A Sublime Super Saloon

Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupé

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Mercedes-benz’s lineup of cars has become incredibly confusing over the past few years. So to break it down for you, what you need to know is this, the new mercedes-AmG GT 4-Door Coupé is a direct rival to the panamera from crosstown rival porsche.

The panamera was a bit of a revelation. Who knew the rich really wanted a car with questionable styling but sports carlike handling?

On paper, the mercedes-AmG GT 4-Door doesn’t much make sense given that mercedes has no shortage of fast 4-door super saloons. There are AmG variants of the e-Class and CLS. It makes even less sense when you consider that the less powerful AmG GT 53 4-Door that is reviewed here costs nearly 150 grand more than the equivalent AmG e 53 and 100 grand more than the equivalent AmG CLS 53.

But that’s on paper. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding and it is after spending some time with the AmG GT 53 4-Door that I appreciated its capabilities. I have to start by saying that I think it looks great. While the panamera attempts to hide its mass with considered lines and curves, the AmG GT 4-Door proudly thumps its chest and embraces its burliness. Its bonnet is long and features two conspicuous “powerdomes”, its grille is huge and equally conspicuous, and the swollen wheel arches and huge wheels hint at prodigious power.

It’s large too, at just over 5 metres long and nearly 2 metres wide. If you opt for the same metallic blue paint as our test car, no one can say they didn’t see you hurtling down the road.

Inside, the AmG GT 53 4-Door is classic mercedes-benz. It’s all quality materials and tasteful trimmings. It feels and looks like the interior of a car that costs north of half a million dollars. Like most new cars from mercedes-benz, the AmG GT 53 4-Door eschews traditional analogue dials for digital displays — two humongous 12.3-inch digital displays, to be exact. Curiously, however, these displays are not touch-enabled. It’s also perplexing when you consider that less costly mercedes models have touchenabled displays.

Also curious is that the AmG GT 53 4-Door isn’t using mercedes’ newest mbuX infotainment system, instead it is using the older COmAND system. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it works well enough once you get used to it and it supports Apple Carplay — no Android Auto though, sorry. Fortunately, the car redeems itself in other ways.

There are four models in the AmG GT 4-Door lineup but our market is only getting two. The mid-range AmG GT 53 4-Door tested here and the top-of-the-range AmG GT 63S 4-Door. power in the AmG GT 53 4-Door comes from a 3-litre turbocharged inline-six that produces 435hp and 520nm of torque. Under full acceleration, eQ boost is activated where an electric motor further aids the engine with an additional 29hp and 250nm of torque.

Thanks to all-wheel drive, acceleration is incredible. Despite weighing around two tons, the AmG GT 53 4-Door will get from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds. What’s more impressive is the effortless way in which it does it. It never feels hurried or breathless, and it just pulls and pulls through the revs and its 9 gears (that’s not a typo). It even has a rather pleasant soundtrack to match. Granted, it has much of the synthesised pops and crackles that plague modern performance cars, but underneath it all, there’s an intoxicating howl that reveals itself between 4,500 and 6,000rpm. Given enough road, the AmG GT 53 4-Door will hit 285km/h.

More impressive is the way the car drives. Steering is sharp and precise, and that has the effect of shrinking the car and making it feel smaller than it looks. It gives you the confidence to push the car because you know you can place it where you want. put the suspension in the sportiest setting and you’d find that body roll is surprisingly wellcontrolled too. The net effect of all this is that the AmG GT 53 4-Door feels almost like a two-door sports car when you are gunning it. The only thing that gives it away is its heft as you brake into approaching corners.

But you don’t have to always drive the AmG GT 53 4-Door fast. put all the settings in the softest mode and it feels no harsher or noisier than an e-Class. It’s practical too. It seats four comfortably and the boot is large enough for your golf bag and luggage. Though it must be said that the sloping roofline does mean taller objects might struggle to fit. I guess the best praise I can give the AmG GT 53 4-Door is that it is every bit as good as the equivalent panamera.

As remarkable as it may be, the AmG GT 53 4-Door is encumbered by its high price-tag. It costs about the same as a panamera 4S and if you study the mercedes pricelist hard, you’ll find that you could get an AmG e 63S with a full-fat 604hp 4-litre V8 for only about 20 grand more. even though the AmG GT 53 4-Door is a stunning achievement from mercedes, in this context, it’s hard to say it’s is good value for money.

Regardless, credit must be given to mercedes for what they have achieved. The AmG GT 53 4-Door successfully replicates the panamera’s party trick of turning from a relaxed cruiser to a razor-sharp superfast sports car at the switch of a button. It’s a simple recipe that many have tried and failed. mercedes has finally succeeded at creating a credible rival to the porsche panamera. And perhaps that’s its biggest trick of all.

My Reading Room
The interior is all quality materials and you can take things up a notch by opting for carbon fibre trimmings.
My Reading Room
Finally, someone has come up with a credible rival to the Porsche Panamera.
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
My Reading Room
The boot is sizable but the sloping roofline means taller objects won’t fit.
My Reading Room
Good leg room in the back means passengers in the rear travel in comfort.
My Reading Room
My Reading Room