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Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance track review


Mercedes-AMG’s first ‘performance hybrid’ model is also its most powerful ever. We sample the $400,000 GT 63 S E Performance on track

Good points

  • Incredible, unrelenting acceleration
  • Abilities that mask its huge weight
  • Four-door, four-seat practicality
  • Turbo V8 noise in Race mode
  • Economy figure of 7.7L/100km
  • Luxury-packed cabin

Needs work

  • 2380kg is very, very heavy
  • Not as pretty as the two-door GT
  • 12km electric-only range is meagre
  • It’s $400k before options
  • More blunt instrument than track toy

Excess in all areas. The power, the weight, the tech, the luxury, the mind-warping speed… even the name’s gluttonous: the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance four-door coupe.

While we’re dining out on the exorbitance of it all, let’s get pricing cleared up. Try $399,900 before on-roads; a figure leaving no doubt this is an uber-exclusive tour de force of an AMG, aimed at the very select few.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 rear sunset

Such vehicular unobtanium may seem an irrelevance to normal folk such as I, but I can’t ignore the significance of this four-door, four-seat GT 63. You see, it’s the most powerful series-production model to ever come from the house of Mercedes-AMG. You want a brag? That’s a good start.

It’s the brand’s first ‘performance hybrid’ offering, adding a 150kW rear-mounted electric motor to back up its monstrous 4.0-litre biturbo V8.

Outputs are ludicrous. We’re told 620kW of power and a maximum system torque of “more than 1400Nm” – although how torque is measured when it comes to electrification can be misleading and complex.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 engine

Ask folk who know and anything over 1000Nm is a bit irrelevant and unnecessary anyway. That’s worth noting when hotting up your old Corolla.

AMG isn’t stopping here either, as the not-for-Australia S63 E Performance also makes use of a similar setup, as does the new-generation C63. However, tragically for many fans, the latter AMG is paired with a four-cylinder rather than the fire-breathing V8 we’ve come to love.

Direct rivals for GT 63 S E Performance are a little hard to draw, though the incoming new-generation BMW M5 is said to offer a similar drivetrain, while the Porsche Taycan and Audi E-Tron GT offer a similar proposition for those not afraid to ditch the V8 and go all-electric.

The AMG GT 63’s acceleration is like a heavyweight punch to the face. The tonne arrives in 2.9 seconds; 200km/h is there in under ten seconds, and top speed is a sweaty-palmed 316km/h.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 rear fast

Mercedes-AMG, rather comically, suggests such performance “needn’t come at the expense of economy.” But obviously you’ll need to keep that performance on ice to achieve the official (and, fair play, very impressive) return of 7.7L/100km.

Helping that figure is its plug-in hybridness. But this side of things won’t break records. Maximum you’ll travel on electric only is 12 kilometres.

Hardly worth it you’d think, but the electrification side aids that mega performance, and makes economy and emissions numbers more palatable, if a little misleading in the real world.

Question is, what the hell would you do with such a niche hammerblow of a vehicle? We weren’t able to find out on Australian roads (my licence says thank you) but snared a sample on the track at Sydney Motorsport Park.

AMG’s heavyweight track tool let loose

Let’s save rear seat space and connectivity for now: you want to know what this thing’s like at flat chat on the race circuit. Good.

If I’d have driven the GT 63 S E in suburban Sydney, I’d have got frustrated, grumbled and told you it needs a track to be relevant. Yet after a dozen or so laps around SMSP, this 2380kg brute with acceleration for days doesn’t even truly feel at home there.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 wide shot

Except on the main straight. My gawd this thing builds speed like a jet fighter launching from an aircraft carrier. Its twin-turbo V8 with electric backup has tsunami-like surge, and mimicking a giant wave that’s breached all defences it ploughs relentlessly forward, showing no sign of fatigue.

It wills you to keep the throttle planted, seamlessly flying through cogs in the nine-speed Speedshift auto. We’re over 200km/h in no time at all and of course it wants ever more.

