2024 Mercedes-AMG GT 63: Test-Driving An ‘Apex Predator’

Mercedes takes its elite 577-horsepower supercar to the next level.

(Mercedes-Benz USA)

The Maceo Plex soundtrack thrums throughout our handsomely appointed cabin as we squiggle over the mountains of Andalusia, slaloming across sun-drenched foothills in a 2024 Mercedes-AMG GT 63. The synthesis between the techno surging from the Burmester sound system and the GT 63’s surgically delivered force utterly transforms the test drive into a Nicolas Refn flick: tense and thrilling, taut with trial.

We’re behind the wheel of the second generation of the Tristar’s apex predator, the AMG GT, to gauge its evolution from the sui generis model that ceased production in September 2022. The years for this successor gestating in AMG’s womb in Affalterbach, Germany, are proving themselves worthwhile as we rip across Spain’s southern province, blurring orchards of gnarled olive trees basking in the hot Mediterranean sun.

“We get up every day at Mercedes and say, ‘Okay, let’s do something extraordinary. Let’s create icons.’”

The most salient element with almost any AMG vehicle is, of course, the engine. In this case a bi-turbo 4.0-liter V8 terror generating 577 horsepower and a potent 590 pound-feet of torque. Although not as unhinged as the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 that preceded this V8 in the AMG bloodline, it is still a thing of feral beauty.

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Early in our drive the shifts felt a bit tame, that is until we dialed the mode up to Sport Plus. Instantly the car morphed; shifts from the AMG nine-speed came lightning quick, the rumble out of the tailpipes modulating into an aggressive snarl as we joyously tested out its reported boost (the official 0 to 60 mph click in 3.1 seconds seems about right).

With its max torque available at only 2,500 RPM, keeping all four wheels firmly planted proves challenging as we climb dizzyingly up and down the countryside, at one point reaching 11,500 feet of altitude. A seemingly endless array of switchbacks tests the GT’s AMG Performance 4MATIC+ AWD as we pass mountain towns that long ago disappeared into the haze of time, fading pueblos with names like Laroles, Picena and La Pacea.

Yet the GT 63 remains remarkably on point. Credit an improved limited slip differential that allows for more torque delivered to the rear axle, also unlocking the GT’s new Drift, aka “Smoking Rear Tire,” mode. While it shares a futuristic aluminum, magnesium, composite fiber and high-strength steel frame with its convertible SL cousin, the GT boasts a wider track to fit fatter tires.

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Combining the damper technology from the last gen GT’s halo Black series with a semi-active hydraulic suspension system allowed AMG to remove the anti-roll bars, adding even greater traction. This results in the 2024 GT boasting an even wider spread between comfort and performance than its predecessor when toggling between driving modes.

In the end, as we paint the Andalusian hills with a blur of glossy Patagonia Red, the two most striking aspects of AMG’s latest supercar are its tremendous grip and torrent of torque coming out of corners. When we finally have a chance to stop at one of these anachronistic pueblos—painted entirely white, clinging to the top of a cliff like lichen—to grab a café con leche, a crowd quickly gathers around our gleaming Patagonia Red GT like it’s a mythological creature.

Watching them take in the gorgeous sheet metal reminds me of the conversation we had the day before with Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer for Mercedes-Benz Group. As big fans of the first-gen GT’s exterior design, we noted there didn’t seem to be too drastic an evolution with this new model.

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“We actually didn’t want to make it much different, because this is our [Porsche] 911,” he stated flatly. “So we must not change it too much.” The winner of the 2017 American Prize for Design has a point. The GT is one of those instances where if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The original GT was a near-perfect vehicle when it first appeared in 2016, a master class in shape and balance—unclear whether because of, or in spite of, its radical proportions, heroically long hood and Coke bottle hips. Oftentimes manufacturers feel the need to evolve a model’s exterior, and in doing so actually devolve it aesthetically. See Audi R8, BMW M3, and many others. The AMG GT does not stumble face-first into this pitfall.

The second generation takes everything the first gen did well and improves it ever so slightly without over-polishing any of its wondrous raw edges. The idea was, if anything, to make the supercar more livable. So they engineered the new GT with a higher seat for a more comfortable driving position and easier entry and egress. They added optional rear seats that fold down to offer an extraordinary 23.8 cubic feet of trunk space—enough room for three golf bags, hunting rifles or even skis.

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For performance, they improved handling with the aforementioned suspension upgrades and standard rear axle steering, while also adding active-aero bits like a carbon front underbody element, cooling vents and a rear wing that shifts into five different positions, all optimized by parameters like speed, aggressiveness and driving mode.

“We get up every day at Mercedes and say, ‘Okay, let’s do something extraordinary. Let’s create icons,’ Wagener told us that day from a rooftop in Granada. “Let’s not do mainstream fashionable stuff that is old tomorrow. We do luxury cars, and we want them to have a long life. I believe we have a lot of iconic potential cars, and the GT is one of them. That’s why we treated it so carefully.”

“The synthesis between the techno surging from the Burmester sound system and the GT 63’s surgically delivered force transforms the test drive into a Nicolas Refn flick.”

Mercedes’ design champion—the man who’s lead the aesthetics on heart-stopping concepts like the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 and AVTR; classics including the S-Class Coupe, CLS and G-Wagen; and unicorns in the form of the stunning “Gullwing” SLS and Mercedes-AMG ONE F1-powered hypercar—knows a thing or two about creating icons. “Even though I keep saying my favorite is always the one I’m working on right now, the GT is still my favorite to look at,” he reveals with a sly smile. “And to drive, of course.”

(Mercedes-Benz USA)

Follow Deputy Editor Nicolas Stecher on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Maxim magazine.