The 2021 Mercedes-AMG AMG GT 53 is one of four current models within the flagship GT 4-Door lineup. The others being the GT 43, GT 63, and GT 63 S, with a GT 73e in the works as well. Mercedes wanted to bring the flavor of its AMG GT sports car to a wider audience, so it attached the name to a more practical car and dubbed it a four-door coupe. Though this model shares a name with the GT, it actually shares more in common with the E-Class, including its platform. CarBuzz recently drove the GT 53, a Goldilocks variant of the GT 4-Door with a mild-hybrid inline six developing 429 horsepower that we believe might be the best of the bunch.
Based on its price and wide ranging power options, the GT 53 doesn't have many direct rivals. Some of the closest competitors include the Audi S7, BMW M850i Gran Coupe, and Porsche Panamera. With the Porsche being the lone exception, the other options in this category offer more power than the AMG GT 53 at a lower price. Does this mean the 2021 AMG GT 53 isn't worth considering? A week driving one proved otherwise.
The major change to the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 53 sees the older COMAND infotainment interface replaced by a new MBUX system - this setup includes voice controls activated by the 'Hey Mercedes' verbal prompt. Mercedes also offers MBUX augmented reality, an interior assistant, and a dash cam as new options for this year. Cirrus Silver has been added to the color palette, but otherwise, the GT 53 remains unchanged.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 53 has a starting MSRP in the USA of $99,950. This excludes all options as well as the destination charge of $1,050. For $10,000 less, you can get the new GT 43, while the V8-powered GT 63 starts at a far more expensive $140,600. Remarkably, the AMG GT 53 price can balloon to that of the base GT 63 when enough options are added to it. Within the GT range, the GT 53 seems like the best-value model for sale.
See trim levels and configurations:
|AMG GT 53 4MATIC||
3.0L Turbo Inline-6 Gas
Coupes traditionally handle better than sedans by virtue of a stronger chassis. Fewer apertures means less twist through the body, but the moment it becomes a four-door coupe, the name is nothing more than marketing baloney to describe the stylistic aspect of it. However, while the AMG GT 53 might share a platform with the AMG E63, the fact that this was engineered by the AMG division from the ground up means it feels rather different to the sedan on which it's loosely based. From the moment you turn the steering wheel, the GT 53 makes its shaper handling prowess known. Even compared to the E63 S Wagon we drove just a few weeks prior, the GT 53's steering rack feels sharper and more communicative to the driver.
We were most impressed with the balanced ride comfort on the GT 53. AMG's 63 models are far too jarring, but the 53 models have a more compliant ride. The GT 53 features independent multi-link suspension with coil springs and adjustable dampers. In their Comfort setting, the car floats along nicely and even in the Sport Plus Mode, the ride doesn't feel too harsh. In the AMG pantheon, we feel the 53 cars provide the ideal balance of comfort and performance. This car tends to feel pretty lackadaisical in its Comfort Mode, but Sport Plus Mode wakes it up and tells the engine and exhaust to deliver a throatier roar with some exhaust crackles for good measure. There's no Race Mode or drift setting like the GT 63 S, this variant is meant to be a competent cruiser with daily-driver comfort. We think the AMG GT 53 delivers a more engaging experience than the Audi S7 or BMW M850i, though the Porsche Panamera 4S delivers comparable driving pleasure.
Buyers shopping in the six-figure price bracket have plenty of options, but the 2021 AMG GT 53 is certainly one to consider. We think this is one of the prettiest vehicles in its class and it also packs the most opulent interior. Performance might not be best-in-class - the BMW M850i Gran Coupe delivers two more cylinders and nearly 100 more horsepower for around the same price - but power from the mild-hybrid inline-six proves to be plentiful enough for use on public roads. Anyone who test drives one of AMG's 63-branded models and comes back needing a chiropractor might prefer the GT 53's gentler approach to performance.
As a downside, the AMG GT suffers from some key ergonomic shortcomings that detract from its everyday usefulness. The cupholder design and positioning are abysmal, as is the rear seat positioning and inability to fold the rear seats completely to expand the trunk. Both the Audi S7 and Porsche Panamera allow drivers to fold down the rear seats flat, but the AMG GT 53 annoyingly leaves the middle 20% section fixed.
With a bit more power and some ergonomic improvements, the 2021 AMG GT 53 might be a no-brainer choice. As it sits, we prefer the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 for nearly $20k less.
The AMG GT 43 might seem tempting for $10,000 less, but we think the GT 53 provides ideal performance levels without entering the punishing territory reached by the GT 63 and GT 63 S. Pricing starts at just under $100,000, but there's no way we'd leave the dealership without a few important options. We think the no-cost wheel and color options look acceptable, so we'd save our money to deck out the interior. Some must-haves include the Nappa leather seats ($2,990), AMG performance steering wheel in Nappa/Dinamica ($500), multicontour seats with massage ($1,320), and the Driver Assistance Package ($1,950). With these and a few other features, the AMG GT 53 rings in at $108,810, but for under $120k, you can even splash out on some fancy wheel designs and interior colors other than black.
The Panamera is another interesting alternative to a traditional luxury sedan so makes sense as a GT 53 rival. It starts at $87,200, over $10,000 less than the GT 53, but that base model isn't as quick as the GT 53 and nor is it as well-equipped. A better match for the Merc is the Panamera 4S, which is just over $5,000 more expensive but quicker, needing only 4.1 seconds to reach 60 mph. The Porsche rides with great composure and is a superb handler, plus it benefits from the class-leading PDK dual-clutch gearbox. The Panamera can also be equipped with a smaller center rear seat, allowing it to accommodate an extra passenger at a squeeze. However, the Porsche's options are alarmingly expensive (adaptive cruise control is $2,250, more than the Merc's entire 14-feature Driver Assist Package). We also think that the GT is a much prettier thing, inside and out, and it's not far behind the Porsche in terms of agility. We'd go for the GT 53.
What's another $40,000, after all? For almost the same price as a base C-Class Sedan, you can upgrade to the rorty, V8-powered GT 63. While the GT 53's powertrain harmoniously exists as just one of the car's numerous attributes, the GT 63's twin-turbo V8 simply dominates the package. It sounds marvelous and produces 577 hp, shaving over a second off the GT 53's 0-60 time. The GT 63 also comes with additional performance goodies like a race start function, active rear-wheel steering, and an AMG performance exhaust system. These all make it a more thrilling machine to pilot. Inside, the GT 63 boasts standard Nappa leather and ventilated front seats. If you never drive the GT 63, you'll likely be perfectly happy with the GT 53. But that V8 is hard to resist, and even with its enormous price premium, the GT 63 is the one we want more, even if it will require regular visits to the chiropractor as well.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 53: