Tested: Mercedes-AMG 53 4-Door is a well-balanced alternative to the 63
PRETORIA - Sometimes we get to spend time with a car that you would dearly like to have as your daily drive or even just as a weekend warrior to enjoy long stretches of tar to put a grin on your face.
Nothing over the top or borderline stupid or dangerous, just enough to make sure you're in control should you decide to push the boundaries.
Such a car I found the Mercedes-AMG GT 53 4Matic+ 4-Door to be, with its striking fastback shape that will stand out in any parking lot.
Not to be missed too is the delightful sound emanating from the four tailpipes when you press the start button and select Sport mode. It's generated by an in-line six cylinder 3.0 litre turbo-charged engine that's good for 320kW and 520Nm and will propel you to 100km/h from a standing start in 4.5 seconds.
In addition that's supplemented by a 48V hybrid system, comprising a boost effect of up to 16kW and 250Nm which includes a lag-mitigating system, that gets you going as you stomp on the accelerator before the turbo does its thing.
The swooping roof line and bulging curves covering the 255/45/ZR19 front tyres and 285/40/ZR19 rear rubber gives it a Salma Hayek- type look and appeal and that's never a bad thing.
Coupled to a nine-speed AMG Speedshift that changes cogs effortlessly as you accelerate the GT 53 is remarkably nimble considering its 1970kg kerb weight. Much of that is thanks to the 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system that will keep you honest and on the edge before you run out of road and talent.
Given that it's a Grand Tourer, it may be nimble, but you won't be winning any timed multiple S-bend competitions but when you head for long stretches of tar at speed the GT moniker fits perfectly.
However, during the time I had it there were one or two occasions where I had the good fortune to come across an empty twisty road destined to become clogged with mommy and daddy wagons once another estate is completed.
Flipping through the gears and hearing the snack, crackle and pop on the overrun is pleasantly unlike a Grand Tourer and in Race mode you had to keep your wits about you because it really wasn't shy to let all four wheels slide and let you enjoy taking control as you floored it out of a sharp bend.
Once you hit the higher gears and pick up speed a rear-spoiler pops up and up front electronically controlled louvres open and close to direct airflow, something that was taken from the AMG GT R.
And while that's all very impressive, the interior isn't too shabby either especially as a tourer where you're likely to spend a lot of time being grand and on tour..
It's a 2+2 machine which doesn't get much space for adults at the back in the two dedicated seats separated by a console fitted with two USB ports and a wireless charger, but smaller kids should be fine.
At 395 litres of luggage capacity and an extra 60 litres beneath the boot floor, you may have to reconsider the kitchen sink and a "pack lightly" rule will have to be implemented before you head off for the holidays.
The seats hug your body perfectly, the chunky flat-bottomed steering wheel with switches and one-touch toggles feels comfortable, the large twin screens housing the infotainment system and electronic dials are clear even in harsh daylight and a sizeable centre tunnel connecting with the fascia, ensures that all your comforts are taken care of.
The striking design and low slung nature of the GT 53 AMG coupled with a very well balanced engine and sophisticated drivetrain that delivers enough power and propulsion without being a hooligan would be my go-to car in the AMG range ahead of its more wicked and powerful V8 siblings.