by Gerhard Horn
A little over a decade ago, Mercedes-Benz let AMG do its own thing. This was a momentous occasion, as AMG's mad scientists were finally let off their leash. The result was the SLS, and it was bonkers. It was replaced with the equally quick yet way more docile AMG GT two-door coupe after a reasonably short lifecycle. With the difficult second album completed, AMG moved on to the third act, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 four-door coupe.
Two AMG GT 63 four-door coupes are available, both powered by the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. The standard 63 delivers 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, while the 63 S packs a massive 630 hp and 664 lb-ft punch. The AMG GT 63 is not as bespoke as the models mentioned above, though. It has more in common with traditional Mercedes-AMG models. Under the skin, it's essentially underpinned by the Mercedes-AMG E63 Sedan, only with an added dose of power. But with full AMG development, the model that takes the place of the old CLS 63, and the same ingredients as the E63 make for a different recipe with the Porsche Panamera Turbo firmly in its sights.
The GT hasn't been around for long enough to receive a substantial upgrade. However, a brand new GT 43 powered by an inline-6 with EQ boost joins the line-up alongside the 53. We review these models separately.
See trim levels and configurations:
The GT 63 is meant to be a four-door coupe, based on the design DNA of the GT sports car. While we're not entirely sure the designers completed the brief, we can't deny that it looks sensational. The coupe-inspired design is most noticeable from the rear. Note the slim light clusters, quad tailpipes, and a drastically sloping roofline that aims to mimic the coupe's bulbous butt.
You get a long hood with aggressive power bulges and the famous AMG Panamericana grille at the front. The generic headlights are not that impressive, but they come as standard with LED main bulbs and daytime running lights. 19-inch rims are standard on the 63, while the S gets 20s. There are 21-inch options available for both cars.
The AMG GT 63 is a midsize sedan in classification, with dimensions that include an overall length just 0.8 inches shy of 200 inches. This long, svelte body hides a 116.2-inch wheelbase. The overall width, with the mirrors, is 81.5 inches, and it's 56.8 inches tall. The S model is slightly taller at 57 inches, thanks to the larger wheels. Mercedes-AMG does not provide a curb weight figure for US-spec models, but independent tests have shown figures of between 4,447 pounds to 4,600 lbs. In case you were wondering what Mercedes-AMG was aiming for, the Porsche Panamera has nearly identical figures.
The AMG GT 63's color palette is ten colors strong. No-cost options include Polar White, Cirrus Silver, Graphite Grey, Brilliant Blue, and Jupiter Red. The only standard metallic color that costs extra is Obsidian Black, retailing for $720. There are four designo colors available as well. The most affordable is Diamond White at $1,515. Selenite Grey Magno, Brilliant Blue Magno, and Graphite Grey Magno cost $3,950 each.
Mercedes-AMG's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 is one of the best internal combustion engines of the modern era, and possibly the combustion era. It has such a broad range of applications since it provides low-down torque, but it's rev-happy as well. In our opinion, it works best when mated to Merc's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, as is the case with the GT 63. Thanks to the AWD traction, both models will get from 0-60 mph in less than four seconds. Mercedes-AMG claims 3.3 seconds for the 63 and 3.1 seconds for the S, which is not surprising, considering the 63 has a power output of 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, increasing to a mental 630 hp and 664 lb-ft in the S. The base model has a top speed of 193 mph, while the S can manage 195 mph. To put that in perspective, the mighty Porsche Panamera Turbo also uses a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8, but it only develops 550 horsepower.
The GT is supercar fast in a straight line thanks to the Race Start (marketing speak for launch control). Passengers that aren't used to a car that hauls as hard as this will find the experience disconcerting. But to keep it from feeling cold and clinical once the launch is over, AMG also includes a Drift Mode, disengaging the front axle completely and disabling all of the electronic nannies. As in entirely off, and not just off until they realize things are getting out of control.
