This brawny Benz set the new lap record at Germany’s Nürburgring race track, and can still drop off the kids at school in high style.
It’s the last thing anyone wants to see in the rearview, especially in Texas. I’m on Highway 71 headed westbound out of Austin, happy as a Lone Star barbecue, when suddenly my entire rear glass is shrouded in blue and red flashing lights.
The dread that overwhelms me is like a knee to the solar plexus from Daniel Cormier. Damn. How did I let this AMG seduce me? Because as we all know, speed infractions are always the vehicle’s fault—never the driver’s. I pull over and start stammering sorrowful excuses. After a quick shuffling of paperwork, the officer admits he never quite got a fix on me, but was pretty sure I was speeding.
With ruffled brow, he and his partner take a couple laps around the gorgeous matte-black Mercedes, eyeing me suspiciously, and then release me back into the wild. The pit in my stomach lifts, replaced with joy as soon as I ease on the throttle and hear the hand-built 4.0-liter V-8’s vibrations rumble through the quad exhausts.
Even cruising the GT four-door brings a static sense of exhilaration; I had no idea I was doing north of 80 mph. That’s how natural the sedan feels at speed. I resolve to save the high jinks for my next destination: the Formula 1 coliseum known as the Circuit of the Americas (COTA).
A quick glance might fool you into confusing this AMG sedan with Mercedes’ other “four-door coupe,” the CLS. Fair enough. It’s safe to say the CLS single-handedly created the segment more than 10 years ago, but the fraternal twins are children of different gods.
The CLS is a luxury-driven sedan with a windswept profile; the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe is only the third vehicle built entirely from the ground up by the lunatics over at AMG (the others being the SLS and the two-door GT).
Meaning, this is no ordinary Benz with a couple AMG badges glued on. It’s a dyed-in-the-wool high-performance machine bred for hooliganism. Imagine the already handsome CLS after two months on the keto diet, slim and taut. Muscles bulging from sheet metal, with lines more easily defined, the GT 4-Door is lower, wider, and sleeker, with a considerably more raked windshield. Its headlamps even look more pissed off.
But where the GT 4-Door Coupe truly separates itself from the entire sedan field—be it the CLS or cars from Italy, the U.S., and elsewhere—is on the track. The GT63 S courses with architectural technology that transforms the quite heavy (about 4,600-pound) stretched hatchback into a full-on track-razing monster.
Pairing up its torque- vectoring 4MATIC+ AWD (see sidebar) with an electronically controlled rear differential lock, AMG dynamics, and an adaptive air suspension lays the foundation for incredible agility—especially for its weight class.
Add on next-level tech like rear-axle steering, active aerodynamics (front lip and multistage rear spoiler), and adaptive engine mounts that stiffen to brace chassis rigidity (all standard on the 63 S) and you have a bristling spaceship that boasts a startling potential for individualization (it’s got six drive modes and four dynamic levels).
On the 3.4-mile-long COTA track, the GT63 S handles astoundingly well, its extra-fat Michelin Pilot Sport tires gripping tight on corners and its 630 available horses exploding out of apexes. And on the long straights, the “hot V” twin-turbocharged V-8 provided so much pull (664 lb-ft of torque) our courage crumbled way before the throttle did. We even sniffed the 195-mph top speed from about 30 mph away on COTA’s endless last stretch, and it smelled like wood-fired pepperoni pizza.
All those metrics are bonkers for a sedan that seats four adults comfortably, but perhaps the most outrageous is its zero-to-60-mph sprint of 3.1 seconds. That’s faster than mid-engine supercars like the Audi R8 V10 and the McLaren 570S. (The non-S 63 is no joke either, mind you, with 577 horsepower, 553 lb-ft of torque, 193 mph top speed, and a still-ludicrous zero-to-60 run of 3.3 seconds.)
Of course, it’s not just with Maxim behind the wheel that the Mercedes-AMG GT63 S 4MATIC+ soars to such heights. The supersedan is so fast, so clear-eyed and capable on the crucible of a high-speed circuit that it just set the new lap record on the Nürburgring’s vaunted “Green Hell.” That makes it the fastest series production four-seater ever to roll rubber on the North Loop.
Your move, Porsche.
AMG Performance 4MATIC+AWD
What does this alphabet soup really mean? It means the nerds over at AMG HQ have devised an even more intelligent AWD system (brains and hardware) that better distributes torque between the front and rear axles, providing a seamless transition from rear-wheel to all-wheel drive and back. So regardless of strain on corners, the architecture figures out the optimum traction and delivers it to that wheel—right up to the physical limit.
There’s even a “Drift” mode standard in the Race setting, which funnels all the juice to the GT’s rear wheels, assuring ear-pinning tomfoolery. Yay! But 4MATIC+ doesn’t only help when you’re shredding tires on the COTA; it also lets the GT find the best footing in rain and snow.