by Sebastian Cenizo
Determined to squeeze every last drop of turnover out of every last niche imaginable, Mercedes-AMG was not content with its CLS and instead made another "four-door coupe" for a select few to buy. The difference, however, is that this one is claimed to share DNA with the AMG GT supercar. Funny, then, that it's actually based on an E-Class. Confusing money-making tactics aside, the GT 63 and GT 63 S four-door coupes are impressive machines, both powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that sends power to all four wheels via a nine-speed MCT auto. In the base model, the figures are 577 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, but if that doesn't satisfy your lust for insanity, the S version has a stratospheric 630 hp and 664 lb-ft. With 0-60 mph times as low as 3.1 seconds, the GT 63 leaves the Porsche Panamera Turbo behind in terms of performance and absolutely destroys it in the looks department too - not that making a prettier car than the Panamera is a difficult thing to do.
Not much has been changed for the 2020 year model since this is a new vehicle to the market in any case, with just a year under its belt. Nevertheless, there are some subtle differences in standard and optional features. An AMG Performance exhaust is now standard on the regular GT 63, while the GT 63 S is also updated with the option of a carbon fiber roof. All variants now have access to a panoramic roof for the first time.
Since this is a four-door coupe, a sloping roofline housing a traditional sunroof and a short rear-end are the most obvious design features of the GT 63. The long hood features twin power bulges since this is an AMG car, with the front dominated by the Panamericana grille. Gaping air dams and LED headlights and daytime running lights add an intimidating presence, but the profile is much more sedate. The fake fender vents aren't as aggressively sharpened as they are on most other AMG vehicles, and the waistline is subtle and smooth, merging seamlessly with the raised hips of the car. At the back, the usual fake vents and diffuser are present, with extended LED taillights trying to add an impression of width, which is undone by the tapered trunk area, where you'll find an adaptive rear wing that can deploy at speed or under hard braking for more downforce. The ever-present quad exhaust tips are a feature once again, but they're considerably larger than on other AMGs with four portals. 19-inch wheels are standard on the base model with 20s fitted to the S, while both have access to 21s for an even more aggressive look.
Despite being classified as a compact car, the GT 63 is quite a large machine, measuring just under 200 inches from nose to tail. Its wheelbase is 116.2 inches while width is 81.5 inches, so narrow back roads are probably not going to be your friend when an 18-wheeler is coming towards you. Height measures 56.8 inches on the regular model and 57 inches on the S, thanks to its larger wheels. Curb weight hovers somewhere around 4,400 lbs. Interestingly, many of these figures are almost identical to those of the Panamera Turbo, with the exception of curb weight, where the Porsche is more than 100 pounds lardier.
Nine colors are available for either variant of the GT 63, with Polar White and the striking Jupiter Red as your free options. Also available are metallic hues like Obsidian Black, Iridium Silver, Graphite Grey, and Brilliant Blue for $720 a pop. Designo Diamond White is a $1,515 option, while designo Selenite Grey Magno and designo Brilliant Blue Magno are your matte choices. These cost $3,950 each but are truly excessive and are unnecessary, in our opinion. We'd opt for Jupiter Red or Obsidian Black.
Thanks to Race Start (launch control), both versions of the GT 63 are sub-four-second sprinters in the race from 0-60 mph. The base model's 577 hp and 590 lb-ft 4.0-liter V8, with its twin-turbo thrust, 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive, and nine-speed automatic, manages a time of just 3.3 seconds, while the S version brings that down further to just 3.1 seconds. This is thanks to an increase in power to a monumental - emphasis on mental - 630 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. By contrast, the Porsche Panamera Turbo only manages a 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds, since it has a measly 550 horses, despite also using a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. The AMG's top speed in base form is a mighty 193 mph, while the S raises the limiter by just two mph - just for bragging rights. With such impressive figures, you can easily nauseate your passengers while you take on much lighter and more dedicated sports coupes. If a sore loser boasts that their vehicle is more fun to drive, the activation of the drift mode will allow you to direct all motivation to the rear axle and deactivate traction safeguards for sideways slide-fests.
If you've ever looked at the power figures of modern cars, particularly those from the German performance triumvirate, and wondered why it is that we're so desensitized to four-door vehicles with power figures more than three times those of sports cars from a couple of decades ago, the reason is simple: delivery is so much more refined and accessible than ever before. The 577-hp, 590-lb-ft AMG GT 63 is a fine example of this, with its multiple drive modes allowing you to choose between laidback cruising comfort and all-out Autobahn assaults. The S variant's 630 horses and 664 lb-ft of twist are just as multi-faceted too, with the same 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine shared between the pair.