The German horsepower war is entirely out of control. Each new car comes with a seemingly stupid amount of horses. Mercedes-AMG launches the E63 with 603 hp, and BMW responds with a 617-hp M5. This war continued to the point where the engineers realized they could no longer rely on just the rear wheels' contact patches for traction. Now the standard is AWD. It seems Audi was right all along…
The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 employed here goes even further, with up to 630 hp and 664 lb-ft in S guise, although the 'normal' 63 generates an only-slightly-less-terrifying 577 hp and 590 lb-ft. It's mated to a nine-speed AMG Speedshift MCT transmission, which plays a big role in the GT's split personality. In comfort mode, it's refined and fast, quickly blending into the background. It will happily use second gear to accelerate away from the traffic lights in a docile, relaxed fashion.
It hammers through the gears in the more ferocious settings, providing a seemingly endless surge of power. The launch control system is brilliant. Claimed acceleration figures are generally useless because they're hard to replicate in real-world test drives. And you have to be quite abusive to whatever car to get the best result, especially if it has a manual gearbox. The Merc's system will help you achieve the exact impressive sprint times as claimed on the website. You can manually override the system via paddles on the steering wheel, but the various driving modes are so good that it's simply not necessary.
Naturally, being an AMG, the V8 has a throaty exhaust as well. Some say the twin-turbo isn't as vocal as the naturally-aspirated motors of yonder. To be frank, we don't know what they're on about because the GT has one of the best soundtracks in the business. Mercedes could eradicate the infotainment, and it wouldn't bother us one bit.
There's a lot to talk about in this segment, so let's start with the basics. The GT is equipped with an AMG Sport suspension with adaptive damping. Unlike various other cars (some AMG products included), adaptive damping isn't just a fancy way of saying that you can select between varying degrees of discomfort. The Comfort setting is just that. Sure, it's stiffer than a proper luxury sedan but more than good enough for daily use. The other settings are simply too stiff for anything but silky smooth racetrack tarmac. Mercifully, an Individual setting allows you to set the suspension in Comfort and everything else in Sport, or whatever other combination of drive modes you want.
The 4Matic AWD allows you to enjoy the full power in a way that just isn't possible in a RWD car. Thanks to most of the weight being up front, it will understeer on the limit. Most see this as a negative, but it's the safest setup. A person's driving talent doesn't necessarily increase when their bank balance does. The brakes are also excellent, providing good pedal feel and epic stopping power. It's a sophisticated driving experience, and you don't have to work hard to get the most out of it.
We have to wonder whether some of the historic AMG magic hasn't been lost, though. The GT 63 is brutally effective but seems to have lost some of the emotion present in AMG's greatest hits - like the CLK 63 AMG Black Series.
Mercedes-AMG's engineers have not completely lost track of their roots, however. As with most AMGs these days, the GT has Drift Mode (only available with optional AMG Dynamic Plus Package). A word of caution: this mode is not a toy, and we're pretty surprised it hasn't been declared illegal in our health and safety-obsessed world.
Thankfully, the USA still allows Drift Mode. But unlike its Race Start counterpart, this mode won't flatter you. Doing donuts is easy enough, as you just keep your right foot planted, but proper skids require a lot more work. Getting it sideways is easy enough. Keeping it there is the trick. Once again, the engine shows its brilliance, as the linear torque curve doesn't have any nasty surprises that will send you flying off the track.
According to the EPA, both models are capable of achieving gas mileage figures of 16/21/18 mpg city/highway/combined. This is marginally better than the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, which has figures of 15/21/17 mpg. We weren't expecting the GT to be frugal, but we do take issue with the small gas tank. It's just 17.4 gallons big, resulting in a range of 296 miles between refills. That's the best-case scenario, and in the real world, it will be even less. For a grand tourer, the range is pitiful.
The GT 4-Door has an interior inspired both by the GT sports car and Merc's high-end sedans. You get the same aggressive center console between the driver and passenger, but the chunky jet-like air vents have been scaled-down and incorporated into a swooping wraparound dashboard. Quality and attention to detail are superb. This is an expensive Mercedes-AMG product, after all. The twin 12.3-inch screens add a modern touch, but we do think the ambient lighting is a step too far. We much prefer the restrained cabin on the GT coupe to the Vegas-like strips of light on the dash and center console of the GT four-door.
