• Is the Mercedes-AMG GT53 Really Without a Soul?

Merc’s ’Fast Four’ is certainly impressive but charisma may not be its strongest asset, says Matt Farah

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Mercedes-Benz was, arguably, the first premium brand to come up with the coupe-sedan niche when it introduced the first-generation CLS Class some 15 years ago and now you can get what is effectively an enlarged AMG-GT that follows the ethos of the CLS but is a lot more sporty. That’s a tasty proposition but how much of the Mercedes-AMG GT53 can you really fall in love with, beyond all the figures?

Four doors, not that much personality

Is the Mercedes-AMG GT53 Really Without a Soul?
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Mercedes-Benz wants you to call it the AMG-GT53 4 Door Coupe.

With a swooping roofline and a variety of design cues taken straight from Merc’s grand-tourer, the AMG-GT, you can argue that this model offers the best of both worlds: on the one hand, with 116.2 inches between its axles, it’s a proper mid-sized sedan capable of seating four adults and, on the other, there’s a 429 horsepower inline-six turbocharged engine under the hood that delivers a serious punch. But is that all enough to warrant the $99,950 MSRP and, moreover, is that enough to win over your heart?

Unveiled two years ago at the Geneva Auto Show, the AMG-GT 4-Door Coupe is Mercedes’ answer to the Porsche Panamera, a fact that’s as clear as day when you glance over the specs of the range-topping AMG-GT63 S 4-Door Coupe. With a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine under the hood capable of 640 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, this coupe-like sedan from Affalterbach is ready to take on the Panamera Turbo S with its 620 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque.

Is the Mercedes-AMG GT53 Really Without a Soul?
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But the AMG-GT53 4 Door Coupe can only dream of such performance figures as it basically is level performance-wise with the CLS 53 AMG. Both feature the twin-turbocharged six-pot and both benefit from the addition of Mercedes’ EQ Boost and the electric auxiliary compressor. Moreover, they basically share the same body shape although the AMG-GT’s liftback rear sets it slightly apart, together with the different front and rear fascias (the CLS’s rather resembles the design of the latest A class and other smaller models).

But, when you get down to it, you realize that the CLS 53 AMG actually delivers 435 horsepower to the AMG-GT53's 429 horsepower (both at 6,100 rpm) - torque is the same, 384 pound-feet.
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They both stop at 155 mph (no 196 mph top speed for these two) and they’ll both likely hit 60 mph from a standstill in 4.5 seconds. So, a question naturally rises to the top: what’s in it for you if you pick the AMG-GT53 over the CLS 53 AMG? Not much, reckons Matt Farah.

Talking on his YouTube channel, TheSmokingTire, Farah also argued that the AMG-GT53’s impressive array of gizmos and its cutting-edge tech is cool but there’s not much soul for you to find underneath the glitzy aesthetics of the cabin and all of Merc’s futuristic features. Sure, you do get a console that partly resembles that of the CLS and partly that of the AMG-GT two-door sports car and also the seats from the AMG-GT, but what else?

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Farah makes an unexpected comparison in the video, talking about the AMG-GT53’s prowess in a straight line, saying that it dashes through the quarter-mile in 12.8 seconds with a gate speed of 109 mph. He then goes on to compare those figures to what the 2003 Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG could muster.

That car, with its 394-pound weight advantage over the hybridized AMG-GT53, completes a quarter-mile run in 12.7 seconds at 117 mph.

So, the AMG-GT53 won’t set the speed records book on fire but it does get better fuel mileage than the 17-year-old E55 AMG by about 40% (14 mpg combined versus 20 combined).

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But where does all that leave us in the main question we have here, namely that surrounding the GT53’s personality, its soul? Well, Matt and Zach also touch on the issue of pricing - about how the range-topping 63 S is over $60,000 more expensive without any options added - but argue that, ultimately, the big engine in the 63 models adds a lot to the experience which the six-pot simply does not.

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
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