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2020 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S Sedan First Drive Review

On Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Gotta hand it to AMG. Though the vast majority of the carmaker’s clientele are likelier to eat glass than track their high-powered sedans, we sampled the 2019 AMG GT sedan at the epic 3.4-mile Circuit of the Americas course. Once the tire smoke subsided, we decided the GT is a potent, if slightly less track-worthy retort to the mighty Porsche Panamera.

2020 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S

As though eavesdropping on our thoughts, AMG invited us for a road drive in the GT sedan on the heels of our Austin experience. Even better, the drive through the Scottish Highlands would be a real world counterpoint to COTA’s 150+ mph stretches. The catch? Snow on the ground and 20 degree Fahrenheit ambient temps — not exactly optimal conditions for a 630-hp machine.

For those unfamiliar with AMG’s flagship GT sedan, imagine the love child of the Affalterbach-built GT supercar and a heavily modified E-Class chassis. Clad in slant-tailed bodywork, the $136,500 AMG GT 63 and top dog $163,000 GT 63 S send mixed visual messages regarding their intent.

The Benz’s electronics operate on their own 48-volt circuit (as opposed to a 12-volt system), enabling higher battery capacity for the rest of the car’s systems. But the has a few ergonomic niggles. There are no touchscreens, so the driver must navigate the vast majority of the multimedia system via a touchpad just ahead of the shifter, so it can take a bit of menu navigating to execute simple commands.

As the miles wear on, the GT’s personality became easier to pinpoint. While you’ll never mistake it for a big, cushy S-Class, the GT does offer some surprising usefulness for such a performance-focused car. There’s decent rear seat headroom and solid rear cargo capacity thanks to its hatchback design. Our testers didn’t have massaging seats, though they are available (and would be a welcome addition during interstate slogs). And while the thrum of the sport exhaust can be easily eliminated with the tap of a button, the GT never gets so quiet that you forget about its mighty athletic intentions.

Though we’d prefer the unflappable S63 sedan for a straight-line bomb through the Midwest, twisty mountainous stretches bring out the GT 63’s true nature: a versatile four-seater that seriously thinks it’s a sports car. Not everyone will be on board with the GT 63’s looks or some of its electronics interfaces, but it has a compelling combination of athleticism and surprising adaptability.

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