This vehicle is docile when you want it to be, and ridiculous when you ask for its dark side. The adaptive exhaust allows you to appear civilized on the daily commute while also making room for you to let your hair down on the track - not that many owners are likely to ever dip their toes in that water with this vehicle. A refined yet brutal engine can easily be overlooked if the transmission is not up to scratch, but the nine-speed MCT unit in the GT 63 is an outstanding gearbox, changing smoothly and serenely in comfort modes, and displaying ridiculous ferocity in race mode. With launch control, you don't have to be a nose-pierced Formula 1 driver with miraculous hair regrowth to leave your Porsche buddies in the dust. Despite its majestic figures, the AMG GT 63's engine is one of the few power plants that can be truly bipolar, allowing you to rev its nuts off and be a hooligan without embarrassing yourself and then still quietly purr along when you want to unwind. It's no wonder that this engine sees duty in so many Affalterbach exploits - it's a masterpiece, perfectly balanced by a fantastic gearbox.
The GT 63 is equipped with AMG Sport suspension with adaptive airbags, allowing it to switch between a comfortable and compliant ride that cossets passengers in comfort and stiffens when more dynamism is required. Although this system has its faults in other AMG products, where it seems one-dimensional and far too harsh, the GT 63 is remarkably different, managing to be good enough to drive daily. Small bumps are hardly noticeable, with bigger ones doing little to unsettle the car. However, thanks to a front-biased weight distribution setup, the GT 63 can understeer on the limit. Even so, a bit of practice will teach you that momentum and well-timed brake and throttle modulation can go a long way to remedying the situation. Speaking of the brakes, they are excellent, with good pedal feel and no jerky responses.
Impressively for a vehicle of this size and weight, when you're not at the absolute limit, the steering is direct and well-weighted. In fact, it's better than in some dedicated sports cars. That said, we still don't like the comfort mode's overly-assisted setup, but that's what buyers prefer and there's little that is likely to change about this. One of the inclusions in this model that makes us - and the myriad of AMG fans - giddy with excitement is the option to switch to a drift mode. Although the process is a little complicated, once activated you have no power on the front axle and no traction control. Being able to drift a behemoth like this, something that is meant first and foremost to be a stylish and comfortable car, is something the enthusiast will never tire of, even if the cost of rear rubber bankrupts said individual.
The GT 63's official EPA figures are 15/20/17 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. Since its combined figure is lower than 22.5, you have to pay a gas guzzler tax. The Porsche Panamera Turbo performs considerably better, managing 18/25/21 mpg on the same cycles. If it's long-range economy you're after, avoid the Merc, as it has a fuel tank capacity of just 17.4 gallons, so you'll only manage around 296 miles between fillups.
Finding an ugly Mercedes interior these days is difficult, although some are aging slightly. The GT 63 is not one of these. It's wraparound dash, Nappa leather and faux suede upholstery, and jet-engine-like air vents are exquisite. A pair of 12.3-inch screens serve as driver info and infotainment displays, while ambient lighting and a sleek and unique center console add modernity to the airy cabin. As always, the craftsmanship and attention to detail are spectacular, while standard heated and ventilated front seats up the luxury levels. Optional tri-zone climate control and an available head-up display further elevate the interior, while available AMG Performance front seats make the GT 63 more sporty.
Unlike many vehicles of this style that claim to house five people, the GT 63 is marketed as a strict four-seater with individual rear seats and a center storage area to divide the two. This makes the contoured rear seats more supportive, which is handy when you could be going sideways. Due to the sloped roofline and coupe styling, rear headroom and legroom are not the greatest, but they are acceptable, even for taller individuals, although some may have to duck on their way in and out. The front is expansive, and the power-adjustable seats can be fine-tuned for perfect positioning. The view out is acceptable in all directions, with impressive visibility in the rear three quarters, where extended glass and low haunches help you check your blind spots properly.
Nappa leather is standard fare in the GT 63, with a number of different configurations available to suit your tastes. Black and Black with Magma Grey are your no-cost options, while Exclusive Nappa is available at $2,160 in your choice of Black, Auburn Brown and Black, Red Pepper and Black, and Magma Grey and Black. Cross-stitched Saddle Brown or Macchiato Beige and Magma Grey cost $2,560, with black Nappa contrasted by faux suede and either yellow or red stitching costs the same. Interior accents can be had in Black Piano, Natural Grain Brown Ash wood, or Natural Grain Grey Ash wood at no charge, while carbon fiber adds $2,850 to your bill.
Despite its impressive proportions and generous interior room, the GT 63 is not a practical car that will do anything and everything. For that, you need an E63 Wagon. The trunk on this car is a respectable 12.7 cubic feet in size, with a large hatchback opening and a power trunk lid to make loading easy. However, that space is all you have unless you spec the Executive Rear Seat package, which allows the seats (not the center divider) to fold in a 40/40 split. The regular seats don't fold at all and instead have a solid carbon fiber backing. This means that rivals like the Panamera that allow for more versatility, will be more practical in daily use.