Even though the GT is based on the E-Class, its svelte exterior design results in a few sacrifices. First of all, the low-slung body makes ingress and egress a bit harder. Due to the sloping roofline and coupe-like styling, rear headroom and legroom are less than ideal. At least Mercedes-AMG had the common sense to design the GT as a strict four-seater. This means you get two contoured rear seats instead of a bench. These seats also keep rear passengers in place when one of the more hostile driving modes is engaged. There are no claimed figures for legroom, but the headroom is 40.8 inches in the front and 38.2 inches in the rear.
Black Nappa leather and a combination of Black/Magma Grey are no-cost options but the latter requires the addition of designo Grey Dinamica headliner on the base model for an additional $1,600. Exclusive Nappa seats cost an additional $2,160 and are available in Black, Auburn Brown and Black, Red Pepper and Black, and Magma Grey and Black. They also require the additional $1,600 headliner upgrade in base GT trim. The cross-stitched options retail for $2,560 and are available in Saddle Brown, Macchiato Beige, and Magma Grey. To get access to this option, you have to pay extra for AMG Performance seats, and/or the Executive Rear Seat Package. Availability also depends on your chosen color scheme and the headliner that goes with it.
Trim options include Piano Black, Natural Grain Ash Wood, and Natural Grain Grey Ash Wood. Carbon fiber trim costs an additional $2,850.
It's hard not to feel let down by the small trunk and impracticality considering how large the GT actually is. The trunk measures in at 12.7 cubic feet, which is a decent amount of space but nowhere near spectacular. The hatchback opening is large and powered, so accessing the space is easy. The regular seats don't fold flat, and you have to pay an additional $3,550 for the Executive Rear Seat Package to get 40/40 split-folding rear seats. This package also adds heated and cooled rear cupholders, tri-zone climate control, and rear wireless charging, making it a worthwhile investment.
Interior storage is ample. The rear seat divider has enough storage for rear-seat passengers, while a pair of cupholders, center armrest storage, and a decent-sized glovebox take care of storage needs up front.
The AMG GT 63 has a starting price of over $140,000, so it's only reasonable to expect a substantial standard features list. Underneath the skin, it comes with an adaptive air suspension and rear-wheel steering, while on the exterior front, it comes with full LED lights, an active rear spoiler, rain-sensing wipers, and heated washers on the outside. Safety specs include drowsy driver detection, crosswind assist, automatic parking assist, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and Pre-Safe collision preparation.
Comfort-wise, you get power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, remote start, keyless entry with push-button start, a power liftgate, and dual-zone climate control. The options list still has some nice features left, many of which we think should have been standard at this price. Examples include tri-zone climate control, massaging seats, a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera.
The interior has two 12.3-inch displays - one that serves as the instrument cluster and the other as the basis for the infotainment system. Thankfully, Mercedes finally dumped the old COMAND system, and the GT is now equipped with MBUX. It's compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, Bluetooth, SiriusXM. The big difference between the old and new system is the voice recognition software with basic artificial intelligence. You can now also use the touchscreen display instead of fingering the touchpad. A Burmester 14-speaker sound system is standard, but you can upgrade it to a 25-speaker system.
The GT doesn't have a J.D. Power Rating, but Mercedes-Benz generally does well in this famous ownership survey. It won the overall quality award, which is given to brands with the least amount of problems reported within the first 90 days of ownership.
Despite the brand's great reputation, the 2021 AMG GT 63 has already been the subject of three recalls in the USA, including one as part of a brand-wide recall for inaccurate vehicle location for emergency services. The remaining two were for a faulty power cable for the starter and a faulty front seat position switch.
Regardless of reliability ratings and recalls, Mercedes covers the AMG GT 63 with a 48-month/50,000-mile basic warranty.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has completed a comprehensive review of the Mercedes AMG GT 63. This is not uncommon when it comes to expensive cars. Mercedes has received several Top Safety Pick and Safety Pick + awards for various other models, in addition to awards for their advanced driver assistance systems. There's no reason to believe the GT will be anything but brilliant in the event of a crash.
As standard, you get LED headlights with high-beam assist, automatic braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, crosswind assist, a rearview camera, seven airbags, and Pre-Safe crash preparation. Optional extras include adaptive cruise control, autonomous lane-change, lane-keep assist, and a surround-view camera. At this price level, all of these really should have been standard fitment.
