The 2021 Mercedes-AMG AMG GT 53 is one of four current models within the flagship GT 4-Door lineup. The others being the GT 43, GT 63, and GT 63 S, with a GT 73e in the works as well. Mercedes wanted to bring the flavor of its AMG GT sports car to a wider audience, so it attached the name to a more practical car and dubbed it a four-door coupe. Though this model shares a name with the GT, it actually shares more in common with the E-Class, including its platform. CarBuzz recently drove the GT 53, a Goldilocks variant of the GT 4-Door with a mild-hybrid inline six developing 429 horsepower that we believe might be the best of the bunch.
Based on its price and wide ranging power options, the GT 53 doesn’t have many direct rivals. Some of the closest competitors include the Audi S7, BMW M850i Gran Coupe, and Porsche Panamera. With the Porsche being the lone exception, the other options in this category offer more power than the AMG GT 53 at a lower price. Does this mean the 2021 AMG GT 53 isn’t worth considering? A week driving one proved otherwise.
2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 53 Changes: What’s the difference vs 2020 AMG GT 53?
The major change to the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 53 sees the older COMAND infotainment interface replaced by a new MBUX system – this setup includes voice controls activated by the ‘Hey Mercedes’ verbal prompt. Mercedes also offers MBUX augmented reality, an interior assistant, and a dash cam as new options for this year. Cirrus Silver has been added to the color palette, but otherwise, the GT 53 remains unchanged.
AMG GT 53 Four-Door Coupe Exterior
Mercedes hasn’t made any changes to the GT 53’s appearance and there was no need to. While BMW regularly has to dig deep to conjure up creative explanations for why its newer models look the way they do, the Mercedes design brief seems to be shockingly simple by comparison: just make it pretty. The taut lines of the GT 53 work beautifully from just about every angle. Some of the AMG touches that give it more presence include the Panamericana grille, the multi-stage active rear spoiler, circular quad-exit exhaust outlets, and those fetching 19-inch AMG 10-spoke wheels. The exterior lighting uses LED technology and a power sunroof is standard. A panorama roof and larger 20- or 21-inch wheels are available. The AMG GT 53 and four-door coupes like the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe are reminders of why the concept has only grown in popularity over the last couple of years.
The GT 53’s long, wide stance isn’t an optical illusion – the dimensions show that it really is, well, long and wide. It measures 199.2 inches in length and has a 116.2-inch wheelbase, which is actually longer than the E-Class wagon on which it’s based. Among its competitors, the 4-door GT 53 is marginally longer than the Porsche Panamera. Without the mirrors, it is 76.9 inches wide, but the width grows to 81.5 inches when the GT 53’s mirrors are in their usual extended position. The height works out to 57.3 inches. An AMG it may be, but the GT 53’s curb weight of 4,553 pounds isn’t what you’d associate with a traditional sports car.
An expressive vehicle such as this deserves an interesting color palette, and the new 2021 AMG GT 53 has just enough options to satisfy most tastes. The only standard colors are Polar White and Jupiter Red, followed by several metallics that cost $720 each. These are Obsidian Black, Cirrus Silver (a new addition this year), Graphite Grey, and Brilliant Blue. The designo range of colors sees a sharp increase in the price, beginning with Diamond White metallic at $1,515. For $3,950, customers can opt for Selenite Grey Magno, Brilliant Blue Magno, or Graphite Grey Magno. When paired with darker optional wheels, the designo Diamond White metallic looks sensational, but Brilliant Blue is by far the most standout option.
AMG GT 53 Performance
The Mercedes-AMG GT 53 may not have a monstrous V8 under the hood, but it’s still spritely. The 3.0-liter inline-6 engine is aided by turbocharging and an EQ Boost system to develop outputs of 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. With the aid of the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, it will accelerate from 0-60 mph in only 4.4 seconds before hitting its electronic limiter at a top speed of 174 mph. The BMW M850i Gran Coupe is approximately the same price but uses its V8 to obliterate the 0-60 run in only 3.7 seconds, and the pricier V6-powered Porsche Panamera 4S is also quicker than the GT 53. None of this means that you won’t have plenty of fun behind the wheel of the Merc, though, which will do a fine job of pushing you back into your seat while emitting a nice snarl from those tailpipes when doing so. Is the AMG GT 53 a sports car? It’s probably too big and heavy to qualify for that statement, but it’s a lot more adept than the average Mercedes sedan at putting a smile on your face.
