Just when you thought there were already too many AMG variants around, the German performance manufacturer goes and drops this, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 43 4-Door Coupe. It makes the decision of buying a performance four-door coupe a little trickier, forming a new entry point to the AMG GT lineup with the nuclear GT63 and forthcoming GT73e at the top of the pecking order and the GT53 now occupying the middle ground. Powered by the familiar 3.0-liter turbo inline-six with EQ Boost mild-hybrid assistance, it's now detuned to produce 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. But less power also means a lower price, retailing for just $89,900 and giving buyers a more attainable alternative to rival the Porsche Panamera and Audi S7 Sportback. Engineered by AMG from the ground up on the same platform as the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, this is AMG's way of making the brand's halo models more accessible. Is it good enough to set itself apart from the CLS 53, E53 Sedan, and any number of other Mercedes models all employing the same powertrain? We were handed the keys to a Jupiter Red GT 43 to find out.
The GT 43 is a new AMG Mercedes product and a fresh entrypoint to the GT four-door coupe range. It slots in below the GT 53 and the full-fat Mercedes-AMG GT 63. The 43 uses the same engine as the 53 but detuned to deliver 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque, making it less powerful than the similarly priced AMG CLS 53, which rides on the same platform and is also cast in the mold of a four-door coupe.
See trim levels and configurations:
|AMG GT 43||
3.0L Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas
We'd never have guessed that Mercedes-AMG's second standalone model would be a four-door coupe, but in hindsight, it was a stellar move. Make a statement, and follow it up by giving the world a useable, stunning, semi-practical four-door coupe. There are hints of the two-door GT at the rear in the LED taillights, but the front is relatively generic Mercedes-Benz - particularly similar to the CLS-Class four-door coupe. The Panamericana grille, signature LED headlights, and large three-pointed star make a statement, as do the power bulges on the hood. 19-inch 10-spoke wheels are standard, but there are some 20 and 21 options available.
The GT 43 has an overall length of 199.2 inches, riding on a 116.2-inch wheelbase. It's 81.5 inches wide and 57.3 inches tall. The front track width is 65.9 inches, while the rear is 65.6 inches. That's identical to the more powerful GT 53, meaning it doesn't sacrifice anything in the handling department as it packs the same long and wide footprint as its bigger brother. Despite the same dimensions and powertrain as the AMG GT 53, the 43 is slightly lighter, with a curb weight of 4,530 lbs.
Thankfully, the GT's color palette isn't the usual assortment of grey, lighter grey, and darker grey. Polar White is a bit basic but the Jupiter Red worn by our test car looks sensational, and neither costs a thing. The metallic options include Obsidian Black, Cirrus Silver, Graphite Grey, and Brilliant Blue, each retailing for $720. Merc's designo range starts at $1,515 for Diamond White, while Selenite Grey Magno, Brilliant Blue Magno, and Graphite Grey Magno cost $3,950 each.
The GT 43 uses the same 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six as the 53. It also has EQ Boost, more commonly known as a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, augmenting outputs with an extra 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Not only does this system take the pressure of powering ancillary systems off the engine itself, but the electric motor fills in torque down low, smooths the stop/start system, and the electric system powers an electric compressor that mitigates turbo lag. The result is arguably the smoothest powertrain this side of something wearing a Rolls-Royce badge. It's the same powertrain as you'll find in the GT 53, but with 27 hp and 15 lb-ft less. It still employs the same 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive too, which gives it catlike reflexes off the line and a 0-60 time of 4.8 seconds - four-tenths slower than the 53.
The last time Mercedes-AMG sold something with a '43' badge on its trunk, it had a twin-turbo V6 measuring 3.0-liters. This time around, the displacement remains the same, but instead of those six cylinder being arranged in a V, they're now all in one line and make use of one standard turbocharger and one electric supercharger - or electric compressor - to pump air in down low without any turbo lag thanks to the EQ Boost mild hybrid system. The 3.0-liter I6 produces outputs of 362 hp and 369 lb-ft, with a nine-speed automatic gearbox being the only available transmission.
