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.
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.