When a car has a commanding presence, serious performance pedigree and starting price of $160,000, you expect, no, demand, it be something special. With its striking looks, neck-snapping performance, luxurious feel and enough room to ride comfortably with three passengers, the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S is absolutely, unequivocally, extraordinary.
Its figures begin to tell the tale. Under the aggressively sculpted hood is a 4.0-liter, bi-turbo V8 offering 630 horsepower and 664 lb.-ft. of torque. The power plant is paired with a nine-speed automatic and AMG-tuned 4MATIC all-wheel drive, rocketing the 4,400-pound 5-seater from 0-60 in just over three seconds and on to an electronically controlled top speed of 195 MPH.
This is a V8 that, if it could, would be into BDSM. It doesn’t want you to be gentle. It wants you to mash the right pedal deep into the firewall. It wants all your right foot has, and it lets you know when you have done it right with gratifying barks and roars from the exhaust. It’s seeming masochism could explain why the 63 S is among the dying breed of cars in which you can plug in a cigarette lighter.
The GT has impressive performance figures, for sure, but where it really shines is in the way it is able to harness all of its size and power into what Mercedes has accurately called a 4-door supercar.
The big boy GT carves corners with the aplomb of cars that struggle to hold an overnight bag.
In Sport or Sport+ mode, the 63 S is perfectly balanced through corners with firm and accurate steering. The engine response out of corners is swift and punchy, and the enormous 15.4-inch compound front brake rotors (14.2 in the rear) with 6-piston fixed calipers quickly brings the GT to an eye-popping but controlled stop.
Above all, the 63 S inspires confidence for those behind the wheel. And that was a damn good thing considering I really put it to the test on one-lane, tree-lined mountain roads with so many switchbacks and elevations changes my liver ended up somewhere near my kneecap.
AMG’s Ride Control suspension, adaptive damping system and limited slip differential kept the GT square to the road while the Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S tires (even grippier Pilot Sport Cup 2 are also an option) stuck to the pavement without any chirpy protest.
There are paddle shifters to control the nine-speed automatic, but at no point did I feel I needed to intervene. The transmission kept the revs high in the range and was quick to change down when the situation called for it.
Adding to the experience was the aural sensation of the growling, popping V8 being piped through AMG’s performance exhaust system breaking up the serenity of the surrounding woodlands.
Thrashing around the mountain roads and letting the GT continually surprise me with its performance was certainly a memorable experience. But perhaps what makes the AMG even more remarkable is the fact that I was enjoying supercar-like performance with a car seat base secured to the back seat.
I did not subject my infant daughter to the GT’s immense power, but if you want to scare the bejesus out of a few friends, the 63 S can not only accommodate them, it can do so with style and panache.
For everyday driving, the GT is quiet and comfortable. The optional 21-inch wheels on my tester did not make for the smoothest of rides over bumps, but otherwise the ride was smooth and relaxed.
The GT’s interior is lavish, gorgeous and modern.
Covering much of the dash are two, 12.3-inch screens, one working as a tasteful and attractive instrument cluster, while the second screen serves as the display for the infotainment system. The center stack houses the digital, push-button controls for exhaust and driving modes, and Mercedes’ touchpad for its COMAND system. The touchpad is a bit tough to use, the COMAND system can lag at times, but there are still buttons to navigate from screen to screen and commonly used controls, such as climate control, can still be altered outside with analog buttons.
The interior of my tester was also wrapped in soft optional Nappa leather with grey ash wood trim and a supple DINAMICA headliner.
The GT is spacious and comfortable as is, but buyers can opt for massaging seats, a Burmester 3-D surround sound system, rapid heating front seats with heated armrests and the Energizing Comfort Package. The system uses pre-programmed functions that control music, temperature, massage programs, lighting and cabin air fragrance depending on what mood takes you.
On the outside, my tester came with an optional carbon fiber wing, front splitter and side inserts. The GT is handsome, slightly menacing and its contours and oversized grille command attention, but it doesn’t sport “look at me” styling. But forget being an introvert and owning one.
The GT garnered attention everywhere I went, from the man who approached me in a parking lot to tell me the AMG was the “most futuristic” looking car he had ever seen to the woman who rolled down her window and flashed a thumbs up while I was behind her in a roundabout.
Helping to draw attention to my tester was the optional Brilliant Blue Magno matte paint and giant, 21-inch AMG Monoblock-style wheels. The matte paint proved to be a love-it-or-hate-it characteristic of the car, and I landed squarely in the “love” camp.
Frankly, it’s easy to fall into the love camp with every aspect and characteristic of the 63 S. It has an intimidating presence in its size, aggressive looks and booming soundtrack. It can swallow a load of groceries and three passengers with ease, and it can be thrashed around corners or blitz quarter-mile times while delivering astounding, supercar performance one minute and serving as a comfortable and spacious grand tourer the next.
While the AMG GT 63 S is beyond the means of most, there is no doubt it is truly a special car.