In the cabin, there's a considerable amount of storage, with the rear-seat divider housing a pair of shallow bins. Each door also has a generous pocket, while the front half of the cabin has a place to wirelessly charge your phone, a center armrest with hidden storage, and a decent glovebox. A pair of cupholders are also included at the front, while the rear has access to optional heated and cooled cupholders.
The GT 63 is not short on tech, sporting adaptive air suspension, rear-wheel-steering, an active rear spoiler, a 12.3-inch driver info display, adaptive LED headlights with auto high beams, and even auto wipers with heated washers - all as standard. Other features included from the factory are a drowsy driver alert, crosswind assist, an automatic parking assistant, a rearview camera, 64-color ambient lighting, heated and ventilated front seats, wireless charging, remote start and keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, Pre-Safe collision preparation and crash noise reduction, a power liftgate, and dual-zone climate control. An AMG Track Pace performance monitor and lap timer is also included. Available options like heated front armrests, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats add luxury, as do available tri-zone climate control and massaging front seats. Adaptive cruise control, evasive steering, rear collision preparation, active blind-spot and lane-keep assists, a head-up display, and autonomous lane-change assist can all be added for more safety. Look down the options list and you can spec features like a heated windshield, a surround-view camera, a panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled rear cupholders, a rear-cabin touch display for infotainment and climate, rear wireless charging, and soft-close doors.
The infotainment system is monitored and controlled through a 12.3-inch non-touch digital display with a console-mounted touchpad controller. The system is hooked up to a Burmester 14-speaker sound system, and while that may satisfy most, an Opera-house mimicking 25-speaker upgrade with ceiling-mounted speakers can create a truly 3D aural experience. The standard system features COMAND navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, voice control, NFC pairing, HD Radio, Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio, three USB ports, and an SD card slot. A pair of USB ports for the rear seats can be added, as can TuneIn Radio and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Unfortunately, the brilliant new MBUX infotainment system doesn't feature here just yet, but a possible refresh in 2020 will likely update the infotainment system and inflate the car's base price a little.
The Mercedes-AMG GT 63 has not been rated by J.D. Power for reliability and has no recalls thus far for the 2020 model year. However, 2019's version was subject to a single recall in November 2019. This was for a faulty seatbelt sensor that would detect seatbelts as being unlatched, thus not activating pre-tensioners in the event of a crash.
Warranty coverage includes a basic warranty for four years/50,000 miles. Drivetrain and corrosion warranties apply for the same period, as does roadside assistance. No complimentary scheduled maintenance is included.
Neither the IIHS nor the NHTSA has crash-tested the Mercedes-AMG GT 63, although this is not uncommon for vehicles in this segment. With a number of available safety crash-avoidance systems and standard adaptive LED headlights - which Mercedes has already won safety awards for - we expect that the GT 63 would perform well if it were to undergo testing.
Standard safety features on the GT 63 include adaptive LED headlights with auto high beams, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a drowsy driver alert, crosswind assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, Pre-Safe collision preparation and crash noise reduction, an automatic parking system, and a rearview camera. Available features include active evasive steering, active blind-spot assist, lane-keep assist, autonomous lane-change assist, adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera, Pre-Safe Plus rear-collision preparation, and a head-up display. Seven airbags are standard, with dual front and thorax/pelvic airbags for front occupants, plus curtain airbags at the front and rear. The driver's knee airbag fills the last spot.
As a practical four-door coupe, the GT 63 is remarkably spacious in the cabin, but uncompromising in the trunk. Lacking the ability to fold the rear seats completely, it can be hard to justify this as an all-rounder. However, as a vehicle to take four occupants from one corner of the country to the other in supreme comfort and at blistering pace, the GT 63 is exceptional. Its engine is a little thirsty, and the best safety equipment is reserved for an expensive options package, but few cars can handle the way this one does, battle tricky weather conditions, and be a blast to drive every day as well as on the rare occasion that rubber meets race track. Its looks can be polarizing, sure, but the design is not as heinous as some rivals. Overall, despite its foibles, this is an impressive and exhilarating machine that we'd be more than happy to use every single day. So, how about it, Mercedes?
The starting price of the base Mercedes-AMG GT 63 is a lofty $140,250. On top of that, you have to keep aside another $995 for destination charges, as well as an additional $1,000 for gas guzzler tax. This buys you a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a nine-speed auto sending 577 horsepower to all four 19-inch wheels. Opting for the top-of-the-range model, the GT 63 S, earns you the same setup but with 630 hp and 664 lb-ft - 74 more torques than the base version musters. Power is sent to 20-inch wheels as standard, and you have the option of a carbon fiber roof. Before adding charges, taxes, and options, the GT 63 S starts at $161,200. Getting carried away with the options is an expensive affair, and can cost over $210,000 for a fully loaded model, so be selective if you're considering a purchase.
