What really matters about this car isn’t anything to do with Nürburgring lap times, of course. All that anyone getting out of an AMG GT will care about is how much easier the GT 4-Door is use. Can grown adults sit in the back seats? Is the boot a proper size? Can I get in and out of the front without slipping a disc? And can it handle a slightly icy roundabout at midnight in February, on my way home from wherever, without frightening me halfway into a Porsche 911 Turbo?
The answers there are all entirely positive. AMG supremo Tobias Moers likes to make bold claims about his cars, but when he says the GT 4-Door has a breath of ability that he thinks is unmatched among four-seater sporting GTs, he is to be believed. Stick the suspension in ‘comfort’ mode and the GT 4-Door rides very nicely but for a bit of low-speed damping bristle. The gearbox is smooth and slick. The sports seats are bolstered – more so than in most performance saloons – but they’re comfy and accommodating. The rear cabin’s big enough for six-foot adults to be pretty at ease in, and the boot’s bigger than you get on most family hatchbacks. It may have more torque than most supercars but this car needn’t come close to scaring you on the road. And, more importantly, it needn’t worry, frustrate, discourage or annoy you with any high-strung histrionics either – which you couldn’t say of an AMG GT.
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.