But then there’s turn one. It’s a left-hander, and if SMSP is to be believed, arguably the fastest corner of any Australian race track. Squeaky bum time.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 driving rear

Hard on the ceramic brakes, smoothly off, turn in to the apex and the GT 63 S E flies through still at warp speed. I’m clutching the steering wheel tight – too tight – as this big bruiser feels light at this turn-in speed, and I’m internally begging the back end doesn’t start going all loose on the drying track.

Blessedly it sits firm. Of course it does. There’s AMG’s 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive, rear-wheel steering and super-grippy 315/30×21 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S rubber at the back, well able to cope with cornering speeds of part-timer track-goers like me.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 brakes

It’s an epic experience through this part of the track, but enjoyment drops around SMSP’s tighter, twistier sections, though that’s perfectly understandable.

You’ve got a raging bull here – endless grunt in a bulging, muscular body – which finds it hard to go all twinkle toes when there are sharp turns and rapid changes of direction.

Get a World Champ at the wheel

The braking performance may be mega, but the car’s weight and its avalanche of torque make lower speed cornering entry and exit with any sort of finesse as difficult as ballet dancing in work boots.

Get on the power too early and it moves around plenty, and it isn’t joy-bringing if you throw it around trying to hustle through turns like a little lightweight sportscar. Instead, it reminds you of its mass and its powertrain arsenal, especially if – like me – your day job isn’t being a driving hero.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 front fast

So I hopped in the passenger seat of someone who is: multiple motorcycle World Champion, Mick Doohan. Thing is, Mick has one of these GT 63 S E Performance four-doors as his European daily driver and, as he can steer a bit, is ideally placed to offer his ten cents.

“It’s a bit doughy due to the weight and driver aids,” he shouts as we fly off a kerb on a tight apex on a second-gear left-hander. “But it handles so well for something this heavy.”

He’s right. I sample Sport+ and Race modes – firmer suspension settings – and it feels pinned, as long as you remember to get braking done early and prioritise smooth over eager.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 rear

When I get things wrong, this big coupe-sedan feels wide, clumsy and porky. Get it right and it’ll do a physics-defying job of flowing through corners, and you can open up the fun taps with confidence to unleash weapons-grade acceleration once again.

I note the indicated speeds Mick holds through corners (spoiler alert, they were quicker than mine), and marvel at how well this GT hides how rapidly it’s travelling.

It’s so cossetting, so well-insulated and so massive that you don’t realise the speed. It’s not fun if you miss your braking point, I’d imagine.

The V8 makes a delicious note, but in Race mode, I’d lobby for even more raw mongrel to better appreciate it.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 badge 2

Perhaps it was because my ears were muffled in a race helmet, but so gorgeous is the sound of a high-revving, big-displacement V8 you want to best enjoy the aural excitement of Premium being gulped.

As for the electric drive unit at the rear, as a credit to AMG, it works away – buddying up with the 4.0-litre petrol – without you noticing. It’s all incredibly clever with its electric motor, two-speed transmission and rear-axle limited-slip differential gunning away out back.

Its 6.1kWh battery weighs 89kg, but the performance gain makes it worthwhile, plus it aids a 50:50 weight distribution. Borrowing learnings from the Mercedes-AMG F1 team to create this system helps explain its success.

Special performance demands special surrounds

Let’s face it, no owner’s going to take one of these AMG GT 63 S E Performances to a track and drive it like they’re doing Bathurst’s Top 10 Shootout. Owners may do a track day or two to experience its straight-line brilliance, but dedicated track drivers will always favour lighter, sportier numbers.

Mick Doohan says his GT is used for crossing Europe to reach racetracks without fussing with airports.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 side driving

He showed a particular fondness for German autobahns, and in reality, that’s absolutely where this car would shine brightest. Space for four, dripping in luxe, decent ride quality and – if the law allows – you’re cruising at 300km/h in the time it takes your kids to plug in their iPads.

As we Aussies don’t have such opportunities, the business case for local owners is piloting something incredibly rare, special and cutting edge.

