I recently had the chance to drive the new Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door, which Mercedes is billing as the 4-door version of its AMG GT sports car. This isn’t strictly true, as the AMG GT 4-door is actually based on the existing Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the CLS platform — but I’ve been curious about this car since it was announced, and this marketing has made me even more curious. Is Mercedes actually saying this thing will behave on the road like a more practical version of a 2-door coupe?
The numbers are certainly in its favor. Mercedes offers two versions of the AMG GT 4-door: the 63 model, with 577 horsepower, and the 63S model, which is the one I drove, with 630 hp. Those numbers sound impressive, but so is pricing: the regular version starts around $137,000, while the 63S starts around $160,000. The window sticker price of the one I drove, a special “Edition 1” model to commemorate this car’s launch, was right around $200,000. That’s enormous money, especially when you consider that the 617-horsepower BMW M5 Competition starts from $112,000 — a figure that almost seems cheap by comparison.
But then Mercedes-Benz would argue that the AMG GT 4-door isn’t really a competitor to the M5. The M5, they’d say, is just a sedan that’s been turned sporty, while the AMG GT 4-door is a sports car that’s been stretched into a sedan (although Mercedes actually calls it a 4-door coupe — of course they do). Truthfully, the AMG GT 4-door’s closest rival is the Porsche Panamera, and I happen to think the AMG GT 4-door starts off with a better first impression than the Panamera, as it simply looks nicer.
It also drives amazingly well. When I drove up the coast to review the AMG GT 4-door, all I could think was that I was expecting it to be a disappointment — overpriced, given the power, and given the specs on paper. As I filmed the quirks and features, I started to change my tune just a bit, as the AMG GT 4-door has some really neat tricks — like little buttons with screens in them, and some impressive technology. But I was still surprised at just how much Mercedes is charging for this thing.
Then I drove it, and I was converted. I can only remember a few times where I felt so uncertain about a car before I drove it, and so convinced afterwards — and this is definitely one of those times.
Acceleration is obviously explosive. This thing has 630 horsepower, all-wheel drive and a really quick transmission, resulting in a 0-to-60 mph time of something like 3 seconds. Maybe more impressive is the midrange passing power, which is just so incredibly exhilarating that it’s hard to describe. The car accelerates like few other 4-door vehicles I’ve ever driven.
But the really impressive part comes when you try to change directions. While the Panamera and the M5 feel their weight, but seem to account for it, the AMG GT 4-door truly feels like a sports car — just one that happens to have a few extra doors. I can’t think of any other vehicle this large that changes directions this quickly and this precisely when asked. It truly feels like a small, nimble, go-kart, even though you look in the rearview mirror while you’re turning the wheel and you see two back seats and a hatchback.
Indeed, the AMG GT 4-door is so well-balanced and so precise that — and I shudder to say this, since I mostly think this sort of thing is marketing-speak — it really does feel like a 4-door version of the AMG GT coupe. Not as nimble, of course, but closer to the excitement of that car than it is to the Panamera or the M5. The AMG GT’s engine growls, it’s incredibly fast and it’s just so insanely exciting to drive that I really feel like it’s the new top super sedan … coupe … hatchback thing. Whatever you call it, it’s great.
But it’s still really expensive — and for most buyers, that will be the downfall. I guess that’s sort of the point, as it’ll be exclusive and special, just like the AMG GT Coupe and Roadster — and I also think it does a better job justifying its price tag than I ever expected. But at $160,000 to $200,000, brand naming plays a big role, and it’s hard to imagine spending that kind of money on something without an exotic badge up front — or at least a Porsche badge. Still, I’d have a hard time buying a Panamera Turbo over this.