On startup, stop/start, or any other time the engine is doing something, you won't feel it. We didn't try to balance a nickel on the engine block and turn the key, but we'd bet this vehicle is as close as you can come to completing the feat, originally performed on Packard vehicles to test the smoothness of the inline motor. You basically hear a click, see the revs rise, and you know the engine is on, that's the only sign.
The I6 has a buzzy sound when pushed, and though the feel of the thrust is very Mercedes-like in its fluidity, it has a gravelly tone that sounds more like an inline four with a plastic cold air intake. It's not a bad sound, just surprising.
But as far as speed goes, you really don't need the V8 unless you're looking to show up at a drag strip on a weekend night and grab some wins. This lesser powered I6 is perfect for your daily travels, with tons of shove to get up to expressway speeds and farther. If you stepped up to the GT 53, with 429 hp and the same engine, we would understand your choice.
The nine-speed is smooth, and shifts come as fast as you'd expect from anything less than a dual-clutch setup. This is a more standard unit with a torque converter, aiding smoothness.
Any AMG-built product needs to live up to the badge and the name. The steering is hefty, which we like, and the ratio seems quick enough for fun on the street. As usual, comfort mode seemed a little too lazy with the throttle and sport plus snapped our heads back every time we hit the gas. Sport is almost always a happy medium, where gear changes happen a little later and the steering takes a little more effort. The GT 4-Door features little buttons attached to the steering wheel. They were the best way to adjust those drive modes, and to quickly switch the exhaust to loud.
Bumps and potholes have a decent "thud" to them. It doesn't feel as harsh as the faster GTs, partially because of the 19-inch wheels with medium profile tires. When you put the bigger wheels on this car, the sidewalls get skinnier. Handling gets better, but comfort gets worse. And if you're going for the medium-grade GT 4-Door, we suggest medium-grade tires.
Generally, cruising is done quietly and easily, with the GT able to eat miles of freeway without any complaint. It's also quick enough to hit holes in traffic when necessary. The lane keeping is adequate though it does sometimes tell you to put your hands on the wheel when they're already there, but on a long trip, it and adaptive cruise control are life savers.
Given the performance potential, the gas mileage figures are relatively good. According to the EPA, the GT 43 is capable of 20/25/22 mpg city/highway/combined - the exact figures claimed for the more powerful GT 53. The GT 43 is equipped with a 21.1-gallon tank, giving it an impressive cruising range of 464 miles on a single tank. In practice we got just over 19 mpg, which sounds about right given our heavy right foot.
The upside to the Mercedes-AMG GT 43 being introduced far later than the 63 and 53 is that those aren't cheaper models spruced up to match their price tag, but rather than the GT 43 is a far more luxurious car with a few things trimmed back, although we still find it absurd that Mercedes charges extra for a leather interior on an $90,000 car. To live up to the GT in its name, it inherits a prominent center console inspired by that of the GT sports car, but the array of screens are not the old COMAND setup. Instead, they're part of the new MBUX infotainment architecture and they look fantastic, creating a cabin that blends classic luxury with modern technology in a single symbiotic design. Like other GT four-doors, the 43 is a strict four-seater. Instead of a rear bench, this car has two body-hugging seats separated by their own dedicated center console, creating a sense of occasion and a cockpit-like feel for all occupants - something you won't get in a more pedestrian CLS-Class.
The first thing that will draw your attention inside the GT 43 is the array of buttons on the center console flanking the gearshift. There are eight that light up with icons for adjusting the drive modes, radio volume, manual transmission control, traction control, the stop/start system, spoiler, suspension and exhaust. On a piano black-trimmed car they fade into the background when the car is off. But if you have metal or carbon fiber the whole area looks a bit too busy.
The seats are a little stiff, but comfortable overall, and on our tester, the optional adjustment for the side bolsters and under the knee is one of those things we didn't know we needed until we experienced it. The GT 43 has 41.7 inches of legroom in the front and 35.5 inches in the rear. Mercedes doesn't list head or shoulder room, but even in the back seat, we were comfortable at five-foot-ten.
