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The fastest-accelerating and most powerful series production AMG to date isn't some slinky supercar, it's a truly enormous four-door, four-seat barge that weighs just a smidge under 2.4 tonnes.
Surprised? Welcome to the wonderful world of electrification, one where manufacturers can produce physics-bending performance by combining an internal combustion engine (ICE) with an electric motor, just so long as they're willing to put up with some extra weight.
Efficiency is not the name of the game here. Performance, and lots of it, is the goal. And, thanks to the combination of a twin-turbo V8 engine and a powerful electric motor, this big beast delivers plenty of it.
There's no escaping the fact that a big number has been applied this AMG E Performance model in Australia, with the GT63S commanding $399,900, before on-road costs, and before you start selecting option packs.
Obviously performance is what you're really paying for here, but there are lots of niceties included, too.
They include an electric glass sunroof, 21-inch forged-alloy wheels with ceramic composite brakes, rear-axle steering, puddle lighting, power-closing doors (only sealing, not full hands-off closing), LED lighting, and an auto rear wing that retracts back into the body work at the rear.
Inside, there are twin 12.3-inch screens with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Burmester sound system, Nappa leather seats front and back (which are heated and cooled in the front, and which offer a massage function), and three-zone climate control.
You can then spring for the 'AMG Night Package' ($3490) which adds the 'AMG Night Exterior Package', different 21-inch wheels in matt black, dark tints on the rear glass, black badging and dark chrome on the grille.
Then there's the considerably more expensive 'AMG Carbon Fibre Package' ($18,490), which gives you the carbon exterior package, carbon inserts in the side skirts, and more carbon on the front wing trim, the mirror housings, the rear wing (which is now fixed) and in the cabin.
There is more, of course, but we'll get to them under our performance, driving and safety sections.
It's a mean, but somehow still sleek, looking beast, this big AMG, but it's also immediately recognisable as a thing of intent.
Up front, there's the huge vertical-slat grille that looks like it drove straight out of a Stephen King novel, a massively domed bonnet, and these vacuum-like side intakes that look like they could suck in stray animals.
Then, at the back, there are twin dual-pipe exits (for four in total), and an automatic wing that pops out of the rear bodywork. And all of that's capped off with these massive 21-inch forged alloy wheels hiding golden ceramic-composite brakes.
Mean, yes, but not quite as aggressive as you might expect the most powerful AMG to date to come across, perhaps.
Inside, it's more subdued again, with the AMG presenting a pretty passenger-friendly space, with all the Benz tech you'd imagine, including the massive screens, and — thanks to its air suspension and drive modes — the ability to tailor the ride to your liking, meaning a comfortable and premium experience, despite the power under your right foot.
It's not overly practical, given its size, with AMG locking in a four-seat configuration with a fixed rear pew that limits boot space. You can get folding seats, but only as part of an option package.
What you're left with is a vehicle that stretches 5054mm in length, 1953mm in width and 1447mm in height, but that serves up rear seating for only two – albeit very comfortably – and, because of the electric battery and motor being housed at the rear, boot space of just 335 litres.
There is triple-zone climate control, and the rear seating is lounge-like and luxurious, while the up-front space is ample for two full-size riders, too.
There's no spare, with AMG's 'Tirefit' puncture repair system on board.
It's not just what's under the bonnet, but what's at the rear axle, too.
But let's start at the front, shall we? Here, a familiar twin-turbo V8 engine lurks, producing a potent 470kW and 900Nm, which is fed through a nine-speed automatic, complete with paddle shifters and several drive modes, including the traction-limiting 'Race'.
But that is then joined at the rear by an electric motor with its own two-speed transmission, and which produces 70kW and 320Nm – or up to 150kW for 10-second blasts under heavy acceleration.
Combine both, and you're tapping into around 620kW and in excess of 1000Nm, enabling a sprint to 100km/h in just 2.9 seconds, and a flying top speed of 316km/h.
Fuel efficiency is surprisingly impressive for a vehicle this big and powerful, with Mercedes claiming 7.7L/100km and 175g/km of CO2 on the combined cycle.
Helping that is a the 6.1kW battery, which delivers just 12km in all-electric driving range, but helps reduce overall fuel use.
This AMG is AC power only, meaning you can't recharge using fast chargers, but the brand says its secret trick is its ability to recharge itself using captured kinetic energy incredibly quickly – largely negating the need to plug in unless you want to unlock that EV range – with Merc suggesting that, on a race track for example, the battery will discharge and charge itself continuously as you're lapping.
There's a lot of big numbers surrounding the Mercedes-AMG GT63S E Performance, but let me throw another one at you – 245km/h.
That was the high score I saw pop up on its digital speedo as the big and electrified Mercedes flew down the main straight at Sydney Motorsport Park (formerly Eastern Creek), before my courage ran out and my foot found the brake.
That kind of velocity is mind-bending in a vehicle this big, and so is the way that power is delivered, with the AMG's big brain deciding how and when to maximise power from the engine and electric motor to deliver a constant surge of torque that shoves you back, and the GT63S E Performance into the future.
But big acceleration is hardly surprising with that much power. What is a little more impressive is how easy this four-door supercar is to wrestle around a racetrack.
Sure, the feeling-out process is a little more involved, as you figure out how and when you'll feel the weight shifting, and as your brain struggles to compute how what's happening is even possible, but after a couple of laps the AMG settles into an easy, flowing rhythm that, while never feeling light on its feet, also doesn't feels like you're piloting a bus.
At least part of that is down to the wizardry on board, like the 'AMG Air Suspension', the rear-axle steering and the limited-slip diff, all of which combine to make the GT63S feel tighter and sharper than it would otherwise.
But it's also partly down to the prodigious power on offer – perfect corner entry and exits are less relevant when you have a cruise missile strapped to your right foot that doesn't just quickly make up for any driver errors, but shrinks the space between corners to the blink of an eye.
Yes, it's heavy, and there isn't much that's pure about the go-fast experience, but it left an ear-to-ear grin on my face, and isn't that priority one for any new AMG?
How does it drive on the road? That I don't know, as this was a track-only drive day. But we will get one on a proper test soon and let you know.
5 years / unlimited km warranty
The GT63S E Performance is yet to be crash-tested (probably something about each one costing about the same as small apartment), but it does come pretty comprehensively loaded with safety kit.
That includes the standard 'Driving Assistance Package Plus', which delivers active cruise control, AEB, 'Active Steering Assist', 'Active Lane Change Assist' and nine airbags.
The GT63S E Performance is covered by Mercedes' five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, and you can pre-pay your service costs to keep the prices down.
Service pricing for the electrified model is yet to be confirmed.
This is no Lotus, but damn if it ain't a hell of a good time, and proof positive that electrification can enhance the V8 experience, rather than ruin it.
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