Cars: Mercedes-Benz extends its AMG line with a four-door sports car

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 8, 2018.

The Mercedes-AMG GT Coupe has four doors and seating for four. Photos by Bloomberg

The coupe comes in six- or eight-cylinder engine variants.

The AMG GT Coupe comes with a new central console design and Mercedes’ excellent large computer screens.

-A +A

Yesterday at the Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the latest in its AMG line, the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe — yes, that is the full actual name. Mercedes is getting ultra-specific these days.

This is the first four-door sports coupe from Mercedes’ high-performance Affalterbach division. It is also the latest car in a recent trend of automakers making and naming four-door vehicles “coupes”, a term historically referred to two-door contraptions. (Yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland, BMW debuted the M8 Gran Coupe concept, also with four doors.)

Such introductions come in response to a slowed market for traditional sedans in the US while consumers’ attention continues to gravitate towards crossover sport utility vehicles and smaller, sporty cars.

Mercedes executives say the coupe draws inspiration from the SLS and AMG GT models, two sports cars with excellent reputations in the coupe tradition. It has the low hood, long protruding front nose, dual “power-domes” on the hood, and muscular tight haunches of the AMG GT. Each side has frameless windows and a very slanted windshield; the rear wing on the V8 version can be manually fixed for maximum boy-racer effect.

The slim light-emitting diode rear lamps and bumper with an enhanced wing in the back are also signature AMG touches. Say what you will about the fast-and-loose nomenclature, the AMG GT Coupe does look like it belongs in this elite family of cars.

On the inside, the coupe will have two high-resolution controls — each more than a foot long, much like the excellent screens in the rest of its AMG line. The rear can be configured with two carbon-fibre backed seats (they are sporty but do not recline) or a split-folding “executive” rear seat with a touchpad screen to control entertainment and climate settings. The car even has the first-ever AMG fragrance, which Mercedes characterises obliquely as a “sporty” scent.

More importantly, the AMG GT Coupe has the numbers, on paper at least, to back up its presence in the AMG family: It comes with optional six-cylinder or V8 engines with outputs from 429 horsepower (hp) to 630 hp. The fastest Mercedes AMG GT Coupe, called the AMG GT 63 S Coupe, is a V8 version that can hit 60 mph (96.56 kph) in 3.1 seconds, with a top speed of 195 mph — besting the fastest four-door Porsche sedan, the Panamera. The second-fastest, the V8 AMG GT 63 Coupe, has a 60-second sprint of 3.3 seconds, with a 193 mph top speed. The third variant, a six-cylinder AMG GT 53 Coupe, has a 4.4-second sprint and top speed of 174 mph.

Whether in the six- or eight-cylinder form, expect each variant to drive with dynamic elan: They all come standard with all-wheel-drive, six-drive modes, active rear-wheel steering, and nine-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifting.

The pricing has not been announced, though it is unlikely the presumed six-figure price will deter many buyers. Deliveries begin in early 2019. — Bloomberg