SAN FRANCISCO — Fans of German cars have long known that AMG has been synonymous with high-performance Mercedes vehicles for decades. This 2020 AMG GT 53 combines Mercedes refinement with several AMG modifications to make it a very luxurious, performance-driven 4-door. While this 4-door version is billed as a “coupe” – it’s a nod to the 2-door version of the GT.
The GT 53 gets its power from a potent 3.0 liter inline 6 cylinder engine that’s mated to a 48-volt electric motor that’s good for a combined output of 450 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. Known as “EQ Boost”, the electronic motor’s 21 extra horsepower is good for short durations at a time. You’ll mostly notice it while in Sport or Sport+ modes during off the line acceleration and passing. The EPA gives this car a rating of 19 miles per gallon around town and 21 on the highway. However, unless you drive it like an old man, you’ll likely not achieve those numbers. Some of us have more fun keeping the turbo spooled up. No names mentioned, of course.
The nine-speed automatic transmission provides very fast shifts in auto mode. If you prefer more control, there are some paddle shifters you can use for a manual mode. Either way, you’ll find that it’s one of the more well-balanced transmissions out there. It never acts like it’s trying to hunt for the right gear, it simply knows. Always. And that’s very refreshing. Downshifts in Sport+ mode are simply awesome. The way they’re managed very closely mimics doing it yourself. Not to mention, it makes some drool-worthy exhaust sounds with the optional performance exhaust system.
Mercedes’ 4-Matic all-wheel-drive systems help deliver the power to the pavement, courtesy of 295 rear tires and 265s in the front, riding on 20-inch wheels on our test model. The beauty of this system is how it dynamically delivers the power, often going 100 percent to the rear wheels or 50/50 power split. It all depends on conditions via active monitoring.
There are a few ways to make the car seem more tame, however. Such as the ability to dampen the exhaust sound. Why? Why would anyone ever choose to get rid of those glorious-sounding pops, cracks, and growl? There’s an emotional response it evokes from those of us who love to drive. In fact, simply thinking about a great-sounding exhaust note, can make me a bit teary-eyed.
The exterior design borrows heavily from its 2-door brother and that’s wonderful. We love the GT coupe and its design. You’ll find that the 4-door variant has as very similar rear end and incorporates an active rear spoiler that adjusts its height, based on speed. It does have a rather high beltline, however, visually helps break that up with a sweeping design that flows well from front to rear. Its front-end does a brilliant job of looking aggressive, modern and masculine.
Inside, you’ll find amazing attention to detail on most things, but yet some surprising oversights on others. The seats are simply amazing. The front two seats offer a nearly endless array of adjustments and even the rear seats are super comfortable. There is no middle seat in the back. Instead, you’ll find two seats that help hold you in snug. The overall look is sporty, yet refined.
What we can’t understand, however, are the silly-looking surround speakers that resemble pillboxes, attached to the roof liner. Rather than flush-mount them in an effort to give a more seamless look, the designers put the speakers in metal boxes that protrude out. They’re especially highlighted when the nighttime lighting is on.
Additionally, what’s up with the cheap-looking sunroof shade? Not only does it look cheap, it feels so as well. It’s likened to one you’d see in an entry-level automobile. Another annoyance is that it has vents in the shade that allow sunlight to still peer into the car. If I close a sunroof shade, it’s because I’m trying to block out all light sources emitting into the car from the roof. Not sure what the designers thought process was here. Outside of these two issues, the interior still feels special, driver-focused and performance-minded.
Surround me with sound:
Audio buffs will likely appreciate the Burmeister audio system. Using 24 amplifiers and 24 speakers with subwoofer, it creates a true 3D sound field that provides a convincing experience. The large 12.3-inch screen is perhaps one of the easiest to read in any car on the road today. It’s controlled by touching the screen or using the glide surface located on a handle-type device, just above the shifter.
Our test model was fitted with the massaging seats and what a treat they are. Not only do they have active bolsters that help hold you in place around corners, they feature a full massage function that’ll take care of your back and bottom side. With various modes, even heated massages, you’ll feel pampered while barreling down the freeway.
Out and about:
On the road, you’ll find a car that can hit 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds and seems to have a nearly endless pool of top-speed. In fact, the car is so comfortable and handles so well, that it’s rather easy to have very high rates of travel sneak up on you. We love the flat cornering and minimal body roll around hard corners. It certainly doesn’t feel like a 4-door car at all.
With a starting price of $99,000 dollars, the GT 53 isn’t in the budget for many but for those who are looking for a four-door sedan that has the DNA of a world-class sports car, then the GT 53 makes a compelling vehicle. If you’d like more power, there are other GT models with V8 engines that bring the 0-60 time near the 3-second mark.
Our test model, as optioned out, was $126,455. While that makes you pause for a moment, consider that it’s only $26k over the starting price and really does a great job of escalating a great car into one that’s far more rewarding.
If you’re in the market for a 4 passenger car that offers sporty looks, a great drivetrain, kick-ass tech, and comfort, than the GT 53 is a great foray into the world of AMG.
For more information, check out: www.mercedes-amg.com