The Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door just got an update for 2022 that includes revisions to the front fascia, interior upgrades, and a new Manufaktur Exclusive special edition that looks pretty darn sharp. But even the pre-facelift 2021 model we recently tested still offers plenty in the way of style, performance, and tech – especially the mid-range GT53 model, which is arguably the best option of the bunch.
With a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine aided by EQ Boost, the GT53 4-Door has the smoothest powertrain in the entire class. On top of that, the GT53’s cabin is properly opulent and the exterior styling is eye-catching, regardless of trim. Our test car’s all-black exterior treatment looks particularly sinister.
But there are some minor sacrifices you will have to make in pursuit of the GT53’s sublime style. The ride can be harsh with the optional 21-inch wheels, the rear seat is tight courtesy of the sloped roof, and once you start ticking all the option boxes, the price adds up. This car costs $126,320 when it’s all said and done – and that’s not even fully loaded.
Buttery Smooth Powertrain
Mercedes does offer a higher-output GT63 model with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 and 577 horsepower, and based on our experience driving that car, it’s as bonkers as you think. But we actually prefer the powertrain of the GT53, despite it being less powerful; the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with EQ Boost electrification combines for a total output of 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet. The mild-hybrid system contributes 21 hp and 184 lb-ft to smooth out gear changes or reduce turbo lag.
Unlike the V8 model though, which can be too brutal at times, the GT53 offers ample performance without the neck-snapping acceleration of its GT63 sibling. It’s still quick, don’t get us wrong – sink your foot into the accelerator and a strong stream of power propels the 4-Door to 60 in a speedy 4.4 seconds with power at all four wheels via 4Matic all-wheel drive. It even sounds fantastic, too; gratuitous downshifts result in a firework-like pop from the exhaust.
But when you’re not hammering it, the hybridized inline-six and the nine-speed automatic are absolute pussycats. You can pedal the GT53 around town comfortably and in near silence, returning up to 21 miles per gallon combined.
Stepping inside of the Mercedes-AMG GT53 4-Door is like hopping into a high-end spaceship, especially at night with the ambient lighting aglow. The front seats are some of the best sport buckets you’ll find anywhere. The combo of Saddle Brown and black Nappa leather (a $3,250 option) is gorgeous, and heating, ventilation, and multi-contour massage functions make sure you’re comfortable in any situation.
With the $3,550 Executive Rear Seat package equipped, passengers in the second row get a similar set of sport buckets (minus the massage function). Additional features as part of the Executive package includes a fixed center console with a small touchscreen, heated and cooled cupholders, wireless phone charging, and three-zone climate control function.
A 12.3-inch central touchscreen and a corresponding 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster sit front and center, complete with Mercedes-Benz’s lauded MBUX infotainment system. Standard features include things like Apple CarPlay, as well as onboard Wi-Fi and even a rear touchscreen with basic MBUX functions.
The GT 4-Door line as a whole is well-designed; from the raked roofline to the aggressive front fascia, it’s hard to hate. But we’d argue that the 53 we drove is pretty much the perfect spec: Obsidian Black over black AMG wheels with a Saddle Brown interior. That may not sound all that flashy – especially when considering how many different colors Mercedes offers – but the sinister look absolutely suits this car.
The optional 21-inch wheels ($3,950) provide a big upgrade over the base 19-inchers, the cross-spoke design being the boldest choice of the eight available wheel options. The AMG Night package ($750) further toughens up the exterior with a black front splitter, mirror covers, fender trim, window trim, and even exhaust tips.
In contrast to the GT53’s silky-smooth powertrain, this car has a harsh ride. In Comfort mode, the adaptive AMG dampers as part of the standard Ride Control system do their best to keep occupants comfortable, but the effect of the 21-inch wheels and low-profile performance rubber is hard to hide. Sport mode is a harsher still, and Sport Plus makes the GT53 nearly undriveable for more than a few minutes (unless you’re on the track).
Tight Second Row
Because of the sloped roof, the back seat of the GT53 feels tighter than we’d like. Legroom isn’t the issue – there was more than enough space for your six-foot-tall author to stretch out – but the 38.2 inches of headroom make the second-row feel cramped. The rear entryway is a bit narrow as well, and most normal-sized adults will come close to scraping the roof with their heads once inside. To Mercedes-Benz’s credit, the Audi S7 does have less headroom at 37.1 inches, but the Audi’s second-row isn’t exactly palatial either.
Pricey With Options
The Mercedes-AMG GT53 starts at $99,950, which is reasonable when pricing it against a similarly spec’d Porsche Panamera, BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, or Audi S7. But our car costs a whopping $126,320 post options. The wheels are the priciest add-on, asking $3,950, the Executive rear seats are $3,550, and the Saddle Brown Nappa leather interior is another $3,250 on top of that. Other pricey options include things like a fixed panoramic roof ($2,100), the Driver Assistance package ($1,950), heated and ventilated seats ($1,850), and many, many more.
It may sound like we’re nitpicking, but consider this: The equally powerful E53 only costs $73,900 to start. That sporty sedan offers more headroom and legroom nearly all around, plus pretty much all of the same tech (minus some of the rear seat features of the GT53). And as far as competitors go, the S7 costs $84,400 out of the box, so there certainly are more affordable options.