Most casual petrolheads look only at the top-shelf, high-powered versions of cars. Then you have the introspective ones who can appreciate both the motoring purity of a no-frills base model, as well as the high-g thrills of a range-topper, such as the different sorts of pleasure you enjoy from driving a Carrera right up to the GT3 RS for instance.
(Click HERE to read about our drive in Porsche's Type 992 911 Carrera S)
What then, about the middle of the pack models that real buyers really look at? The ones that possess just enough poshness, yet not too much to be flash, and more importantly, sufficient firepower to have fun on the streets without feeling you’re risking life, limb or license when you blow-off some steam during a weekend or midnight cruise.
This sweet spot is exactly where the ‘53’ AMG models sit – and rather comfortably too, we might add – in-between the 43s and fire-breathing 63s. What’s more intriguing is the 48V mild hybrid set-up that can be found under the bonnet of the 53s, which adds 22hp and 250Nm of e-boost to the turbocharged inline6’s efforts.
And what better body-style for our guest, Mr. Adrian Thio, Pirelli Asia’s Managing Director, to sample than that of the AMG GT 4-door Coupe, a veritable executive express. The 'AMG GT' in the beginning (of the ‘AMG GT 53 4-door moniker) might lead you to think of the sports-coupe, but the ‘4-door’ at the end explains this is a four-door coupe. Kinda like the CLS then?
Erm, not quite (and not just because the GT is more of a ‘fastback’), at least according to Mr. Mark Raine, VP Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Malaysia at the regional ‘dynamic’ launch of the AMG GT 4-door in Malaysia earlier this year.
“The GT 4-door merges four-door coupe and two-door GT – business limousine merged with Gran Turismo. While the CLS 53/ 63 customer is someone looking for more power (and performance) from a four-door coupe, the GT 4-door customer is a customer looking for a practical sportscar. After all, the GT 4-door is a proper racecar you can use on the track,” he says.
In any case, we see the GT 4-door as going up against the likes of the Audi A/S/RS 7, Porsche Panamera and the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe, all of which feature a range of engines that spans mundane to monstrous performance (depending on your tastes and of course, bank balance).
We find out it's Adrian's first proper go in an AMG, "I haven't had much experience with AMG cars prior to this '53' drive. The last time I interacted with one was during the Pirelli P-Zero launch at the Shanghai International Circuit in 2016, where one of the test cars was an AMG SLS GT, but the random lottery saw me taking the wheel of a McLaren instead. To me, the most unique thing about AMGs is the way they sound – one rev and you'll know it's an AMG!"
Sound and performance are important qualities for any sportscar, but so are its looks, because you want the show to accompany the go! "The front of the GT 53 looks great; it's sporty, yet classy, but the rear could look more aggressive, because I feel it looks too 'ordinary' without the spoiler raised," Adrian says.
He goes on to say, "The kids loved the GT 53 and the retractable rear spoiler was a big hit! There aren't many cars that boast such performance yet have spacious back seats (or in some cases, any back seats at all!)"
The kiddos weren't the only ones to be impressed by the GT 53. "The neighbours loved it too! I think the car really appeals to professionals at the peak of their careers looking for something exciting to drive, yet fits into their daily-drive lifestyles," he adds.
In his commutes from home to office (and back again), Adrian pronounces the GT 53 'amazingly versatile'. He goes on to elaborate, "It is a car that can fit any lifestyle and the tech-laden cabin really impresses, especially with the dual 10.25-inch screens. One moment you're cruising along the expressway in comfort mode like an S-Class, the next moment you can engage Sports mode to enjoy the 435hp/520Nm performance of a proper sportscar. The extremes in personalities that come with the different driving modes make this car very special, especially since engine, suspension and other dynamic settings can also be personalised."
He smiles broadly and adds, "It's perfect for someone looking for an everyday car that won't look out of place at the office carpark, can accommodate the family, yet will deliver bags of driving fun on-demand to please any petrolhead on the weekends."
We touch on a topic near and dear to Adrian's heart – tyres. Thankfully, the GT 53 is shod in the 'right' tyres (yes, it's wearing Pirelli rubber and no, we didn't rig it!) for this experiential drive. But really, how important are good tyres for performance cars like the GT 53?
"Well, this is such a versatile car that the tyres have to be versatile as well to bring out its best performance. A tyre with good all-round specs and extreme performance capabilities is perfect to let the GT 53 shine," he says.
So what's Adrian's perfect 'fun' car? "For me, having fun is something to be enjoyed with my family and friends. This is why the GT 53 is in the running for 'perfect' fun car, because it delivers a scintillating drive and allows me to have either my friends or my family in tow."
PHOTOS Zotiq Visuals
Mercedes-AMG GT 53 4-door Coupe
Engine 2999cc, inline6, turbocharged
Electric Motor 22hp/250Nm
Transmission 9spd AMG Speedshift TCT auto
Top Speed 283km/h
Fuel Consumption 9.4l/100km