2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 53 is Wunderbar

By Jim Prueter

(May 20, 2020) Introduced last year, Mercedes launched its first dedicated four-door only AMG model that the brand calls a Coupe. Previously, AMG’s models with four-doors were brought to life via the modification of existing Mercedes-Benz product offerings adding it as a trim level. The GT is only available as an AMG model.

Available in three trim levels, the tamer GT 53 tested here is powered by a 429-hp turbocharged and electrically supercharged 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder engine connected to  a 21-hp electric motor Mercedes calls “EQ Boost. ” It’s sort of a very mild hybrid that makes use of a 48V battery and an integrated starter-generator to help the spooling of the turbocharger at lower engine speeds.

That boost eliminates the maddening and usual turbo lag associated with traditional turbocharger setups. Together, it combines for a total of 450-hp that’s sent to all four wheels and is paired with an AMG speedshift nine-speed automatic transmission. A manual shifter is not offered.

The GT is also available in two higher all-out performance versions, the GT 63  powered by the handcrafted AMG 4.0-liter V8 delivering 577-hp with 590 lb-ft of torque and the GT 63 S with 630-hp and a massive 664-lb-ft of torque. You’ll need to dig deep into your wallet and  respectively add $40k and $61k over the milder GT 53’s base MSRP of $99,950. Consistent with Mercedes AMG products, that’s a lot of greenbacks for the additional horsepower.

Visually, the GT 53 is a stunning work of automotive art being simultaneously lovely and sinister looking at the same time. The distinctive vertical bar grille, open lower valence and tiger eye like head lamps presents an imposing attitude. Low, wide, muscular and brawny, the AMG GT 53 continually turned heads even when parked. Some of that had to do with the $720 optional eye grabbing brilliant blue metallic exterior finish.

The look continues with 20” AMG 5-spoke wheels for $750 that’s clad with high-performance summer tires, a power glass sunroof, four round exhaust tips, and a self-deploying mechanically operated rear spoiler. Even as a four-door the styling mimics the looks of the GT two-seater although they’re built on two completely different platforms.

Activating the 450-hp with a push of the button brings the GT 53 to life with corresponding performance resonating exhaust notes. Making it sound even better our GT 53 came equipped with the optional AMG Performance Exhaust System at $1,850 and the beast roars deeper and louder especially when under heavy acceleration. Ditto with downshifts that emit euphonic popping, snarling sounds making the addition of the option an excellent choice. It’s activated via a pushbutton switch on the center console or when selecting “Sport+” from the vehicles drive mode menu including  Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus.

The interior is much like Mercedes’s other four-door models including the CLS 4-door coupe. It’s luxuriously upscale with some of the most comfortable bucket seats we’ve sat in. Every surface looks and feels expensive, switchgear is the best in the business, build quality impeccable. There’s a wide center console that houses everything necessary to operate the vehicle.

There’s eight buttons along either side of the automatic gear shift knob and a touchpad that operates much of the vehicles settings. We found the touch pad difficult and quite frustrating to use. Thankfully most all of the vehicle’s controls are redundantly accessed without your hands ever having to leave the steering wheel given its touch-sensitive pads and buttons thanks to the optional $500 AMG Drive Unit Steering Wheel. A voice activated command system also does most of the same functions with ease.

Rear seating is tight but doable for shorter trips. Buyers get a choice of two different configurations for the rear seat, either two individual bucket seats or a quasi rear bench that has three sets of seat belts, but would be difficult for a passenger to occupy the middle seat spot.  The rear buckets are standard and there’s an Executive Rear Seat Package available as an option.

On the road the GT 53 is a remarkable vehicle to drive with seemingly endless power available at all engine speeds. Zero to 60-mph is reached in just 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 174-mph. The engine shifts imperceptibly between all nine gears but even more when flicking the steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters. We tested all three drive modes and were impressed with each. I favored the Sport+ mostly for the immediate and powerful acceleration that pushes you firmly back into your seat.

The GT 53 comes standard with a basic set of advanced safety features including automatic emergency braking, parking sensors, and blind-spot monitoring. Additional safety feature s are included in the optional Driver Assistance package, $2,250 that adds full-speed adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Those features create Mercedes’s version of a semi-autonomous driving system. Set the adaptive cruise on the highway to a certain speed, and the system will steer, brake, accelerate, change lanes and even pass another vehicle.  It’s not fully autonomous and requires you to handle the steering wheel quite often to prove you’re still paying attention. If not, you’ll get a warning on the instrument panel.

Overall the GT 53 is an impressive vehicle that’s a great driver’s car for those who love cars. And because it isn’t a sports car there’s room to take up to three friends or family along to share the experience.

Vital Stats
Base Price: $100,945
Price as Tested: $112,955
Engine/Transmission: 429-hp turbocharged and electrically supercharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder connected to a 21-hp electric motor EQ Boost for a total of 450-hp and paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel Economy: 19/24/21 mpg, - City/Highway/Combined
Seating: 4

Crash Test Safety Ratings: Not yet rated by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Given the cost of this vehicle it is unlikely it will be crash tested.

Where Built: Sindelfingen, Germany

Competes With:

BMW M5 Sedan
BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe
Mercedes CLS Class
Porsche Panamera

Fab Features:
Beautiful design
Superb performance and driving dynamics
Room for four