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New Cars Review: The Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S is a four-door sedan that’s built for speed

The Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S can scorch from zero to 100 kilometres an hour in only 3.2 seconds.

Daimler AG

At the heart of the new Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S is a powerful, hand-built twin-turbo V-8 engine that pumps out 630 horsepower and 664 lb.-ft. of torque.

Despite weighing in at a hefty 2,045 kilograms, the top trim in the lineup scorches from zero to 100 kilometres an hour in only 3.2 seconds.

No surprise, then, that AMG officials chose the Circuit of America for test drives. On the sweltering racetrack, dressed in black jeans, a balaclava and helmet, I got behind the wheel with instructor Jan Seyffarth riding shotgun. With a turn of a small dial on the steering wheel, the driver can choose between several driving dynamics including slippery, comfort, individual, sport, sport+, and of course, the race setting – the latter being offered exclusively on the 63 S, the model we’re about to run on the pylon-lined, 5.7 km course. It includes a drift mode that completely disengages the front wheels for the ultimate track experience.

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Staring in sport+ mode, nailing the throttle, we were thrown back in our seats, the loud roar of the engine echoing behind us. It didn’t take long to hit the sharp S turns – the hardest part of the technical track. Despite its size (5,054 mm long by 1,871 mm wide), this GT is well balanced and extremely stable. It remained planted firmly when changing directions quickly from one corner to the other.

The active steering set in automatically – at speeds less than 100 km/h, the rear wheels point in the opposite direction to the front wheels so the car has better agility turning into corners. At more than 100 km/h, the system turns the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels to improve stability.

Despite its size, the GT 63 S is well balanced and extremely stable.

Daimler AG

After two laps we switched to Race mode – in this setting, everything is configured for maximum performance and lightning fast shift changes. It’s extremely quick, powerful and nimble. Along the straightaways, Seyffarth pushed me to go faster. I glanced down briefly as the speedometer neared 150 mph. Such an adrenaline rush.

One lap turned to five. And then it was time to return to pit lane, physically and mentally exhausted, but grinning ear to ear.

The tech includes a high-performance braking system, airmatic sports suspension, performance exhaust system, active aerodynamics with an air pillar behind the radiator grille, active rear-wheel steering. The fully variable AMG performance system is rear-biased. That raises the question: Why a four-door?

“For me, personally, having kids … a two-door sports car is not for every day and not always the right choice," says Tobias Moers, head of Mercedes-AMG.

The 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S goes on sale in the first quarter of 2019 along with two other trims: a base AMG GT 53 powered by a new 3.0-litre turbo inline six-cylinder engine and a mid-level AMG GT 63 with a 577 hp, 4.0-litre twin-turbo AMG V-8.

Tech Specs

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4Matic+ 4-door coupe
  • Base price: TBA
  • Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V-8
  • Transmission/drive: Nine-speed automatic/4Matic+ AWD
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km): 15.2 (city), 8.9 (hwy)
  • Alternatives: Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte, BMW M5, Audi RS7

Looks

The GT 63 S has a broad, long and low hood combined with sensual curves along its entire body.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

A rock star, with a broad, long and low hood combined with sensual curves along its entire body. The “fantastic ass,” as Mercedes-AMG designer Vitalis Enns calls it, features trapezoidal quad tailpipes, thin LED tail lamps and high-gloss black diffuser.

Interior

The car has a lavish, techy interior with comfortable, supportive seats.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Lavish, ultramodern, techy interior, but the touchpad isn’t the easiest to use – it’s sensitive and requires you to take your eyes off the road. Also, the gear shifter could be positioned higher on the centre console so you’re not reaching back awkwardly with your right arm to change gears. On the plus side, my tester’s two individual rear seats are comfortable with excellent head and leg room. Likewise, the front AMG performance seats are supportive and hold you firmly in place when taking corners quickly on the racetrack.

Performance

The hand-crafted AMG 4-litre twin-turbo V-8 engine gives you an adrenaline rush the moment you hit the pedal.

Petrina Gentile

Gut wrenchingly fast and nimble – a thrill to drive on the road or on the race track thanks to the hand-crafted AMG 4-litre twin-turbo V-8 engine. It’s an adrenaline rush the moment you hit the pedal. Amplify the exhaust note by hitting a button on the centre console or on the steering wheel and no one will miss the sound of the engine.

Technology

The technology includes six driving modes, 4Matic+ AWD, a 360-degree camera, active brake assist and a parking assist system.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Loads of technology for the racetrack including a new AMG dynamics system with six driving modes, 4Matic+ AWD, a 360-degree camera, active brake assist and a parking assist system. An Intelligent Drive Package includes an advanced driving assistance package, active distance assist with Distronic and active steering assist.

Cargo

The cargo area holds 456 litres, but you can drop the split-folding rear seats to get 1,324 litres.

Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

Spacious cargo area with 456 litres so you can fit luggage for a weekend getaway. Drop the split-folding rear seats and the cargo area expands to 1,324 litres. A large, low tailgate makes it easy to load and unload items in the cargo area.

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The verdict: 9.0

A fast, powerful sports car that can also be used for shuttling the kids to practice.

The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.

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