The gearshift is set back closer to the driver's elbow than hand, which makes it a pain to reach. But it also acts as a wrist rest when using the touchpad to control everything, which makes it easier than just trying to poke at the pad freely while driving. Otherwise this vehicle has the medium sporty steering wheel with two mini touchpads to control the digital gauges. And the free spinning air vents are easy to grab and position anywhere you want.
Paying extra for leather on a car with a base MSRP of nearly $90,000 seems criminal, but that's what happens here as buyers are given the default black MB-Tex leatherette as the only no-cost upholstery option. An additional $2,990 is charged to upgrade to Nappa leather available in either black or Magma Grey/Black. Exclusive Nappa is available in Black, Auburn Brown/Black, Red Pepper/Black, and Magma Grey/Black, but the charge of $2,850 is a little disingenuous as it requires you to add designo Black Dinamica headliner for an additional $1,600. If you want something a little more luxurious, Exclusive Style Nappa leather adds $3,250 to the price of the AMG GT 43, available in Saddle Brown/Black or Macchiato Beige/Magma Grey. Both require the $1,600 black Dinamica headliner, while the Macchiato option requires you to add the $3,550 Executive Rear Seat Package.
There is a selection of five trim inserts ranging from the stock piano black lacquer to AMG Carbon Fiber in either a matte or gloss finish at $2,850. Between these, Natural Grain Grey Ash and Brown Ash wood are also available at no cost.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 43 is on the small side and only holds 12.7 cubic feet of cargo with the second row seats up. As standard, the rear seats can't be folded, and even when selected, the option only allows the outboard sections to collapse, so you never unlock a large area, only one that can accommodate long, slender items. Its main competitor, the Porsche Panamera, gets a lot more space: 17.6 cubes with the seats up and a whopping 47 cubic feet when the rear bench is down.
Internal storage is the typical Mercedes allotment, with door pockets, a sizable bin under the center armrest, and a smallish glovebox. Those in the rear get twin cupholders and a storage space where the center rear seat would usually go, and if you opt for the Executive Rear Seat Package, you get a generous armrest console as you do in front, with extra storage ahead of this.
The GT 43 is equipped with power-adjustable heated front seats with a memory function, dual-zone climate control, remote start, keyless access with a push-button start, power liftgate, illuminated entry, garage door opener, AMG illuminated front door sills, power-folding side mirrors, and a 64-color ambient lighting feature. You also have automatic headlights and a power sunroof , while on the driver assistance side of things, there's standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a rearview camera, and rain-sensing wipers.
While these basic features are acceptable, we can't help but notice a few items left on the optional features list. Admittedly, we're talking about the entry-level model in a range, but even so, it retails for nearly $90,000. With pricing like this, ventilated front seats, tri-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, and driver assists like adaptive cruise control and a head-up display really should be standard. It has to be said that Mercedes isn't the only brand guilty of this. Porsche also does a grand job of giving you the basics and expecting you to pay more.
The current twin-screen MBUX infotainment system is the biggest piece of tech you'll find in any car this side of the Mercedes EQS. Here, you get two 12.3-inch displays sitting side by side to give the impression of one 24.6-inch display. The right-hand one features all of your comfort, navigation, radio controls, and phone connectivity, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This screen can be controlled by touch, the touchpad on the center console, the pads on the steering wheel, or by voice.
We always appreciate the extra mode buttons on the console because sometimes when you're using Apple CarPlay there's no clear way to get back to the native infotainment system if you need to. The colors are bright, and screens flip quickly when swiping your finger right to left.
Additional standard features include Bluetooth, the Mercedes connected services, wireless charging, satellite radio and a 640-watt Burmester sound system with 14 speakers. This particular vehicle had the front view camera, which is a little annoying in that it comes up every time you pull to a stop. If the navigation is active, that's where the augmented reality arrows and signs go, but when you're not it's just annoying. If you want to adjust the radio or skip a song it takes a few extra taps.
