Grand tourer with supercar spirit

The Mercedes-AMG GT four-door aims squarely at the premium grand tourer segment. How does it get on? Jack Evans finds out

The Mercedes-AMG GT coupe sits atop the firm’s range of performance cars. Two doors, huge performance and head-turning looks are all part and parcel for an all-out supercar – but what if you want to bring a few more people along for the ride, along with their luggage?

That’s where this – the AMG GT four-door – fits in. It’s been designed to offer all the thrills that you get from AMG’s two-door GT, but with a healthy dose of practicality and a touch more ride comfort. With the likes of the Porsche Panamera Turbo in its crosshairs, the GT four-door has a tough job on its hand, but we’ve got behind the wheel to see if it can deliver.

So you may think that since it shares a name with the range-topping GT supercar, the four-door would use a similarly bespoke platform – but you’d be wrong. The GT four-door in fact sits upon Merc’s MRA platform, which underpins the E-Class and CLS models. And though it does get additional strengthening, it means that the basis of the four-door is a little more conventional than you may expect.

Available in two states of tune – non-S cars push out 577bhp, while S versions we’re driving produces 630bhp – the GT four-door is jam-packed with drivetrain and chassis tech, including four-wheel steering, torque vectoring and a myriad of customisable driving modes.

The GT63 four-door uses AMG’s tried-and-tested biturbo V8 with a mighty 630bhp in ‘S’ specification, as mentioned, along with a considerable 900Nm of torque. It drives the Merc from 0-60mph in just three seconds, and onwards to a 196mph top speed. Drive is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox, too.

It’ll come as little surprise that an engine this powerful doesn’t trade on its economy. Mercedes claims a combined fuel consumption of between 21.4 and 22.1mpg, while emissions sit at a hefty 257g/km CO2.

Thumb the engine start button to the left of the steering wheel and the four-door’s engine crackles into life before settling into a background thrum. Initially enough it’s not a hard car to drive; the steering has plenty of weight to it, but not enough to make around-town driving a chore, and the exhaust burble isn’t too antisocial when travelling at lower speeds, either.

Find an open road, however, and the character of the four-door quickly changes. It’s a very, very, fast thing and even the slightest prod of the throttle equates to an impressive turn of pace. Keep your foot in it, and you’ll quickly be into licence-worrying speeds before long.

But one of the more impressive aspects of the car is the way it disguises its weight. Mid-corner there’s balance, and the front end of the Merc tucks in with a crispness that you simply wouldn’t expect from a car of this size.

In terms of outright presence, there are few who do it quite as well as the GT four-door. The ultra-wide Panamericana front grille looks as if it’s there just to swallow up rival cars, while aggressive exhausts at the back are almost as fearsome in appearance as they are in sound. Our car was finished in matte-effect highly-scratch resistant magno paint too, which only helped it look even more stealthy.

The long, rakish design hides some of the car’s bulk, but it does come at a cost. The rear window is very small, and when the electronic rear wing is raised, can be completely obscured. Over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t that great either, though the sloped roofline thankfully doesn’t eat into rear seat headroom too much.

Get in behind the wheel of the GT63 four-door, and you’ll find yourself in a position which feels far closer to the one you’ll experience in the E and CLS models than the all-out GT Coupe. The main cabin architecture apes that which you’ll find on the regular A-Class too – great for the entry.

“Find an open road, however, and the character of the four-door quickly changes”

The build quality is good – though our test car did exhibit a few squeaks during our time with it. There’s plenty of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel too, while the seats themselves are very comfortable – and the active bolsters, which trigger during cornering to hug you in tighter, are excellent too. Mercedes has fitted the touch control buttons recently included on the updated C63 – these are fitted to the steering wheel and control various drive modes, as well as exhaust and suspension settings – and they’re intuitive to use.

The main infotainment offering in the GT four-door comprises of a large widescreen display, which couples to a digital dashboard to give the impression of one solid screen. The centre screen runs Merc’s latest software, with functions such as satellite navigation, media control and drive settings all included.

Whereas previous cars using the same system utilise a rotary dial to control the display, the GT four-door uses a touchpad, similar to that you’ll find in the A Class. It simply isn’t as easy to operate as the older dial; you can accidentally swipe to the wrong menu without trying, and inputting elements such as addresses or phone numbers is far more difficult than it was with the older control. We understand the need to push things when it comes to technology, but this seems like a less intuitive and more cumbersome way of controlling the infotainment system.

In attempting to distil some of the GT Coupe’s spirit into the four-door, AMG has created an exciting, fast and imposing five-seater grand tourer. Sizeable performance combines with almost unbelievable weight control to make the four-door into a genuinely accomplished car in the bends, yet dial it all back and it transforms into a comfortable long-distance cruiser. This is one capable GT – and yet another skilful product to come from the Affalterbach wizards.

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