The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 is available in two variants: GT 63 and GT 63 S.
The former is the base model, fitted with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 577 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed auto and 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive are your only options here, but a rear-wheel-drive drift mode is available. The GT 63 rides on 19-inch wheels and adaptive air suspension, with an interior upholstered in Nappa leather. A pair of 12.3-inch displays are used as a digital cluster and an infotainment screen respectively, with the latter featuring a 14-speaker Burmester sound system, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, HD Radio, Bluetooth, and a trio of USB ports. Rear-wheel-steering, launch control, a performance monitor and lap timer, voice control, COMAND navigation, dual-zone climate control, customizable ambient lighting, heated and ventilated front seats, and adaptive LED headlights are all standard.
The GT 63 S is largely the same but has increased output, boasting figures of 630 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. It also rides on bigger 20-inch wheels and has the option of a full carbon fiber roof, but is otherwise almost identical to the regular model. With more power and a more performance-oriented name, there's no doubt that most prospective buyers will be looking more closely at this model than the regular 63.
If you're likely to regularly host rear-seat passengers, or indeed allow yourself to be driven in this svelte four-door coupe, you may wish to consider the Executive Rear Seat package. This $3,550 add-on gives the rear half of the cabin more luxury, with heated and cooled cupholders, tri-zone climate control, wireless charging, a 115V power outlet, a pair of USB ports, and a small touchscreen display from which the infotainment and climate controls can be accessed.
If going fast matters more, ceramic-composite brakes and extreme performance tires are both standalone options and cost $8,950 and $600 respectively. More convenience and safety can be added with the Driver Assistance Package for $2,250. This adds a whole host of features, including adaptive cruise control, active evasive steering and brake assists, active blind-spot assist, active lane-change assist, lane-keep assist, and Pre-Safe Plus rear-collision preparation. The 25-speaker Burmester sound system upgrade costs $4,550 but cannot be specced in conjunction with the carbon roof or the panoramic sunroof, as ceiling-mounted speakers form a part of the package.
Both variants of the GT 63 are phenomenal performers and are capable of astonishing acceleration. With the 0-60 times between the two models separated by just two-tenths of a second and top speed also barely any different, we'd opt for the base model. Of course, the power delivery between zero and the top speed will be more intense in the S model, but the regular GT 63's 577 hp is more than enough for public roads, and this isn't a car you're likely to take to the track often, if ever. By saving $20,000-odd on the list price, you can spec massaging front seats, heated rear seats, heated front armrests, and a heated steering wheel, as well as ventilated front seats and the Driver Assistance package with its safety and driver aids - all without coming close to the GT 63 S model's starting price. It's a no-brainer really.
Both the Porsche Panamera Turbo and the AMG GT 63 are oddly-styled four-door coupes with 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engines, all-wheel-drive, and automatic gearboxes. However, despite Porsche being the supposedly sportier brand, it has a considerable power deficit, with 550 hp and just 567 lb-ft of torque compared to the base GT 63's 577 and 590. Nevertheless, it gets from 0-60 mph just one-tenth of a second slower and has considerably better fuel economy figures of 18/25/21 mpg versus the AMG's 15/20/17. It also has a bigger gas tank, meaning more range, and with a 17.6 cubic-foot trunk versus the Merc's 12.7, you can fit more stuff. You can also fold the rear seats to expand the Porsche's cargo capacity to 47.3 cubes, something the GT 63 can't really do. As a usable, practical car, the Panamera is far better, but if you're buying this car based on emotion, the styling, interior beauty, and smile-inducing drift mode of the Merc will likely sway you towards the GT 63.
If you like the way the GT 63 drives but can't stomach its looks, price, or lack of practicality, the E63 wagon is for you. This wagon only comes as an S model, which means you get a whopping 603 hp from the same engine, drivetrain, and gearbox. No, it's not as much as the GT 63 S, but the E63 S comes in a much prettier package. It also has 35 cubic feet of storage with the seats up, more than double what the GT 63 can manage, and with the wagon's rear seats folded, that expands to 64 cubes. You also get more headroom and legroom, both in front and at the back, as well as most of the same features and options that the GT 63 has access to. All this makes for a pretty compelling case, but here's the real kicker: the E63 S wagon costs just $111,750 - nearly 30 grand less than the GT 63 starts at. For something that can really hustle, carry all your stuff, and ferry up to five people in comfort, there's almost nothing that comes close - not from Affalterbach anyway.