Showing off? Most definitely. But life’s for living, and if you have the money…

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 front 3/4 close

In the metal it’s a sculpted, muscular coupe-sedan. There are fat haunches, quad exhaust exits, the bonnet’s ribbed with power bulges and bronze six-pot callipers grip giant ceramic rotors behind 21-inch forged alloys.

The signature Panamericana-like front bumper remains a delight, while bootlid GT 63 S badging in red adds a sexy, racy touch. It’ll never match the two-door GT Coupe for aesthetic glory, but the whole family can’t travel in that one.

Standard inclusions are an integrated, automatically extending rear wing, power closing doors, an AMG light display down the flanks and metallic paint, while AMG Ride Control+ air suspension covers your adjustable damping.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 cockpit

Move inside and you’re treated to Nappa leather, an incredibly busy, swipey-button-packed AMG Performance steering wheel, massaging climate seats, three-zone climate control, head-up display and grey open-pore ash wood trim.

Twin digital screens merge into one covering your MBUX (“Hey, Mercedes”) multimedia and driver display, there’s Burmester surround sound, 64-colour ambient lighting, sliding glass electric sunroof and Benz’s Driver Assistance Package Plus safety.

The seating position’s more grand tourer than bum-on-the-road sportscar, but deep bucket seats and driver-focused cabin layout help it feel special. Metal paddle shifters, metal climate buttons and wood trim all feel superb quality.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 seats
Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 back seats

And are you really buying one for the kids to enjoy too? They’ll be spoilt little darlings with twin heated rear seats, a massive centre console for phones or tablets (in lieu of a middle seat), more wood trim and soft plastics everywhere. Adults will find head room tolerable but leg and toe room stingy.

For touring, rear seats only fold if you option the DMX-Manufaktur Exclusive package – more on that shortly – but the boot itself is fairly practical.

There’s 457L of boot space on offer, although it’s two-tiered. Great for a few overnight bags, but harder if you want to bring suitcases.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 boot

But while you’re dropping $400k, why stop there? If you don’t agree with the five choices of Nappa leather colours, the $8990 DMX Manufaktur offers three more alternatives (brown, red or white) and a full ‘business console’ for the rear seats, temperature cup holders and touchscreen included.

Cost option body colours include Green Hell, Kalahari Gold and Copper Orange – you wanted to be noticed, remember – while $3490 buys an AMG exterior Night Package, or dig deep for the $18,490 Carbon Package, which includes a fixed carbon-fibre rear wing.

An AMG of outstanding excess

The GT 63 S E Performance could be the poster car for the modern multi-millionaire. There’s really too much of everything: power, acceleration, weight, luxury and cost. But that’s just how some like it.

Most modern of all is the electrification side. This is a plug-in hybrid, but with just 12km full electric range, EV-only driving seems a handy by-product and nothing more. What that rear electric motor brings is more of the more: power, torque and tyre-shredding speed.

So rapid is the regeneration and so small the battery, coasting and braking manage to recharge the battery so effectively I can’t imagine you’d ever need to use the AC plug to power it up.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 2023 side static

Our track test showed this GT’s a dazzlingly effective speed monster with an enduringly glorious boosted AMG V8 at its heart. Did it need an electric shove up the backside? Of course not. But let’s celebrate AMG doing so to make this four-seater even more bonkers.

If your local track’s a Grand Prix circuit with long straights you’ll be a happy customer, but this big bruiser’s less at home on the tight, twisty stuff at speed.

Most relevant of all would be continent crushing across Europe, ideally on an autobahn, with family in tow. How will Australians use a GT63 S E? Rarely to its potential, sadly. But who wouldn’t be proud to show off what is – for now – the most powerful AMG of all.

Overall rating
Overall rating
Running costs
Below average
Overall rating
Running costs
Below average
Approximate on‑road price Including registration and government charges

Key specs (as tested)

3982 cc
Bi Turbo
470kW at 5500rpm
900Nm at 2500rpm
Power to weight ratio
Fuel type
Fuel capacity
0 litres
7.7L/100km (claimed)
Average Range
0km (claimed)
All Wheel Drive
5048 mm
1953 mm
1453 mm
Unoccupied weight
2362 kg

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