by Jake Lingeman
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
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.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
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.
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.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 43:
Check out some informative Mercedes-AMG GT 43 video reviews below.