But that’s all to do with only one end of the car’s broad spectrum of ability – and to explore the other, access to a venue such as Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, where Messrs Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo et al will all be headed next month, is a handy thing to have. On the road, because the GT 4-Door is a more dynamically rounded, civilised thing than a GT sports car, it is perhaps a little less exciting than its two-seater ‘relation’. But you’d take that, and you certainly wouldn’t complain: because when you go looking for real excitement in the GT 4-Door, in the most appropriate sort of place, you’ll find it in abundance.
This is a big car with the agility, balance, body control and indulgent adjustability of something much smaller and lighter – but, as we know, it’s not alone in being like that. In terms of outright lateral grip and braking power, it’s great – but not really in a different ballpark than, say, a BMW M5 or a Porsche Panamera Turbo. But even when you’re driving the GT 4-Door flat out and you’re making it corner more neatly and quickly than a two-tonner ought to be able, its dynamic voodoo is perfectly hidden.
There must be all sorts of things going on all the four corners of this car to make it handle so sweetly mid-corner, and to stop from high-speed with such stability: sizeable changes in suspension setting, e-diff setting and drive torque distribution, and polar switching of the car’s four-wheel steering logic. They’re things that AMG’s rivals either have to allow you to perceive, or to mask with over-assistance.
But the GT 4-Door covers its tracks sensationally well. Leave it in four-wheel-drive mode and, though you can drive it as hard or as badly as you like, and be aware that the car must be continually adjusting in so many ways to keep it on line though you just don’t feel it. The steering stays tactile and consistently weighted; its throttle-on handling balance stays just the right side of neutral; its stability control is working away, but you wouldn’t know it; its lateral grip level is constant and dependable; and the damping of that heavy body, as it changes attitude and direction, remains surprisingly natural and effortless. Engage drift mode, meanwhile, and that sense of poise, precision, adjustability and close control steps up again.
Unlike in other big GT cars, you don’t seem to be able to drive the GT 4-Door too hard or too luridly. It’s with you every inch of the way on your journey through initial surprise, through intrigued exploration, and into delighted exuberance. And it stays right there with you, communicating the bounds of its remarkable limits better than most cars of its type, and keeping its poise and benign controllability considerably better than even a GT sports car manages.
Does the GT 63 earn its AMG badge?
If you’re anything like me, although you might start your acquaintance somewhat bothered and baffled by the idea of the GT 4-Door, you’ll eventually become convinced by its dynamic execution. Or to put it another way, while you might not like what the car is, when you really get to know its range of capabilities you’ll love what it does.
It may be big and heavy, but it goes, stops and handles like something much lighter, leaner, lower and smaller. It may be four-wheel drive, but it can manage and marshal its driven axles more cleverly than most. It may be pretty dull to look at next to a two-door Mercedes-AMG GT, but it’ll be a damn sight easier to live with. And it may have a slightly disingenuous and misconceived model identity, but I’d challenge anyone who owns one to really care.