Going Mainstream: 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 43
Like many other brands, AMG to Mercedes is how ‘M’ is to BMW, the ‘F’ to Lexus and even the ‘N’ to Hyundai – a performance division that takes an already designed and engineered car and makes it better, makes it more obnoxious and most of all, more expensive. It’s a system that has worked well for many years until a few years ago AMG decided to pull out their coloring pencils and try a car of their own. The result was a beautiful crafted four-door coupe that looked part super car, part family sedan – much like the SLS AMG back in the day. Now, for 2021 there’s a new entry model, AMG GT 43.
Losing sights on what AMG represents, the GT 43 carries identical performance attributes to the rather non-performance oriented Mercedes-Benz E 450 sedan of 362-horsepower and 369lb-ft of torque. From the start, the GT 43 is noticeably quick with its turbocharged mild-hybrid assist inline-six cylinder engine, it uses its performance wise shoveling its power through a 9-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and can achieve 0-60-mph in about 4.5-seconds – nearly .5-seconds quicker than the E 450 sedan. The transmission is eager to please no matter what drive mode of your choosing with virtually no lag in responsiveness between gear changes. Even when opting for the manual steering wheel paddle shifters, they provide a tactile presentation with short efforts to their entry points and sniper quick response times.
Forcing the GT 43 into our daily city life regime, it was probably more torture on the car than it was on us. This four-door coupe had its wheels yearning to stretch its rubber on a twisty canyon road, but ended spending most of its time in rush hour traffic. Even with the mundane of 5-mph bumper-to-bumper agony, the GT 43 at least acted like how a Mercedes should. The suspension is well composed and the transmission was smooth with responsive braking. The interior is a comfortable setting with the attractive use of supple leather and wood with the use of faux suede materials. There is ample space for all four occupants that can play the game of who can avoid saying Mercedes to keep the new digital assistant from activating.
Even when sitting in traffic we’re able to sit back and relax with Mercedes Kinetics relaxation motion active driver and passenger seat that is designed to keep the occupants alert and blood flow circulating. The use of the dual 12.3-inch digital displays fills the premium presence of the cabin that is intuitive and easy to use. However, once we went to use the Apple CarPlay, the system started to show its age by the harsh delays and lag time between inputs. Technology is a hard thing to keep up with…
That said, when the mountain man officially came a calling, we couldn’t resist the urge to buckle up, engage Sport + mode and crank up the exhaust volume. The GT 43 is a big sedan-coupe, and it feels as such when pushing through bends of the canyon roads, the steering felt stiff, having a heavy unnatural feel but the transmission tuning more than made up for it as it the ratios hung tight and the turbocharger was quick to action boosting us out of every turn. Then there’s the soundtrack – it may not be as theatrical as the GT 63 or 53 for that matter, but it barks and fart just as much as a Taco Bell bathroom, only just a little quieter.
With a starting price of $89,900, the GT 43 may seem like quite the AMG bargain, but as we all know with any Mercedes, that’s just getting you in the door. There are more options than color choices and when we add up all the ones checked off for our tester, its final price reached $107,995. The kicker for us isn’t necessarily the $10,000 more, $99,950 AMG GT 53 with 429-horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque that can be achieved by just opting for a few less convenient comfort options, but is the Audi S5 and RS5 Sportback that is a lot more cheaper, a little more quicker, and assumed to be just as much fun to drive.
Vehicle: 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT 43
Base Price: $89,900
As-Tested Price: $107,995
Engine: 3.0-liter Inline-6 Turbocharged Engine with EQ Boost
Horsepower | Torque: 362-Horsepower | 369lb-ft of Torque
Transmission: 9-Speed AMG Speedshift Dual-Clutch Automatic
Drivetrain: 4MATIC All-Wheel Drive
MPG: 20 | 25| 22 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG: 19.6-MPG-Combined | 24.5-MPG-Highway (200-Mile Test)
Fuel Range: 420 miles
0-60 MPH: ±4.5 seconds