Deep Dive: Mercedes-AMG GT4 Takes On the Porsche Panamera

Mercedes-AMG plans to take on the Audi RS 7, BMW M6 Gran Coupe, and Porsche Panamera with its new GT4. Despite the name, the GT4 is not a stretched version of the GT coupe with four doors and four seats. It’s a striking AMG-only vehicle that fuses the dynamic talents of the AMG GT with the architecture of the next-generation Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class (due in 2018).

The Mercedes-AMG GT4 will share its body structure, wheelbase, and chassis with the three-box CLS replacement, code-named C257, but the two four-door Benzes won’t share a single piece of sheetmetal and will look very different.

The next Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class is said to look a bit like an E-Class after an extensive nip-tuck session, while the design of the GT4 was inspired by the two-seater AMG coupe. The GT4 bears all the insignia of a classic GT: wide track, imposing stance, low, slim greenhouse, aggressive front end, and comparatively small footprint. Unlike the Aston Martin Rapide, the four-door AMG coupe should be quite roomy, easy to get in and out of, and highly maneuverable thanks to relatively compact dimensions.
Mercedes AMG GT4 Illustration Rear

The GT4’s exterior has a single character line that runs the full length of the car, which is unlike almost all current Mercedes models. Also new are the sculpted flared fenders, the three-dimensionally tapered bumpers, and the so-called Panamericana grille. Instead of a single crossbar, the intake air is channeled through a dozen or so vertical chrome elements. To accommodate four full-size suitcases, the rear end is longer, taller, and wider than the 911-like posterior of the GT. Although the car doesn’t need a wing, marketing has insisted on an eye-catching motorized tail rudder, aerodynamically necessary or not.

The lavish interior is being laid out from scratch and should strike a strong balance between sportiness and luxury, sources say. The quality of the materials and the range of options are said to be classy enough that the car could even — hypothetically — merit a Maybach badge.

Despite similar, swoopy looks, the GT and GT4 will have little shared. The GT was derived from the high-strung SLS while the GT4 is, in essence, a sexier E-Class sedan. Compared to the Mercedes-AMG GT, the GT4 measures a foot longer, has a longer wheelbase, and will be more than 4 inches taller. To achieve a balanced weight distribution, the engine and transmission of the four-door version sit as close to the firewall as possible. The GT4’s short overhangs and aluminum-intensive structure help lower its center of gravity, which should put its grip and handling prowess on par with a proper sports car.

It would make a lot of sense for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 to crib its steering, brakes, and chassis from the Mercedes E63 AMG S replacement due in 2017. Among the extras believed to be under development for the GT4 are adaptive air suspension, an electronically controlled differential, dynamic engine mounts, and carbon-ceramic brakes. The transmission is the familiar nine-speed automatic with a wet takeoff clutch, and the gearbox will have the provisions for the addition of a hybrid module in the future.

We expect two different versions of the Mercedes-AMG GT4, base and S. In both cases, the more frugal 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 from other AMGs will provide motivation. As far as power output, around 500 hp from the base and 600 hp from the S are realistic estimates. The GT4 S should be able to storm to 60 mph in about 3.4 seconds. Expect starting prices of the $132,000-$154,000 range, with 4Matic all-wheel drive available for a little bit extra.

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