It’s not too often that the fires of hell craft a piece of machinery that’s the perfect combination of otherworldly temptation and world class performance. But Mercedes-Benz has done just that with the 2020 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT63S. The “S” is one of the heavy hitters in Mercedes-Benz’s lineup, and was the most powerful Benz money could buy before it was usurped by the ultra limited 720 horsepower AMG GT Black Edition. But with that model being a pure two door, the GT63 aims to bring some of this track slaying performance into a distinctly four door flavored package. But does the addition of two extra doors bring a unique dimension to the fun? Or is this derivative of the GT not quite as thrilling as its two door cousin?
Sinister exterior styling draws you into the GT63 S
The first thing that buyers will notice is the exterior styling of the GT63 S which looks like it leapt right off the pages of your favorite racing magazine. Our tester arrived with a brilliant shade of Jupiter Red paint which worked nicely with the black accents that are splashed throughout the car. The front fascia is bold and purposeful, with a large chrome grille being accented by aggressively honed LED headlights. The front bumper itself features massive lower air intakes, and the Mercedes three pointed star front and center.
The side profile on our tester was highlighted by optional 21-inch AMG forged twin spoke wheels adorned in a sleek black finish. These wheels are also your first taste of the GT63’s wild list of options, with the hoops tacking on $3,200 to the base price of the car. The rest of the profile adopts the classic four door coupe profile, with the sloping rear roofline leading its way to the short rear deck. Our car had two different aerodynamic package added to it, with the latter AMG Exterior Carbon Fiber Package II adding a carbon fiber adorned variant of the fixed rear spoiler. This $4,000 package also adds the light weight material to the mirror covers, and it helped give our tester a distinct flair.
When looked at as a whole, the GT63 is clearly targeting the Porsche Panamera, with the Benz having the same core shape. However, we think the Benz has a higher degree of balance and poise in its suit of clothes, especially in the front fascia, which is more aggressively honed than the Porsche’s schnoz. The Porsche fights back with rear styling that looks less cluttered, but it’s hard to deny that when paired with the right paint and tire combination, the Benz has a unique form of street appeal that draws in all kinds of crowds.
GT63 interior delivers world class performance
With the exterior styling doing its best to tame even the fiercest of demons, the interior prefers to reward you with world class opulence, and enough performance DNA to further highlight its performance credentials. The interior itself is very modern looking, but it also borders on being very decadent in the way it presents itself. While the cabin does not quite match the sheer opulence that’s delivered by the firm’s Maybach lineup, it certainly tries its best to do a good impression of one.
Optional multi-contour performance front seats help nestle front seat passengers into place, and come with a very high degree of adjustability. The dynamic side bolsters also do a good job of providing near real time support in the corners, but we suggest spending some time getting acquainted with the seats to find the right support setup for you. Too aggressive, and the thrones will take delight in punishing your back when entering and exiting the car. Too little bolstering, and you will slide around slightly in turns. Find this balance, and you are rewarded with a very comfortable seat that comes with built in seat heat/cooling, as well as a massage function. Rear seat occupants also have a good amount of room, but the rear roof line eats into headroom, and taller occupants will definitely feel cramped on long hauls.
But read the owners manual first
However, the main talking point here is technology, and the cabin is loaded to the gills with it. Before we get into the good stuff, we might as well get one lone bit of bad news out of the way, and that’s the fact that our tester did not come with MBUX software. MBUX is slowly making its way to more Mercedes models, with the software offering over the air updates as part of the package. Instead, the GT63 has the older system, but we suspect that the company will add it in as part of a future update.
With that out of the way, we might as well focus on the widescreen cockpit which consists of two 12.3 inch screens that combine to give occupants an impressive suite of information and customization. The bulk of the information is usually shown on the dash mounted screen, with driver readouts and other crucial information being located in the digital instrument cluster. Like other AMG models, our tester featured AMG’s newest performance steering wheel which not only features switches with miniature screens (they control the driving mode and dynamic settings) but also touchpads on either side of the wheel. The idea here is that the driver does not have to take their hands off the steering wheel, but like with much of the equipment in the GT63 S, it’s good to spend some time with the owners manual to help get used to things. That also holds true for the central “bridge” which now uses TFT screens versus analog buttons, and the novel track pad controller that allows you to navigate your way through the main screen.
630 horsepower dragon lurking under the hood drags owners to the underworld
While the bold exterior styling and the bespoke interior appointments are nice items to have in a AMG offering, the key ingredient of any model that carries that moniker is the performance hardware that lurks under the seductive skin. While the brand has expanded its lineup of engines in recent years to include V6 and even four cylinder offerings, GT63 S owners gain access to a whole other realm of performance. Our tester arrived with the 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8, but unlike other models that we have experienced with this powerplant, AMG engineers made some very significant revisions to this particular engine for GT63 S duty, especially when compared to its non S grade sibling.
The end result is an outright insane 630 horsepower and a stout 664 lb-ft of torque which allowed our tester to bolt its way to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds. The engine is a raging torrent of power, with the car having plenty of muscle available all over the rev band. There is a slight bit of turbo lag that you have to deal with off the line, but the brief wait is worth it, with our tester eagerly surging its way past traffic. With over 600 horsepower in play, one does have to be careful with how much throttle you put in when your cruising down the highway to avoid inadvertent trips past the speed limit. All of this power is sent to the road through a nine speed automatic and a AMG spec version of Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel drive system.
The performance on hand is impressive, but while the engine is certainly a key player, the real MVP of the show is the suspension and chassis upgrades that our tester came bundled with. The GT63 S weighs over 4600 lbs, but despite having all of that weight to deal with, this car is perhaps one of the best handling cars that we have ever tested. Even when placed into its default driving mode, there is virtually no body roll, and this feeling of ultimate control is further enhanced when you go through the various driving modes before maxing out in Race mode.
Race mode is also when the beast is truly unleashed, with an exhaust note that pops and snarls like an angry tiger when it is pushed around winding back roads. However, like other recent performance entries, the GT63 S also allows its owners to customize the experience for their tastes. Want to keep the engine and exhaust system in race, but perhaps leave other items in Sport or Comfort mode? the internal software can make that happen. This amount of flexibility is also highly appreciated when you consider that the aging Nissan GT-R does not offer quite the same level of customization for its driver. We got a taste of how effective it was when we took the GT63 to the winding roads near Hell, Michigan with the GT63 fitting right in with the sinister environment.
Like all good things in life, nothing is perfect, and in this instance, the GT63 S brings a sticker price that will deliver a potent body blow to even the mightiest of wallets. The base price of an “S” starts at $161,200, but our tester arrived with a figurative mountain of options tacked onto it. That translates into $36,310 worth of extras, which helped push the sticker up to a grand total of $199,505 once destination and gas guzzler fees are mixed into the equation. That’s roughly on target with the Porsche Panamera, but it also means this flavor of Benz is arguably one of the most expensive entries in its exclusive segment.
We won’t judge Mercedes for having the GT63 play in the same segment as that fore-mentioned benchmark, but it also does raise the question of whether the extra premium needed to add one to your driveway is indeed worth it in the end, since its platform mate the E63 S can perform a lot of the same parlor tricks for a noticeable discount.
But at the end of the day, if you want to have the equivalent of a luxury laden Megalodon in your driveway, few will deny that the 2020 GT63 S has the goods to back up the checks that its performance centric styling brings to the bank. It’s fast, gets you in touch with your inner wild child, and it might just even impress you with its inner creature comforts.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.