Engine and Transmission
Electric assistance is fast becoming the norm for luxury models and the GT 53 demonstrates why this is the case. As if the 3.0-liter AMG-enhanced inline-six turbo engine wasn’t powerful enough, the EQ Boost system’s 48V battery and integrated starter-generator provide a nice hit of torque at lower engine speeds, by virtue of the electric auxiliary compressor. In simple terms, turbo lag doesn’t factor into the equation in this car. On-paper, the specs are healthy; the 3.0L engine delivers 429 hp and 384 lb-ft on its own, while the EQ Boost system provides as much as 21 hp and 184 lb-ft right from the start. Mercedes’ familiar nine-speed AMG Speedshift automatic transmission is equipped.
It all comes together seamlessly. The GT 53 is refined and smooth when you want it to be but morphs into a responsive sports sedan (or coupe?) when switching over to Sport Plus mode. Strong passing power and sharp, immediate throttle responses are the order of the day for one of the most balanced powertrains you’ll find anywhere right now.
Handling and Driving Impressions
Coupes traditionally handle better than sedans by virtue of a stronger chassis. Fewer apertures means less twist through the body, but the moment it becomes a four-door coupe, the name is nothing more than marketing baloney to describe the stylistic aspect of it. However, while the AMG GT 53 might share a platform with the AMG E63, the fact that this was engineered by the AMG division from the ground up means it feels rather different to the sedan on which it’s loosely based. From the moment you turn the steering wheel, the GT 53 makes its shaper handling prowess known. Even compared to the E63 S Wagon we drove just a few weeks prior, the GT 53’s steering rack feels sharper and more communicative to the driver.
We were most impressed with the balanced ride comfort on the GT 53. AMG’s 63 models are far too jarring, but the 53 models have a more compliant ride. The GT 53 features independent multi-link suspension with coil springs and adjustable dampers. In their Comfort setting, the car floats along nicely and even in the Sport Plus Mode, the ride doesn’t feel too harsh. In the AMG pantheon, we feel the 53 cars provide the ideal balance of comfort and performance. This car tends to feel pretty lackadaisical in its Comfort Mode, but Sport Plus Mode wakes it up and tells the engine and exhaust to deliver a throatier roar with some exhaust crackles for good measure. There’s no Race Mode or drift setting like the GT 63 S, this variant is meant to be a competent cruiser with daily-driver comfort. We think the AMG GT 53 delivers a more engaging experience than the Audi S7 or BMW M850i, though the Porsche Panamera 4S delivers comparable driving pleasure.
AMG GT 53 Gas Mileage
Impressively, the GT 53 matches the gas mileage of its less powerful GT 43 sibling which we review separately. According to the EPA, the Merc will return 20/25/22 mpg city/highway/combined. We managed around 21 mpg during a week of driving. While those figures will give Toyota Prius drivers many sleepless nights, they’re perfectly acceptable in the GT 53’s corner of the market. The less powerful BMW 840i xDrive Gran Coupe is slightly better at 20/27/23 mpg, whereas the M850i xDrive Coupe is worse at 17/25/20 mpg. The GT 53 has a 21.1-gallon gas tank so will manage a range of about 464 miles in mixed driving conditions.
AMG GT 53 Interior
Even though the latest C-Class, E-Class, and EQS have showcased the next generation of Mercedes interior design, the GT 53’s interior still makes a statement. It’s an environment that is equal parts high-tech and luxurious, with highlights like dual 12.3-inch color displays, power-adjustable front seats with a memory system, and ambient lighting with more color choices than you’ll know what to do with. Being a four-seater, you can only bring three friends along for the ride, and those at the back will find it a bit more awkward to get into the back than in an E-Class. The quality is generally excellent, and if you want, you can spruce up the cabin further with extras like three-zone climate control, AMG performance front seats, and luxurious Nappa leather upholstery.