As for options, an even more potent Burmester sound system is available with 25 speakers and 1,450 watts, in-car Wi-Fi is available, and for the rear passengers, wireless charging can be paired with a small touchscreen that allows them to control media, view performance data, and even change the ambient lighting.
The GT four-door has been recalled four times in 2021. The first recall is for an inaccurate vehicle location for emergency services. This particular recall currently affects 217 products, which is basically every Mercedes currently sold. It was also recalled for a faulty front position switch, a rearview camera image that may not display, and side-impact crash sensor connectors that may loosen.
Each GT 43 is sold with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty that also covers the powertrain.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has a safety review of the AMG GT 43 four-door in the USA, and due to its price, we doubt they will anytime soon. The GT is based on the E-Class platform, however. The latter received the full five stars from the NHTSA and five stars in each of the four subcategories. The IIHS gave it a Top Safety Pick + rating, but only for models equipped with the optional front crash prevention. Merc's Driver Assistance Package is optional on the GT 43 as well, so as far as we're concerned, the same rules apply.
Mercedes includes a lot of active and passive safety features as standard. The GT 43 comes with seven airbags including driver knee protection, but rear-seat side airbags are available to take the total count to nine. Also included are ABS, traction and stability control, tire pressure monitoring, rain-sensing wipers, LED lights all around, high-beam assist, and active LED lights at the front.
On the driver assistance side, it has attention assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, Pre-Safe, and active brake assist. An optional driver assistance package is available which includes the full slew of adaptive cruise control and all the various assistants that make that possible.
If you're shopping this GT 43 4-Door, you're probably also cross-shopping the less expensive versions of the Porsche Panamera and maybe even the Audi A7 and the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe. They're all buttoned up German autobahn burners that will hold triple digit speeds without breaking a sweat.
Of the GT lineup, we like the 53 the best. It's about $10,000 more than the GT 43 but still way less than those V8-powered monsters. And it comes with a healthy 429 hp in the same package. The problem with the six-pot GTs is the existence of the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53. It has the same platform, the same engine, similar specs, and arguably more resolved looks. Yes, it's not as hardcore, but if you're buying a 43 or 53, you're not really after hardcore, are you? The CLS has more power at the same price, which makes it tough to justify the GT 43.
If you're adamant that a GT is what you need, the AMG GT 43 4-Door coupe strikes a balance between size, performance, and price that's hard to beat. It feels nimble in traffic, and easy to toss around, and the 4Matic system sends power rearward at the limit so there's no understeer to speak of. It gets a demerit for only having two seats in the back, but it makes up for that in style and function, as soon as you get used to them all.
The Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 43 four-door has a price of $89,900. This base price excludes the $1,050 destination charge. A GT 53 model is around $10,000 more expensive, while the V8 model is roughly $50,000 more expensive. But the price you see isn't the price you necessarily pay, as Mercedes typically charges an arm and a leg for options. Fully specced, the cost of the GT43 can easily reach $129,000 including destination.
The GT 43 is the entry-level model in the part of the larger Mercedes-AMG GT four-door range. We review the GT 53 and 63 models separately.
It has the same sultry body as the rest of the range and the same four-seat configuration. The 43 is powered by the turbocharged inline-6 with mild-hybrid assistance from the GT 53 but detuned to provide 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The power is sent to an AWD system via a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Exterior features include full LED lights with auto-high beam assist and active LEDs at the front, 19-inch alloy wheels, and a power sunroof. The tailgate is powered, as are the side mirrors. On the inside, it comes standard with dual 12.3-inch screens, MBUX, dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable heated front seats with a memory function, and a Burmester surround sound system. Driver assistance features include attention assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, Pre-Safe, and active brake assist.
There are four main packages for the GT 43. The most affordable is the Air Balance Package ($350), which is essentially an air purification and fragrance system. Merc's Warmth and Comfort Package costs $1,050 and adds rapid heating for the front seats, heated front armrests, and a heated steering wheel. The Driver Assistance Package ($1,950) adds all of the latest driver assistance features like active cruise control with steering, congestion emergency braking, and active blind-spot monitoring and lane keep assist, to name a few.
