The Panamera now has a direct rival and it’s a beautiful thing

It’s been no secret that Mercedes-Benz’s plans for its AMG performance division have blown up since the release of the well-received Mercedes-AMG GT sports car. The German automaker quickly turned that momentum into subsequent offerings, including the AMG GT S, GT R, and most recently, the GT C. Now AMG is drawing up plans to present a new AMG GT-badged model at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, and as many have anticipated, it’s going to be a concept version of the AMG GT4, a four-door performance saloon that will no doubt the shake up the established.

Did you hear that, Porsche? The Panamera now has a direct and legitimate rival. Brace yourselves then because this new rivalry could escalate really quickly.

It’s worth mentioning that plans for a four-door, Panamera-rivaling AMG model has been in the works for a few years now, even though AMG boss Tobias Moers said back in 2015 that such a model wouldn’t be feasible. Well, that didn’t stop our master rendering artist from cooking up a virtual version of the AMG GT4 – you can see that beauty in the photo above – and as it turns out, there was a lot more to the GT4 than Moers was letting on.

Now that we’re here, we can at least expect a few things to come out at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. One of those things is the concept version of the AMG GT4, which Mercedes plans to debut at the show as part of AMG’s 50th-anniversary celebrations.

It’s not the only car that will be on Mercedes’ stand in Geneva, but it’s arguably the most important one as it sets the table for a production model that’s tipped to arrive in 2018, replacing the CLS Shooting Brake and challenging the Porsche Panamera for supremacy in that specific market.

Details aren’t expected until the auto show opens its doors, but there is strong indication that the Geneva-bound concept will look less like a concept and more like the four-seater production model that it’s going to end up being. For one, it’s going to be sharing a lot of styling cues and mechanical details with the AMG GT, albeit on a different platform from the one used by the sports car. According to Autocar, Merc will be using a modified version of its modular rear architecture for the GT4, the same platform currently used by the AMG C 63, E 63, and S 63 models. Lightweight materials are being lined up for the car, including aluminum and hot-formed high-strength steel.

The goal, it seems is to make the AMG GT4 a benchmark for luxury and performance in its segment, a status that the Panamera has held on to for the past few years.

Make no mistake about it; Mercedes-AMG isn’t messing around. Porsche needs to recognize that because once the AMG GT4 hits dealerships in 2018, one of its main objectives is to stare down its rival from Stuttgart and make it earn every accolade it’s going to get from now until the future.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Watch out, Porsche

For all of the criticism Porsche received when it launched the Panamera back in 2009, the four-door luxury and performance saloon have evolved into one of Stuttgart’s most popular models. It’s also credited as one of two models – the other being the Cayenne SUV – that opened the doors for Porsche to break into other segments, thus elevating the status of the brand beyond its sports car heritage.

There’s no secret how important the Panamera has become to Porsche, just as how popular it has become in the eyes of Porsche enthusiasts.

But the impending arrival of the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is likely going to turn the Panamera’s world upside down, and Porsche needs to be aware of what that future is going to look like. That’s not to say that the Panamera would stay under the AMG GT4’s shadow. That’s not going to happen because the Porsche still has some significant advantages over its future Mercedes-AMG rival. It’s established, it has a fanbase, and most importantly, it has earned approval through years of consistently being a good car.

On those points, the AMG GT4 will have a lot of catching up to and even if it gains ground on the Panamera, actually eclipsing it is another thing entirely and is also more difficult.

The good news for Mercedes (bad for everyone else, including Porsche) is that the GT4 is shaping up to be a doozy of a car. Not only does it have a unique architecture, but it’s also expected to come with the latest evolution of AMG’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that’s been pegged to generate a little over 600 horsepower in the range-topping S 4Matic+ variant. There’s also talk of a newly developed integrated starter generator being installed in the GT4, which helps in delivering momentary bursts of power through a 20-horsepower electric motor.

And as you might expect, Mercedes-AMG is going to leave no stone unturned in giving the GT4 a heavy dose of luxury refinement, bordering even on bespoke levels of quality. Only time will tell though if Mercedes-AMG will have the right cooks in the kitchen to put all those ingredients together, but as far as the elements are concerned, the recipe is already intoxicating.

You’ve been put on notice, Porsche. A storm is brewing on the horizon, and it’s called the AMG GT4.

2018 Mercedes-AMG GT4

2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT4 here.

Source: Autocar

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