Automakers are taking all sorts of liberties these days with naming and nomenclature. Once referring solely to an automobile with two doors, there is now a vast number of cars and SUVs of all shapes and sizes being referred to as coupes. Accuracy be damned, apparently. More four-door hatchback than coupe in traditional vernacular, it’s impossible to harbour any feelings of resentment or ill will towards the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4Matic 4-Door Coupe. It could just as comfortably and easily find itself lapping a racetrack as being valeted at the opera or dropping the offspring at Montessori.
Moves like a supercar.
Rather than residing on the AMG GT Coupe platform with which it shares its name, the GT 63 and GT 63 S are based on the E-Class. Both featuring the twin-turbocharged 4.0L V8 mated to a nine-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, the GT 63 boasts 577 hp while the GT 63 S gets a whopping 630 hp that gets out down to the pavement via the 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system.
I’ve been fortunate to pilot some very rare, exotic, and expensive vehicles over the course of my career; but few vehicles have attracted the kind of attention garnered by this vehicle. Likely due at least in part to the $2,500 Designo Brilliant Blue Magno matte paint, or perhaps because it was the first time they’d seen it in person, fellow motorists filmed it with their smartphones on the highway; and whenever it was parked it attracted a large crowd. Passersby took pictures, cited the specs, and avowed their love for the vehicle. Truthfully, it left me a bit surprised and admittedly mystified, but the people have spoken. Most likely to be cross-shopped with the Porsche Panamera, the Merc is a far more elegant and visually appealing option.
User Friendliness: 8/10
Upon initial ingress, the cockpit feels somewhat overwhelming but is the most intuitive Mercedes I’ve driven in recent memory. It has something resembling a traditional switchgear (Halleluiah!) and many of the surrounding switches feature redundant controls on the steering wheel. I spend far too much time griping about cup holders, but the reality is that some manufacturers just can’t figure them out – and it is maddening. The sides of the deep, narrow cup holders knock the lid off, and the cup itself is difficult to retrieve. Drop something into the cavernous storage compartment strangely located behind them and bid it farewell. It is gone. Forever.
Cup holders aside, the GT 4-Door is a practical people mover that would be a pleasure to live with and could quite easily serve as a track-day weapon.
A host of equipment is offered as standard, as well as a long list of optional equipment, such as the Intelligent Drive Package, 21-inch forged AMG wheels, upgraded Nappa leather, beautiful matte blue paint, and active aerodynamics that assist with stability, particularly under heavy braking.
Visibility while driving and parking is excellent. A 360-degree camera, active park assist, and rear cross-traffic alert make parking simple and stress-free in tight spaces, as it isn’t a small car. Equipped with the $2,700 Intelligent Drive Package, the GT 63 S features a host of safety equipment such as active lane-keep assist, active brake assist with a cross-traffic function, active blind spot assist, pedestrian detection with autonomous braking, active and evasive steering assist. It also has traffic sign assist and something called crosswind assist. Monitoring and analyzing information provided by the electronic stability control, power steering, and suspension sensors; the system can brake wheels on one side to keep the vehicle moving in a straight line. Attention assist monitors a host or parameters to alert the driver if they should take a break. Adaptive high-beams and LED headlights help the driver see what is ahead.
Swathed in fine Nappa leather, the interior of the AMG GT 4-Door is inviting, accommodating, and as quiet as a church. Road manners are civil; steering is razor-sharp but not jarring. It’s just as comfortable cruising on the highway for hours on end as it is carving back-country corners in a spirited fashion.
Practicality may not be the first word that comes to mind when discussing a 630 hp performance sedan within spitting distance of $200K. However, the case could also be made that the AMG GT 4-Door offers a lot for the money. Both in performance in versatility. It’s also an all-wheel drive four-door hatchback that comfortably seats four (or five, if configured that way).
The AMG GT 53 gets an inline-six-cylinder engine putting out an ample 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque, while the GT 63 fills in the middle with 577 hp and 590 lb-ft. Churning out 630 hp and 664 lb-ft from the twin-turbocharged handcrafted V8 from as low as 2,500 rpm means the GT 63 S is not often wanting for power. Delivery is smooth and linear in Comfort mode, but turn the steering-wheel-mounted dial to Sport or Sport + and things get interesting quickly. The throttle gets more sensitive, power comes on quicker, and it stays in the power band longer. It may be a 2,158 kg (4,758 lb) saloon, but it moves like a supercar, sprinting to 100 km/h in a mere 3.2 seconds.
Driving Feel: 9/10
Aside from its already stirring performance, it also gets a Drift drive mode that’s standard on the S and optional on the regular GT 63, along with active rear-wheel steering and active aerodynamics. The adaptive, self-levelling multi-link AMG sport suspension is unquestionably firm and taught – it’s part of the reason the car handles so well. Those looking for a supple boulevard cruiser will find it uncomfortable, but they have plenty of other options to choose from. Depending on the various adjustable modes, this Merc can be modified to suit your preferences. It can be smooth and serene or abrupt and brash.
Fuel Economy: 6.5/10
Chances are that if you’re considering a large sedan with a twin-turbocharged V8 churning out 630 hp to all four wheels, performance is more of a priority than fuel economy. Nevertheless, the amount of fuel that flows through the turbos depends on the drive mode, gear selection – and weight of the driver’s right foot. Even with that caveat, observed fuel economy numbers weren’t that far off the often-optimistic ones provided by the manufacturer.
The AMG GT 63 S may not be an inexpensive proposition but consider the fact that its versatility means it essentially takes the places of two or three vehicles. Half to a third of the space needed in your garage and only one vehicle to insure. When you consider what you get for the money, it could be considered a bargain. By some.
It features the elegant lines of a sedan, the utility of a hatchback and offers the road manners of a sports car. Can’t decide between a mid-size SUV, an AMG GT, or perhaps an E-Class? Call it whatever you want, but the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4Matic 4-Door Coupe has you covered by satisfying multiple needs. But it’s going to cost you.
|Peak Horsepower||630 lb|
|Peak Torque||664 lb-ft|
|Fuel Economy||15.6/11.5/13.7 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||461 L|
|Model Tested||2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4Matic 4-Door Coupe|
|Price as Tested||$191,675|
$12,000 – Intelligent Drive Package $2,700; Designo Brilliant Blue Magno paint $2,500; AMG Aerodynamics Package $3,000; 21-inch AMG forged cross-spoke wheels $1,500; Saddle brown/black Nappa leather $1,800; Grey ash open pore trim $500