A few weeks ago I spent some time behind the wheel of a 2022 Mercedes-Benz GT53 AMG. At first sight I thought that the car looked pretty interesting with a sharp exterior design and the first flat paint I have liked on a car. Mercedes calls the color Starling Blue and it looks amazing on the car.
I took the car on a road trip to the Maine Classic Car Museum in Arundel and the first thing I noticed was that the car had quite a bit of road noise. I was willing to give the GT 53 a pass about this at first, justifying this to myself by considering it is supposed to be a performance four-door coupe, but the longer I drove it the more annoying the road noise became.
The performance of the car was good not great, with a reported 0-60 mph times of around four-seconds and a top speed of 174 mph, which is definitely fast. I have no doubt that the car is capable of achieving both numbers but somehow felt no desire to explore those limits.
I read a review by Car and Driver where they said that the GT 53 had neck snapping acceleration, but in my time with the car in sport mode, I cannot say that I was that blow away by the car’s performance. It is quite fast but not “neck snappingly” so as we define it today.
That being said, the turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with an electric supercharger, and a small electric motor sounded great while in sport mode but somehow the noise did not equate to the performance offered.
The interior of the car was quite nice as well, with a nice yellow contrasting stitching on the black leather dash and a great instrument layout with a terrific display. The fit and finish was also typical Mercedes quality and everything was affixed perfectly. The one drawback to the interior were the front seats. In an effort to make it look more like a racecar, Mercedes chose to use a seat that resembles a racing seat, but offered little in the way of comfort. They seem to have been designed around a driver that was around 5’ 8” tall, and with me being 6’4” tall they grew more and more uncomfortable as the miles behind the wheel increased.
The electronics of the car were fairly easy to understand and pairing with my phone was both quick and simple. The control layout for many of the settings though still remain buried in menus, making adjustments of the advanced adaptive seat controls a bit of a chore with some learning required to adjust things like the side bolsters. Did I mention that I hate the seats?
The other part of the electronics I found wanting was the Burmester audio system which was good but not great. People make a big deal about this system but I am a fan of high-end audio systems and came away a bit disappointed.
The handling of the car was good but again not great and the steering feel was a bit disconnected with not a lot of road feel through the steering wheel.
As far as living with the GT 53 that was also a mixed bag. Electronic aids such as the adaptive cruise were maddening, as the car changed speeds based on the speed limit no matter where I had it set (yes I did learn how to turn this off after menu mining). The lane assist was sometimes good and at other times seemed to not work at all. When it worked it was excellent, but I could never figure out why it would stop working, especially while driving on interstates with little traffic and no construction.
Another low point was due to the four-door coupe design. Due to the low roof, entering the GT53 can be difficult if you are tall as you need to remember to duck your head before getting in. The same is even more true of rear seat headroom which is also limited due to the roof design. It would be one thing if the car was a two-door coupe, but headroom should be decent in a four-door car. I’m not looking for SUV headroom, but a person 5’ 10” tall should not have to slump in the rear seat to avoid hitting their head on the roof.
A high point for living with the GT 53 was storage space, as the hatchback allows the car to hold a truly incredible amount of cargo that is easy to load.
If it sounds that I thought the GT53 was a bad car that is not the case. As it is a decent car but for the money it just failed to deliver what I expected from a Mercedes with the AMG name attached.
The biggest problem though is when you compare the GT53 AMG to the competition. The car I tested had a sticker price of $124,220. That is a lot of money for this car. What makes the price more problematic is when you compare it to another car out there; the BMW M5 Competition.
The M5 Comp does everything the GT53 does but better, with the exception of utility due to the huge trunk on the GT53. Everything else including; performance, comfort, ride quality, and electronics are better executed in the M5. In the class of European manufactured boutique models the BMW M5 Comp is a better car in every other way.
If you drive a GT53 and have never driven the M5 Comp you are likely to come away quite impressed as it is a nice car. If you have already experienced the mind-bending performance combined with the comfort and superior electronics, not to mention the vastly superior audio system of the M5, then I have no idea how you could even consider the GT53 as a purchase.
And now here’s the kicker. I just used the online configuration tool to build a M5 Competition on the BMW website and the car I built, which was loaded with everything except the carbon brake option, had an estimated cost of $122,350. That is almost $2k less than the GT53. With that in mind the GT53 is not even in the same universe as the M5 and costs more.
Just as a postscript, you should know that I do not hate Mercedes cars. I have owned six Mercedes cars, including an SL55 AMG, so I am a pretty big fan of the brand. In fact, the 2022 Mercedes S class cars are possibly the best European luxury sedans in the world. That being said, you would have to be out of your mind or completely brainwashed by the folks at Mercedes if you were to even consider the GT53 over the M5 Competition.
2022 Mercedes-Benz GT53 AMG
Vehicle type: 4-passenger sedan, all-wheel drive
Base price: $102,600 Price as tested: $124,220
Engine: supercharged, turbocharged, and intercooled DOHC 24-valve 3.0-liter inline-6, 429 hp, 384 lb-ft + AC motor, 21 hp, 184 lb-ft; (combined system, 429 hp, 384 lb-ft; 0.9-kWh lithium-ion battery)
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 116.2 inches Overall length/width: 199.2 inches / 76.9 inches
Curb weight: 4,563 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 19 city / 24 highway / 21 combined
Assembled in: Germany