AMG GT 4-DOOR 63S
Nicks badge from GT coupe; takes it literally
THE rotary controller used to select the drive modes of the new AMG GT 4-Door doesn’t move with quite the crisp precision you may expect from a circa$290,000 super sedan (or should that be super-liftback?), but that doesn’t seem important right now. What really has my attention is the word glowing in the dash, arrived at via the selection of Race mode, combined with a button-push for ESC Sport. The displays shows ‘Master’, part of the system intended to outline the recommended driving skill for each combination. It opens with Basic, moves to Advanced,
steps up to Pro, and tops out with that term making me just a little uncomfortable.
This is the setting that ramps the powertrain to its most aggressive, the damping to its firmest setting, and allows the stability control its longest leash. But Master? I’m a master of precisely nothing; that accolade should be reserved for men like the bloke climbing into the AMG GT R in front of me, German tintop champion Bernd Schneider, who will lead our trio of cars for hot laps around Texas’s Circuit of the Americas.
Minutes earlier, Schneider had assured me that the Master setting is entirely suitable: “For sure, you’ll slide, but the intervention from the car is very subtle; hardly anything at all if your corrections are okay...”
Right then; I’ll take his word for it. After all, this all-new offering from AMG only has 470kw/900nm, and the circuit is fearsomely fast in most places, and technical in others. What could go wrong?
As we idle in pit lane waiting for our session, I reflect on truthin-naming policies, and can’t help but think there’s a little sleight of hand here. The Mercedes-amg GT 4-Door Coupe 63 S, to give it its full moniker, is unrelated to AMG’S GT line in anything other than styling cues and some interior inspiration. That car, in its five-variant line-up, is a reardrive, rear-transaxle layout. This new model is neither of those things. It’s an all-wheel driver built on the MRA architecture that underpins E Class and CLS. It’s simplest to see it as a lower, swoopier version of the E63 S with the wick turned up. Effectively it’s a replacement for the AMG CLS 63, which now tops out as a sixcylinder model with a 55 badge. But that’s not to downplay the new car’s significance as only the third dedicated model the AMG division has produced, and the first with four doors and room for the kids.
And that bit about wicking up the 63 S? The twin-turbo 4.0litre in this installation matches its previous torque record of 900Nm (in the AMG S63 super limo) but takes power to a new all-time high, with 470kw. So yes, comfortably more than even the most hardcore of the two-door line-up, the GT R (430kw/700nm) that Schneider is strapping into.
Curiously, as we accelerate hard onto the main straight and fire toward the uphill braking area for the turn one hairpin, 900Nm doesn’t feel ludicrous, it feels about perfect. The strength of this engine through the midrange feels monumental, the upper reaches found via a torrent of grunt that’s delivered with utter linearity. Race mode opens the switchable exhaust, and allows the V8 to properly open its lungs.