls, a 360-degree camera and reversing camera (with dynamic guidelines), ‘Active Brake Assist’ (Merc-speak for AEB) with cross-traffic function, ‘Adaptive Brake’ (with hill-start assist and brake drying in wet weather), active cruise control, ‘Active Lane Change Assist’, ‘Active Steering Assist’, ‘Attention Assist’ (drowsiness detection), and a tyre pressure monitoring system.
If all that fails to prevent an impact ‘Pre-Safe’ arms various systems to minimise damage and injury and you’ll be protected by nine airbags (front, pelvis and window for driver and front passenger, side airbags for rear seat occupants and a driver’s knee bag). The standard ‘Active Bonnet’ automatically tilts to minimise pedestrian injuries in a collision.
The Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe hasn’t been assessed by ANCAP or Euro NCAP for crash safety performance.
For kids there are three child restraint/baby capsule top tether points across the back seat, with ISOFIX anchors on the two outer positions.
Mercedes-Benz covers its AMG range with a three year/unlimited km warranty, like the other two members of the German ‘Big Three’ (Audi and BMW) lagging the mainstream market where the majority of players are now at five years/unlimited km, with some at seven years.
On the upside, Mercedes-Benz Road Care assistance is included in the deal for three years.
Service is scheduled for 12 months/20,000km (whichever comes first) with pricing available on an ‘Up-front’ or ‘Pay-as-you-go’ basis.
For the GT 63 S pre-payment delivers a $1230 saving with the first three services set at a total of $6450, compared to $7150 PAYG. Fourth and fifth services are also available for pre-purchase.
The Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4-Door Coupe fulfils the brief for an ultra-fast, ultra-luxurious, four-door weapon. The theatre that surrounds it will be enough for some, and those that want to a have a serious crack won’t be disappointed.
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||9|
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