By Hannah Elliot – Los Angeles
On its website, Mercedes-Benz describes the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT63 S as “a four-door supercar.”
This is a bit much, notwithstanding the fact that at 16 mpg in the city, it is about as thirsty as one.
Mention a supercar built for four and—for me at least—the image of the $1.7 million Koenigsegg Gemera would spring to mind, or the menacing and tactical Lamborghini Urus, or even the Ferrari GTC4Lusso. Not a car that, from the outside, looks like what it is: a Mercedes sedan.
But a week behind the wheel of this $162,000 (R3,399,800) beast has left me disinclined to argue with the marketing tagline.
With surgically precise handling and the amount of horsepower that, come to think of it, only actual supercars possessed even just a decade ago, Mercedes-AMG’s latest baby can compete with and dominate cars that look and sound far wilder—even with its roomy back seat.
At 16mpg (6.8km/l) in city driving and 21mpg (8.9km/l) on the highway, the GT63 S is not fuel-efficient. But it is fun.
The Four-Door Fun-Haver
Here is an easy way to wrap your head around the GT63 S if you, like me, find Mercedes’s nomenclature confusing and opaque: It is just like the brand’s top-of-the-line sports car, the AMG GT coupe, but with a rear seat. In fact, it’s the first AMG GT car ever to have four doors and four seats.
Which is a very good thing. When I last drove an AMG GT, I noted behind the wheel that it possessed an exhilarating personality and was “truly memorable” inside and out. It was greater than the sum of its parts. The GT63 S is like that too—and more—even if it doesn’t have quite the same sex appeal.
I loved the 630-horsepower (470kW) wallop that its 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 engine delivered every time I pressed the gas pedal, and the silky smooth way the nine-speed, paddle-shifting transmission managed the whopping 664 pound-feet (900Nm) of torque.
The AMG GT63S had unrelenting contact with the road, thanks to its all-wheel-drive system and rear-axle steering, as I wound through Los Angeles’s hairiest canyons. It never stepped out on me. It never put a foot wrong, so to speak, in the way sports cars can do while trying to keep four tires firmly planted around hairpin turns.
Zero to 60mph (97km/h) takes 3.1 seconds, beating the GT by more than half a second. Top speed is 196mph (315km/h).
Drift mode, I should add, comes standard. (Just push a button, and that standard AWD shifts to rear-wheel drive for tasty donuts.)
The “more” part I mentioned has to do with the fact that the GT63 S has higher horsepower and torque than its two-door sibling, but it also has to do with its usability.
The sedan comes with four seats that fit real adults, as well as 12.7 cubic feet of storage space. The rear hatch closes automatically at the push of a button; the multiple cupholders and inductive cellphone chargers make it as handy for commuters as for speed demons.
Such a strong combination of practicality and performance lends the AMG GT 63S the de facto edge as a daily driver, compared to its sportier-looking sibling. This is a car that will be loved, just like the GT—but it will also be used.
What’s more, the GT 63S can soften its tightly tuned suspension—which was a big part of why it was so fun to drive in the hills around LA—to a more comfortable mode. This adds a further layer of usability.
During hours I spent commuting between downtown LA and Hollywood, the GT 63 S smoothed itself sufficiently that my passengers and I felt nearly as pampered as if we had been in the mighty S Class itself.
As with the S Class, Mercedes has made the interior of the GT63 S Coupe the best on today’s market. Those who love to have the most advanced safety, entertainment, and wellness technology in a vehicle will do no better than this.
The multicolor ambient lighting that bathes the cabin in a soft glow may not appeal to traditionalists. I am typically one, and I found it pleasant, even soothing.
Simple things made a world of difference in the ease of using this car: illuminated door sills (all the better for fishing out keys, lipsticks, and cell phones in the dark); the keyless start function; instant Bluetooth connectivity (my pet peeve is cars that won’t simply connect); dual-zone climate control; heated seats (duh); and a host of parking assists.
A final note: Can we talk about the stunning blue paint job on this sucker? It was the farthest thing from the shiny polished electric tones you’d expect to see on a so-called four-door supercar—closer to a matte fuzzy hug. The factory name for it is “644 designo Brilliant Blue Magno.”
When combined with the matte carbon fiber trim on the wheels, grille, and doors, it was enough to grab the attention of several drivers sufficiently in the know to recognize what it signaled.
Blue Magno and the associated trim cost $6,800 extra. That’s not all that much, considering that the price of the car I drove was $199,910, including such options as the carbon fiber roof ($3,000); an aerodynamics package with, among other things, a front splitter and rear diffuser ($2,850); and carbon ceramic brakes ($8,950).
If you ask me, the paint is worth it. You’ve got to have something to let everyone else on the road know what lurks inside this unassuming sedan. Just like that exclusive paint color, this car is very special.