Seating and Interior Space
Front-seat occupants won’t find much to complain about in the GT 53. This car boasts a pair of AMG’s most comfortable chairs in either genuine or simulated leather, which can be optioned with massaging and active side bolsters that hug you through corners. AMG Performance bucket seats are on the menu for $2,500, but they drastically reduce this car’s comfort in exchange for a sportier feel. We’d happily get the massage chairs for $1,320. Sitting in either of the back seats isn’t as pleasant. 38.2 inches of headroom feels tight, though it’s class-competitive with other four-door coupes. Our big complaint relates to the positioning of the rear seats, which do not recline and feel awkwardly upright. Mercedes doesn’t mention a rear legroom figure, but it feels less spacious than an E-Class.
Interior Colors and Materials
Some may scoff at the fact that a $100,000 four-door coupe doesn’t come with standard leather upholstery. At least the default black MB-Tex and Dinamica seats look and feel good. To upgrade to Nappa leather, you’ll need to spend another $2,990 – this option adds another color choice, that being Magma Grey/Black. Exclusive Nappa leather costs $2,580 on its own but also requires the designo Black headliner in Dinamica for $1,600; here, the seats can be had in Black. At $2,850 (not including the required $1,600 Dinamica headliner), the exclusive Nappa leather can be specified in colors like Auburn Brown/Black, Red Pepper/Black, or Magma Grey/Black. Finally, the last two upholstery options are exclusive Style Nappa leather with diamond quilting. These seats cost $3,250 (excluding, once again, the required $1,600 Dinamica headliner) and are offered in either Saddle Brown/Black or Macchiato Beige/Magma Grey. The latter color also requires the $3,550 Executive Rear Seat Package.
Black Piano Lacquer, Natural Grain Brown Ash wood, and Natural Grain Grey Ash wood are all no-cost trim choices, but both AMG carbon fiber and AMG Matte carbon fiber will add $2,850 to your bill. Several added-cost AMG performance steering wheel options are on offer; the rim can be finished in Nappa/Dinamica, Nappa/Black Piano Lacquer, or Dinamica/Carbon Fiber.
AMG GT 53 Trunk and Cargo Space
The GT 53’s rear hatch measures 12.7 cubic feet. This isn’t a huge amount of space but isn’t actually far off the 13.1 cubes you’ll find in the E-Class’s more conventionally shaped trunk. Golfers will comfortably be able to accommodate a golf bag, though. A power liftgate is standard but folding rear seats are not. By speccing the Executive Rear Seat Package, the rear seats can fold in a 40/40 split to make accommodating long items possible. However, the center section of the rear seat will remain fixed, making it difficult to stow large items.
In terms of cabin storage, the GT 53 comes with door pockets, a center console, deep cupholders, and a small open storage compartment between the rear seats. We noticed that the cupholders in this car are far too small for large bottles and their positioning in the center console interferes with some of the infotainment buttons. If you spec the Executive Rear Seat Package, a full-length rear center console is added between the rear outboard seats, but it too has undersized cupholders.
AMG GT 53 Infotainment and Features
It’s not a proper luxury car if it doesn’t have great seats, is it? The AMG GT 53 obliges with heated, power-adjustable front seats (including four-way power lumbar support) linked to a three-position memory system. For the driver, the memory system includes the side mirrors and the steering column, which is also powered. Dual-zone climate control is standard, along with a snazzy 64-color LED ambient lighting system, power-folding side mirrors, a power sunroof, remote start, a power liftgate, a garage door opener, and an illuminated entry system. There is an even longer list of safety items including everything from a rearview camera to attention assist, crosswind assist, blind-spot monitoring, and front/rear parking sensors. The options that are likely to prove popular include ventilated front seats, three-zone climate control, massaging front seats, soft-close doors, adaptive cruise control, and an AMG head-up display.
