Motoring | Motoring News
Jaco Van Der Merwe
Soon after its local arrival late last year, we were fortunate enough to get our hands on the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4Matic+ 4-Door Coupe. Very impressed with the car’s superb handling to match it’s crazy pace, Road Test editor Mark Jones had this to say: ‘’The GT 63 S four-door coupe, in a nutshell, is a fast, dynamic car for the well-heeled family man who wants his high-powered GT fun, but needs the space and practicality of a full-sized family coupe.’’
But every well-heeled family man has his own little guilty pleasures in life and even in top end earning households having enough cash left for things other than powering your muscled machine around a race track over a weekend can become limited when forking out R2 922 531.
If your car is stretching your budget too much, then other rich man’s hobbies like sailing a yacht, riding a horse, flying helicopters and riding superbikes before breakfast could all be in jeopardy. But Mercedes has it all figured out.
If you’re prepared to live with the abuse from your mates during Saturday polo matches for driving a straight-six instead of the badass 4.0-litre V8 that does duty in the GT 63 S, you can get away with owning its smaller sibling the GT 53 S for R1 961 718. And if the shame of the mere thought of showing your face at the club in something other than the real deal is too unbearable, you have the option of styling the poor cousin to make it look almost identical to the GT 63 S, with the only things remaining to differentiate the two being the engine and gearbox.
Among other very expense things, our GT 53 S test unit was fitted with the V8 Exterior Styling Package (R49 300) and 19- inch AMG twin spoke light alloy wheels (R11 900) to bring it up to its stronger sibling’s styling cues and a R16 200 Exterior Night package which features high gloss black trim purely to be extra windgat. Throw the R30 610 AMG Performance Exhaust System our unit was fitted with into the mix and most of the stuck up farts at your polo match honestly will not know the difference based on looks and sound.
In no disrespect to the GT 63 S’s beastly powertrain, people not regularly exposed to the difference between stupid fast and stupidly crazy fast won’t have the slightest clue which one you are driving if you don’t have both models strutting their stuff on a stretch of tarmac in front of them.
While the GT 63 S’s 4.0-litre V8 bi-turbo engine puts out 470 kW of power and 900 Nm of torque, the GT 53 S’s six-cylinder inline engine produces 320 kW/520 Nm with the added benefit of EQ Boost delivering an additional 16 kW and very handy 250 Nm. The GT 53 S features the AMG Speedshift TCT 9G gearbox which also sends the power to all four wheels like in the case of the GT 63 S’s MCT 9G box. The GT 53 S is claimed to go from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 sec, a number we will willingly accept as Mark’s time of 3.5 sec in the GT 63 S wasn’t far off the claimed 3.2sec.
The definite downside to our week in the GT 53 S was the early December weather as Gauteng’s heavens pretty much opened on the day we received it and carried on for the entire week. But the weather might just have been a blessing in disguise, because based on the incredible ease this car goes about its business in the wet, trying to stay on the right side of the law and in one piece might have been too challenging on dry surfaces. And the added waiting time in slow traffic made us the spaciousness and comfort inside even more. Not to mention the R33 160 additional Burmester sound system.
An already impressive list of driving features such as all-wheel-drive, boosted by optional extras such as the AMG Dynamic Plus Package (R55 278), AMG Ride Control (R32 300) and rear-axle steering (R28 900) made the GT 53 S as solid as a rock on the wettest stretches of road.
Acceleration was so pure you would have never thought the road was wet if you had your eyes closed, while cornering at slightly higher speeds than usually associated with slippery surfaces was child’s play, not to mention stopping the car with the superb internally ventilated and perforated compound brake discs. And if the sheer sight of the car’s elegant yet aggressive lines wasn’t enough to impressive other motorists at traffic lights, playing around with the touch control button on the steering wheel to adjust the multi-stage retractable and extending rear spoiler and activating the exhaust noise does the trick every time. And that extra purr is quite intoxicating.
So in short, the GT 53 S is a fantastic alternative to its big brother as not all people will ever need the beastly abilities of the GT 63 S. It will still get you to your polo training on time and turn heads in the process.
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