The Mercedes-AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe is yet another answer to the question nobody asked, but the answer is surprisingly: ‘oh yes please’
What do you mean there’s another four-door coupe from Mercedes-AMG? A very good one already exists, do we really need another?
The answer to those questions is: The new GT 4-Door Coupe. The Mercedes-AMG CLS 53. And until you actually drive it, no.
The GT four-door coupe (to give its full name ‘Mercedes-AMG GT 53 4Matic+ 4-Door Coupe’, so if you want to buy one just print out the whole name on paper and show it to the salesman, we’ll just call it ‘GT 4dr’ from now on ok) appears to be a rehash of the CLS on paper. In real life, it’s quite different.
In a nutshell, the GT 4dr is larger and AMG-ier. It’s four-door coupe turned up to 11 and the logic is very Spinal Tap – and very AMG.
This is the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG from 2013 – the first car to be wholly-developed by AMG…
CarBuyer.com.sg has the rundown on the GT 4dr’s launch and you’ll know from that story that there’s also a range-topping GT 63 S with 639hp, and it costs S$751k with COE, so the meat of sales are expected to be this model, the 53, which costs a slightly more palatable S$550k with COE.
…and this is the 2015 Mercedes-AMG GT S, the second car to be wholly-developed at Affalterbach.
The CLS has its roots in regular, garden-variety Mercedes cars, but in contrast, the GT is only the third car to be wholly developed by AMG itself, the first two being the SLS AMG and AMG GT sports cars.
The platform is still Mercedes’ premium MRA platform, but with special touches and reinforcements, including some minor sections in CFRP (carbonfibre) to make it stiffer and stronger.
Of course if you put the two cars side-by-side, it’s obvious which car has more AMG in it. The GT 4dr’s impossibly wide, gaping maw filled with chrome
fangs grille louvres looks maximum attack standing still, the plunge of its roofline even more dramatic, the bulge of its haunches more muscular still (also note: this is a fastback, the CLS has a normal boot).
The bonnet (like on the AMG C 63 S sedan) has a bulge that heightens the entire nose area, making it look even more shark like, and it looks far more muscular, mean, and intimidating in counterpoint to the relative elegance of the CLS.
In other words, the CLS you’d pick up your mom in, the GT 4dr you’d save for a date or Very Aggro Business Meeting.
The interior is quite a departure too. While the upper section including the dual 10.25-inch screens and ‘anemone’ vents are familiar, the lower dash with its high-rise separates you from the passenger, with the eight colour-screen equipped drive buttons (drive modes, driving parameters, audio) in between.
It has some minor ergonomic quibbles – the row of touch-sensitive buttons are just ahead of the console storage space, so they often get activated if you reach for your phone charging in the wireless cradle, and the aperture is small, so it occasionally traps your hand when the door closes accidentally.
Still, it’s all quite dramatic in the proper way, and there’s plenty of space in the rear for two adults to fit comfortably though it’s not an S-Class in legroom terms, and a third person could squeeze into the bench too.
Underneath, the GT 4dr has the same sparkling drivetrain as the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53: the new-gen turbocharged, 3.0-litre inline six with 48V mild hybrid system that adds 22hp and 250Nm of e-boost.
The surprising thing is that even though it looks larger and meaner, the GT isn’t that much bigger than the CLS 53. It’s only about a centimeter longer, and in fact it’s narrower too (1,871mm against 1,890mm). On paper, the performance differential is minimal too – same horsepower and 0-100km/h time, though the GT has a slightly higher top speed.
The two cars drive quite differently, however. The GT 4dr is in essence a hunkered down CLS with bigger wheels and tyres – it has notably massive tyres with 255/45 front section and 285/40 rear section (both run on 19-inch wheels), which translates into a massive amount of grip.
Singapore is like Monaco – supposedly glamorous but driving a fast car here is like cycling in the bathroom, and the GT 4dr feels like a fast roadbike, at the very least. Scads of grip maximised by a balanced suspension setup and very precise handling for such a large vehicle means the GT hardly broke a sweat during out test drive, and nary a chirp from the tyres.
It lives for high speed, is absolutely rock solid at triple digits in the corners, and would make light work of the Singapore-to-KL run. But like other mid-AMGs (remember this is a REAL AMG despite the ‘53’ tag, shouts marketing) it’s the car’s multi-dimensionality that really makes it shine for a driver.
Only a rare few brands, and rare few cars, that can retain high precision and feel in the steering despite wide, fat tyres and all-wheel drive, and AMG is one of them.
Wake up with a hangover and drive like a total ah-pek and the GT 4dr makes no bones about it, it’s accommodating, doesn’t rush you, and pretends to be an S-Class with extra tyre noise and stiffer suspension.
As a luxury-and-a-bit level of car, the options list will change the experience considerably. As it is, the 53 is fast as heck, though at the extreme end of the driving spectrum it does begin to get a little unsettled in terms of body movement.
It seems AMG takes a page from Porsche’s book, the car supplied is just the starting point. Disappointingly for a car at this price point, there’s no air suspension or four-wheel steering as standard (they’re S$9,100 and S$8,100 respectively), nor any advanced driving aids such as adaptive cruise control to take on chore-driving.
We’d certainly go for the AMG Dynamic Plus package, which at S$13,400 slaps on larger 390mm front brake discs with yellow calipers, the Race drive programme (allows for launch control and drift mode), performance steering wheel with microfibre, the AMG selector buttons on the wheel as seen in the C 63 S, and electronically-controlled rear differential.
You won’t pay less than S$500k for a car in this category – key competition isn’t actually the CLS 53, but the Porsche Panamera, ideally the fantastic E-Hybrid variant we tested that feels quite similar to the GT 53 to drive. Audi’s A7 isn’t as large, nor as fast since there isn’t an S7 model for Singapore, but BMW’s lithe new 8 Series Gran Coupe should certainly be on the shortlist.
And while the 53 really should be enough for everyone, if you’re gonna go to 11 AMG-style, honestly we’d just stump the 35 percent price increase and go straight for the GT 63, simply because: 1. It’s the most powerful AMG car right now 2. you can’t argue with 639hp and 0-100km/h in a face-warping 3.2 seconds.
Ironically, at that price the GT 63 is a relative bargain, since the Panamera Turbo is more expensive and less quick in the 0-100km/h, but if you’re considering a S$750k car then it probably doesn’t matter to you – though the ‘go straight to 11’ argument still stands.
If the new CLS proves that the heart and soul of a coupe is in how it can make a driver feel, not a semantic argument about the number of doors, then the GT 4-Door is certainly a coupe as well.
To use another possibly ill-judged pop culture reference, the CLS will bring you to the level of starships, but only the GT 4dr will give you ludicrous speed.
Mercedes-AMG GT 53 4Matic+ 4-Door Coupe
|Engine||2,999cc, inline 6, turbocharged|
|Power||435hp at 6100rpm|
|Torque||520Nm at 1800-5800rpm|
|Battery||Lithium Ion, unknown kWh|
|System Power||Not stated|
|System Torque||Not stated|
|VES Band / CO2||C2 / 216g/km|
|Agent||Cycle & Carriage|
|Price||S$556,888 with COE|