The new 2021 AMG GT 63 is a good car, but it's hard to justify. Yes, the styling is great, and the interior space isn't as bad, but the trunk is too small. You also can't fold the rear seats flat unless you pay extra. That being said, it is an epic cross-country cruiser.
The engine is a bit thirsty, and the gas tank is annoyingly small, not to mention you have to pay extra for some safety equipment that should be standard. On the plus side, it's an easy car to drive fast. It does the Jekyll and Hyde thing very well, and it will likely thrill you every time you get in it.
This car's main problem is its high price and the existence of the E63 Wagon, which we cover in more detail in the comparisons down below.
The base Mercedes AMG GT 63 carries an MSRP of $140,600, while the more powerful 63 S retails for $161,900. This excludes the destination fee of $1,050. It seems like a lot of money, but it's reasonable compared to the Porsche Panamera. The Turbo S model retails for $179,095 and is not as fast as the 63 S. For around the same money as the standard model, Porsche will sell you a Panamera GTS that also uses a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, but with only 473 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque.
There are two models in the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 range: GT 63 and GT 63 S.
The non-S model can be considered the base here, despite two models sitting beneath it in the overall GT four-door range. It's equipped with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 delivering 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed automatic transmission sends all that power to Merc's 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
The base car gets 19-inch wheels, adaptive air suspension, Nappa leather seats, dual 12.3-inch digital displays, dual-zone climate control, heated and ventilated seats, and the MBUX infotainment system with voice activation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio, and a 14-speaker Burmester sound system.
The GT 63 S uses the same engine with increased power outputs: 630 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. It gets 20-inch alloy wheels, and you can opt for a carbon-fiber roof. The S also gets Race and Drift Mode as standard, the AMG Drive Unit on the steering wheel, and dynamic engine and transmission mounts.
For added practicality, opt for the Executive Rear Seat Package. It costs $3,550 and adds heated and cooled cupholders, tri-zone climate control, two USB charge ports, and a touchscreen display to control the infotainment system. This also allows you to fold the rear seats flat for more cargo capacity. The Driver Assistance Package adds all of the advanced driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, active steering assist, and evasive steering assist, to name just a few. Keen drivers have to add the AMG Dynamic Plus Package to the base model ($3,000) consisting of dynamic engine and transmission mounts, Race and Drift modes, and yellow brake calipers. Notable standalone options include AMG Performance Seats for $2,500 and the $4,550 Burmester 3D surround-sound system.
The GT 63 S may sound more appealing, but it's for sale at $20,000 more. For that, you get more power and torque, larger alloy wheels, dynamic engine and transmission mounts, Race and Drift modes, the steering-wheel-mounted AMG Drive Unit, and a 0-60 mph time that's 0.2 seconds faster. However, aside from the power, the Dynamic Plus Package is available on the base model for just $3,000 and the AMG Drive Unit costs just $400. There's hardly any difference in top speed, not that you're going to be doing it anyway. We'd save that $20,000 and spend it on all the lovely optional systems mentioned above instead.
The Panamera Turbo S is the GT's closest rival in terms of body style. Both four-door coupes are odd hatch-like sedans that have been styled to look like coupes. The Turbo S is more expensive, but it gets close in terms of power. Its twin-turbo develops 620 hp and 604 lb-ft of torque. Fit the Sport Chrono Package, and it will outperform the Mercedes in a straight line, and it will achieve a higher top speed.
The Porsche is also more practical but not as handsome. It also has a tendency to feel a little clinical compared to the OTT Mercedes. We suspect a purchase like this will be emotionally driven, in which case the loony GT and its drift modes makes the most sense. Illogically speaking, of course.
Sibling competitors - the GT is based on the same platform as the E-Class, and that creates a massive problem. An AMG E-Class already exists, and it's magnificent. Even more so when you buy the Wagon version, which to our eyes looks even cooler than the GT. The E 63 S Wagon isn't as powerful, but 603 hp is hardly underpowered. You also get double the cargo capacity, the ability to carry five passengers, and most of the standard features. All of this already makes a compelling case for rather going the E63 route.
The final nail in the coffin is the $30,000 price difference, increasing to $50,000 in the case of the GT 63 S. Is the GT 63 midsize sedan really $30,000 to $50,000 better than the E 63 S Wagon. Not by a long shot.
The most popular competitors of 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 63: