Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Mercedes-AMG balances fun and functionality with new four-door GT Coupe

Why Mercedes-AMG’s latest four-door sports sedan is less at home on the track than its two-door sibling

Mercedes-AMG has returned to where it all began, with a monster four-door sports sedan it hopes will steal sales from the BMW M6 Gran Coupe, Porsche Panamera and Audi RS7. But the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe is a far cry from their first modified Mercedes, a 6.8-litre 300 SEL V8 that won its class in the 1971 24 hours of Spa race, as this is the first four-door saloon developed entirely in-house by AMG rather than being a rebadged and tweaked Mercedes-Benz production car.

A saloon version of the GT Coupe

The 4-Door replaces the CLS and, while the latest AMG is intended to be a saloon version of the brawny GT Coupe, it has more in common with the E-Class Mercedes than the race-bred AMG GT sports coupe. Remove the slick body and under it you will find the twin-turbocharged, four-litre V8 engine and rear-wheel-drive architecture from the E-Class Mercedes-AMG, instead of the AMG GT Coupe’s platform. The rear wheels steer opposite to the front at up to 100 kilometres per hour to reduce the turning circle of the five-metre car and then turn parallel to the front wheels for easier high-speed lane changing.

Externally, the front features a broad, low-drawn “shark nose” that’s been borrowed from the coupe, along with its multibeam LED headlamps with carbon-­fibre elements, AMG radiator trim and a front apron featuring a further development of the jet wing aero device from the coupe.

Some spirited driving through a mountain range in the Gulf region tested the car’s six-piston, composite material, 360-­millimetre brakes, which were easily up to the task of keeping this 2,045-­kilogram saloon under control. AMG’s Electronic Stability Control (ESP) works independently on each wheel. Arriving at an unexpectedly tight corner at a reasonable pace gave the car its chance to demonstrate how its on-board computers wrestled it back under control in microseconds. It was a graphic demonstration of why ESP is being phased in as mandatory equipment on all new cars.

Lightweight body, day-to-day performance

An active rear spoiler also played its part as it changed its position depending on the driving characteristics and, in doing so, allowed the control software to take into account several parameters, including speed, the position for the drive programme and the manual setting for the rear spoiler. From 80kph, the spoiler adopts different heights to optimise the driving stability, reduce air resistance and increase top speed. If the system detects a slide, the spoiler moves into its steepest setting to help bring the car back under control.

The twin-turbo, four-litre V8 is one of the sweetest engines on the road

The design team has managed to keep the AMG GT 4-Door’s weight down using a mix of aluminium and carbon fibre, yet also maintain structural rigidity. As for the drive programmes, AMG Dynamic Select comprises “Slippery”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport+” and “Individual”, providing drivers with a broad scope of opportunities. These affect, among other things, the car’s responsiveness to the accelerator and steering. There’s also a “Race” programme that features a drift mode, essentially cutting power to the front wheels for ultimate race-track performance.

The twin-turbo, four-litre V8 is one of the sweetest engines on the road, providing 630 brake ­horsepower and 900Nm from its compact size and is backed by a smooth-shifting nine-speed ZF auto box. If you take it to a track day, as AMG likes to encourage customers to do, it will be the auto transmission that reminds you this is more of a road car and less of a track-day special.

A balance between fun and functionality

But while the AMG GT 4-Door 63 S is fun on the track, like all sporting saloons it’s about finding the best compromise between luxury and sports. The good news for most of us is that it performs seamlessly on the road, but it does highlight the difference between this 4-Door version of the AMG GT and its more track-­oriented 2-Door sibling.

If you’re looking for an AMG GT 2-Door transformed into a 4-Door, then you might be disappointed, as this feels and behaves differently to the coupe. It’s not as serious about driving dynamics, but it delivers a more comfortable ride in town, as well as allowing you to take more than one person with you.

Updated: October 19, 2019 01:19 PM

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