Though we’ve come to love the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, it can be tricky to use for a novice with tons of menus and features to explore. Luckily, Mercedes offers multiple control methods, including a 12.3-inch touchscreen, touchpad, dedicated menu buttons, steering wheel controllers, and one of the most intuitive voice command systems around. MBUX lives on a 12.3-inch central display combined with a 12.3-inch gauge display that is highly configurable. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM, satellite navigation, and Mercedes me connect services all come as standard on this nearly $100,000 vehicle. A 640-watt Burmester audio system also comes standard with 14 speakers but a $4,550 optional system includes a total of 25 speakers with 1,450 watts. Augmented reality navigation is also available as a standalone option, and the rear seats can also get a central touchscreen display as part of the aforementioned Executive Rear Seat Package.
AMG GT 53 Problems and Reliability
The 2021 model has already been recalled once for a faulty eCall system that sends out an inaccurate location to emergency responders following a crash. This issue has affected virtually every model in the Mercedes lineup. No other serious issues have yet been documented for the 2021 model.
Mercedes-Benz offers a standard four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty that includes powertrain coverage and roadside assistance.
AMG GT 53 Safety
A crashworthiness review of the Mercedes-AMG GT 53 has not yet been conducted by US authorities, but as it shares the same platform with the E-Class, that car gives us some insight into how the GT 53 midsize sedan would perform in a crash. The news is good as the 2020 E-Class attained only Good crashworthiness scores from the IIHS and a Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2021.
Key Safety Features
Mercedes doesn’t take safety lightly and this is reflected in the GT 53’s many safety features. There are seven standard airbags, including curtain airbags for both rows and a knee airbag for the driver. Rear side airbags are available as an option for $700. Other safety items that are expected include tire pressure monitoring, electronic stability control, and a rearview camera.
The more advanced safety systems are attention assist, crosswind assist, adaptive high beams, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front/rear parking sensors, automatic parking (including steering, shifting, and braking), and speed limit assist. Additional safety equipment found on the options list can mostly be bundled into a single package and includes evasive steering assist, adaptive cruise control, and active lane change assist. A surround-view camera system, head-up display, and dashcam are also available.
Verdict: Is the new 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 53 a good car?
Buyers shopping in the six-figure price bracket have plenty of options, but the 2021 AMG GT 53 is certainly one to consider. We think this is one of the prettiest vehicles in its class and it also packs the most opulent interior. Performance might not be best-in-class – the BMW M850i Gran Coupe delivers two more cylinders and nearly 100 more horsepower for around the same price – but power from the mild-hybrid inline-six proves to be plentiful enough for use on public roads. Anyone who test drives one of AMG’s 63-branded models and comes back needing a chiropractor might prefer the GT 53’s gentler approach to performance.
As a downside, the AMG GT suffers from some key ergonomic shortcomings that detract from its everyday usefulness. The cupholder design and positioning are abysmal, as is the rear seat positioning and inability to fold the rear seats completely to expand the trunk. Both the Audi S7 and Porsche Panamera allow drivers to fold down the rear seats flat, but the AMG GT 53 annoyingly leaves the middle 20% section fixed.
With a bit more power and some ergonomic improvements, the 2021 AMG GT 53 might be a no-brainer choice. As it sits, we prefer the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 for nearly $20k less.
What’s the Price of the AMG GT 53?
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 53 has a starting MSRP in the USA of $99,950. This excludes all options as well as the destination charge of $1,050. For $10,000 less, you can get the new GT 43, while the V8-powered GT 63 starts at a far more expensive $140,600. Remarkably, the AMG GT 53 price can balloon to that of the base GT 63 when enough options are added to it. Within the GT range, the GT 53 seems like the best-value model for sale.
2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 53 Sedan Models
Reviewed separately from the less powerful GT 43 and fire-breathing GT 63, the AMG GT 53 is available in just one well-equipped trim. It uses an AMG-enhanced 3.0-liter inline-six turbo with an EQ Boost system and generates 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed Speedshift TCT transmission and the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system enable a 0-60 mph sprint of only 4.4 seconds.
