– Granada, Spain
I'll admit to being a bit of a Mercedes-AMG fan. I love the cockpit-inspired interiors and the curvy exterior designs, to say nothing of the powerplants under the hood. However, what really has me intrigued as I drive the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GT63 is all the technology that goes into making this V8 monster a veritable corner destroyer when the road turns twisty.
This 2024 model marks the second generation of the GT. While its history starts with the gull-winged SLS, its closest cousin these days is the SL Roadster. It’s grown over seven inches longer with a nearly three-inch longer wheelbase, and there’s all-new sheet metal since we last saw the two-door coupe in 2021. But there are more fundamental changes here out of Affalterbach than just looks.
|Quick Specs||2024 Mercedes-AMG GT63|
|Engine||Twin-Turbocharged 4.0-Liter V8|
|Output||577 Horsepower / 590 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH||3.1 Seconds|
|Top Speed||194 MPH|
|Base Price||$150,000 (est.)|
If you were hoping for a rear-wheel drive car, too bad. The new GT gets standard 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive that keeps the power at a 50/50 distribution front to rear, or throws all of it to the rear depending on the situation. The old seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has been nixed for a nine-speed automatic with a wet multi-disc start-off clutch, and the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 produces more torque.
And it’s not just performance that gets a big upgrade for 2024. There’s a new MBUX infotainment system with a big ol’ screen, there are more driver’s aids, and cargo space is up to nearly 24 cubic feet, more than you’ll find in the trunk of the GLC SUV.
The V8 Abides
While buyers will be able to select a base GT55 with 469 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, my tester is the GT63, which pushes out 577 ponies and 590 pound-feet of twist. The top speed is 196 miles per hour and Mercedes says it can scoot to 60 miles per hour in just 3.1 seconds. I don’t get to test that claim on my mountainous route, but I have no reason to doubt it. This thing is scary fast.
The requisite drive modes here are Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race, and Individual. One day brings near-freezing temperatures plus rain and fog; Slippery keeps the throttle muted, the transmission lazy, and the torque gentle so I don’t drive off the mountain. Comfort mode is best for daily driving – I’ll have more to say on this in a bit – but Sport mode is really my jam.
In Sport mode, the shifts are quicker and the throttle tighter with just enough nannies to make me a better driver than I probably deserve to be. Sport+ loosens the nannies and will let the tail hang out just a bit, which is fun, but also a bit scary in a very expensive car that isn’t mine. Further, the variable-rate steering seems to kick in mid-corner in Sport+, forcing drivers to execute mid-corner corrections. I feel like I’m fighting the car a bit in this mode. Race mode is best left for actual track time where there aren’t sheer drop-offs and oncoming traffic.
Still, giving it the beans in Sport mode results in a glorious noise from the V8, with the engine climbing nearly to redline before the nine-speed snaps into the next gear. There are paddle shifters, but this car does such a good job on its own that I don’t feel the need to use them often.
With a sharp curve ahead of me I brake hard and find I’ve done it too early, entering the corner way too slowly. The transmission downshifts on braking so at least I’ve got all the torque I need for my exit. The next turn I brake a bit later, but again I’m too early. There is so much grip it’s like I hardly need to slow down at all. What the heck is going on here?
A few things, my driving friends. Number one, the GT wears Micheline Pilot S5 tires and they are massive – 305/30ZR in the rear and 295/30ZR in the front, both wrapped around 21-inch wheels. The rear steering points the wheels out of phase at speeds under 60 miles per hour so turn-in is crisp and utterly delightful. However, the secret sauce is really in the hydraulic anti-roll system.
The GT does not have a mechanical anti-roll bar in the front or rear. Instead, there is a hydraulic system that connects all the dampers, with oil going into a shock wherever it’s needed. When the car goes into a corner, the oil gets pumped to the outside dampers, working against the roll motion of the car, and improving camber. Better camber means more tire on the road means better grip means more fun for you and me.
This thing is scary fast.
This system also connects the compression side of one damper to the rebound side of the other. Mercedes says this gives the GT an infinite roll spring rate, increasing comfort. After all, a mechanical sway bar essentially works at a fixed spring rate.
However, the system is still tuned to be rather stiff. The ride is composed, sure, but it’s far from the plushness I would expect from a so-called “GT” car. After all, isn’t a grand touring car supposed to be able to cruise up the Pacific Coast Highway with ease and then switch to a corner monster in the hills? I don’t expect a floaty quality, but I can still feel each pavement imperfection with bone-jarring accuracy. The good news is that the steering lightens up here and the throttle isn’t so touchy.
You may also want to temper your expectations for a quiet ride when you’re just cruising. The GT sacrifices sound deadening for weight – although Mercedes hasn’t revealed the number on the scale quite yet. While the engine noise is fantastic when I’m on the throttle, the wind and road noise that makes its way into the cabin when just toddling down the highway gets old quickly.
New MBUX, Who Dis?
However, the car has more features to make cruising easier. A lane-change assist will do the work for you if you signal first. There’s also lane keeping assist as well as a steering assist, traffic sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control. Personally, I like the blind-spot assist with exit warning that can detect an oncoming bicycle or vehicle and issue an alert if I even just move my hand toward the door handle.
There is a 12.3-inch configurable gauge cluster but I’m in love with the 11.9-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen running the latest MBUX infotainment software. I like that all the icons are on a single screen, no swiping through to see any functions, and that the HVAC controls have a permanent home on the screen so I don’t have to dig through menus to find them.
If you’re a bit of a navigation nerd like me, you’ll appreciate the what3words option used to enter a destination. Here the world is divided into three-by-three meter squares with three words assigned to each square. Just enter those three words and the navigation will find the best route to that location. It’s super-helpful if trying to find a destination with no postal address. The augmented reality will also overlay arrows and other helpful icons on a forward-facing video feed to help drivers find their destination. It’s pretty cool.
You can also control the system using your voice. Saying, "Hey Mercedes" will wake the assistant and you can then use natural language like, "I’m cold" or "Find the nearest gas station” as commands. You can even ask her to tell you a joke. They are terrible, but they are technically jokes.
Interior ergonomics have gotten much better here as well. The weird shifter that was placed awkwardly toward the rear of the center console is gone, replaced by a stalk on the steering column. There is also more storage up front for smaller items, although the door pockets are still pretty tiny. The optional Performance seats are great for support when getting down to driving business, but are way too hard for any long-distance driving. The standard seats are much more cushy and they even have a massage feature.
Oh, and there is an optional backseat in this two-door coupe. However, it is best left to children or your biggest enemies as there is barely a modicum of space in the rear. At 5 feet 9 inches tall, I can’t even sit upright back there.
A Better GT
In all, the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GT63 is an improvement over what was already a pretty great car. The all-wheel-drive system helps with handling in both sunny and inclement weather and the cool hydraulic anti-roll system gives grip for days.
However, with its uncomfortable Comfort mode, I’m not sure how much of a grand touring car the GT63 is. Sure, the cargo space is giant and there is plenty of tech to make cruising nice and easy, but I want a bit more of a cushy ride on a long-distance trip.
Not that I am the demographic for this car. Although Mercedes has not announced pricing yet, we expect it to start north of $150,000 when it comes to dealerships in the first half of 2024.
Gallery: 2024 Mercedes-AMG GT63 First Drive Review
2024 Mercedes-AMG GT63