The trade-off for the lower price is the loss of a couple cylinders. The GT 53 features the turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 found in other Mercedes-AMG models with the 53 designation. That means it has 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. It also has the Mercedes EQ Boost 48-volt mild-hybrid electric system that not only has an electric starter/generator for coasting and take-off, but an electrically-driven compressor wheel to spool up the turbocharger quickly. It's an engine that we've found to have a wonderful sound and remarkable response. It even ended up as a finalist for this year's Autoblog Tech of the Year award.
The engine is coupled to a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system, though it does not have the "drift mode" feature the V8 cars get. Combined with the inline-6, the GT 53 will hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds on the way to an electronically limited top speed of 174 mph. That's 1.1 seconds and 19 mph behind the next-fastest AMG GT 63. Electronically adjustable suspension, six-piston front brake calipers and a Burmester sound system are among the standard feature highlights.
When the pricing for the V8 AMG GT four-doors came out, we compared it with the Porsche Panamera, its closest competitor. And it compared reasonably well. The six-cylinder model compares even better. While you can get a Panamera for less than $90,000, it only makes 330 horsepower. To get similar power and all-wheel drive as the GT 53, you have to spring for the Panamera 4S, which starts at $105,250. That makes the Mercedes look attractive in comparison.
What might be an issue is Mercedes-Benz's own CLS 53 sedan. It has the exact same engine, transmission and even the same 0-60 time. But it starts at just $80,895. You could even argue the CLS looks better. But the GT 53 has the bragging point that the entire car was developed by AMG, and it's arguably more practical with its hatchback. The CLS only has four-piston brake calipers versus the GT's six-piston units, too. Whether those features are worth another $19,000, though, is up to buyers.