The most interesting of the lot is the Executive Rear Seat Package, which adds 40/40 split-folding rear seats, and a full center console with closed-in storage and heated and cooled rear cupholders. This package also adds tri-zone climate control, wireless charging for the rear seats, USB ports for the rear seats, and a rear-cabin touchscreen display. It retails for $3,550.
A few standalone options are available, too, like the panoramic sunroof at $2,100 or the various AMG Performance steering wheels ranging from $500 to $900 depending on what they're clad with. A heard steering wheel is $250, ventilated front seats are $450, and heated rear seats are $580. You can also spec a head-up display for $1,100 or an AMG Performance exhaust for $1,850 on the performance side, while luxury like the soft-close doors will set you back $550 and massaging front seats will add $1,320 to the bill. Want a little more support from the seats? The AMG Performance front buckets cost $2,500.
If we were buying the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 43 4-Door coupe, we'd start with a good color like $720 Brilliant Blue Metallic, but stick with the smaller stock wheels to keep the ride soft. We'd probably skip the $750 Night Package that blacks out the mirrors and other accents. That panoramic roof is sweet, so we'd add that even though it's $2,100.
Inside, we'd keep the free "Dinamica" material, and spec it with the also-free natural grain wood. The Executive Rear Seat Package is cool too, but expensive. Our kids don't need their own 115-volt plug or wireless charging, yet. We'd also keep the included steering wheel, seatbelts and headliner.
Since we're testing this GT 43 in the northern states, we would add the Warmth and Comfort Package that includes a heated armrest, door panel and steering wheel for $1,050. Unfortunately it forces another $3,000 in seat materials, so we're skipping it.
Other options include performance seats, three-zone climate control, head-up display, which are all nice to have, but skippable. This tester had the massaging seats (they cost $1,320), but they too forced another $4,000 in options, and we're trying to keep this under six figures. The Driver Assistance Package with all of the safety features and semi-autonomous stuff is a must at $1,950, but the base stereo is good, so no need for the $4,550 Burmester setup.
That brings us to $95,720, a few grand below the GT 53, with a slick cruiser at home on the open road and in the city for a night out.
You'd expect the Porsche to walk all over the Mercedes, but no. At the price, the most Porsche can give you is a base model that still uses the older 3.0L turbocharged V6 instead of the new 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6. This particular engine only produces 330 hp, placing the GT in the lead when it comes to power and performance. The Porsche has a magnificent chassis, but the GT four-door gets exceptionally close. And besides, the old V6 is nowhere near powerful enough to get the best out of its heavy weight. Feature-wise, the Porsche has the same problem as the Mercedes in that neither really gives you more than the basics. In standard trim, the Porsche also looks dull, and to do anything about the spec and the looks quickly pushes you into six-figure territory. But it's not all bad for the Stuttgart entrant into this comparison. It's more practical, with a larger trunk and the ability to fold the rear seats for true versatility. It can even be had in long-wheelbase Executive guise for more rear passenger room. Mercedes-AMG never had it easy entering a segment Porsche created, but while it does an admirable job of it, aside from the powertrain and styling, we feel the Porsche nails the brief a little better, even if you have to pay for that superiority.
You could spend $10,0000 on optional extras or simply get a base GT 53. The power increase may not be noticeable when looking at the sprint figures, although the GT 53 is four-tenths quicker to 60 - but the 429 hp and 384 lb-ft output make a big difference at highway speeds. Passing power is strong, and it's a little easier to exploit the GT's naughtier driving modes.
Mercedes offers even more exciting alternatives, but these most basic ones are very, very similar, both in performance and specification. Most buyers will never be able to tell the difference out on the road, and considering the specification is otherwise the same, we're not sure offering both derivatives is a smart move from AMG. We'd take the GT 43 as better value for money, but in reality, a CLS 53 is a better version of both in a similar package.
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