The aggressive AMG body styling includes elements like a shiny Panamericana grille and quad-exhaust outlets, together with 10-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels. A power sunroof and LED exterior lighting are standard. Inside, the new MBUX infotainment system – in place of the COMAND system used previously – can be controlled via the 12.3-inch central touchscreen, which is complemented by another 12.3-inch screen for the digital gauge cluster. Other notable standard features include dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable and heated front seats with memory, MB-Tex/Dinamica upholstery, and a 14-speaker Burmester surround sound system.
Starting outside and working your way in, the GT 53 can be specced with the AMG Night Package. Working best with lighter paint colors, this $750 package adds black chrome tailpipes and a gloss black finish for exterior elements like the mirror covers, front splitter, and side window surrounds.
Inside, there are a lot more options on offer. The Executive Rear Seat Package is a bit of an oddity as we’d imagine that anyone intending to enjoy a Mercedes from the back seat would go for an S-Class or even an E-Class instead. Nevertheless, it’s yours for $3,550 and adds a rear touchscreen display, a dedicated rear climate control zone (in addition to the two zones for those in front), rear-cabin wireless charging, 40/40-split twin rear seats, heated and cooled rear cupholders, and more. The $1,950 Driver Assistance Package includes 14 additional driver-assist features like Distronic adaptive cruise control, congestion emergency braking, active steering assist, and active blind-spot assist.
Standalone options are extensive. Some examples of these include a 25-speaker Burmester 3D sound system ($4,550), an AMG head-up display ($1,100), AMG performance front seats ($2,500), and three-zone climate control ($760).
What Mercedes-AMG GT 53 Model Should I Buy?
The AMG GT 43 might seem tempting for $10,000 less, but we think the GT 53 provides ideal performance levels without entering the punishing territory reached by the GT 63 and GT 63 S. Pricing starts at just under $100,000, but there’s no way we’d leave the dealership without a few important options. We think the no-cost wheel and color options look acceptable, so we’d save our money to deck out the interior. Some must-haves include the Nappa leather seats ($2,990), AMG performance steering wheel in Nappa/Dinamica ($500), multicontour seats with massage ($1,320), and the Driver Assistance Package ($1,950). With these and a few other features, the AMG GT 53 rings in at $108,810, but for under $120k, you can even splash out on some fancy wheel designs and interior colors other than black.
2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 53 vs Porsche Panamera
The Panamera is another interesting alternative to a traditional luxury sedan so makes sense as a GT 53 rival. It starts at $87,200, over $10,000 less than the GT 53, but that base model isn’t as quick as the GT 53 and nor is it as well-equipped. A better match for the Merc is the Panamera 4S, which is just over $5,000 more expensive but quicker, needing only 4.1 seconds to reach 60 mph. The Porsche rides with great composure and is a superb handler, plus it benefits from the class-leading PDK dual-clutch gearbox. The Panamera can also be equipped with a smaller center rear seat, allowing it to accommodate an extra passenger at a squeeze. However, the Porsche’s options are alarmingly expensive (adaptive cruise control is $2,250, more than the Merc’s entire 14-feature Driver Assist Package). We also think that the GT is a much prettier thing, inside and out, and it’s not far behind the Porsche in terms of agility. We’d go for the GT 53.
2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 53 vs Mercedes-AMG GT 63
What’s another $40,000, after all? For almost the same price as a base C-Class Sedan, you can upgrade to the rorty, V8-powered GT 63. While the GT 53’s powertrain harmoniously exists as just one of the car’s numerous attributes, the GT 63’s twin-turbo V8 simply dominates the package. It sounds marvelous and produces 577 hp, shaving over a second off the GT 53’s 0-60 time. The GT 63 also comes with additional performance goodies like a race start function, active rear-wheel steering, and an AMG performance exhaust system. These all make it a more thrilling machine to pilot. Inside, the GT 63 boasts standard Nappa leather and ventilated front seats. If you never drive the GT 63, you’ll likely be perfectly happy with the GT 53. But that V8 is hard to resist, and even with its enormous price premium, the GT 63 is the one we want more, even if it will require regular visits to the chiropractor as well.