Scotland is not Italy. This is clear from any lunch menu—pizza garnished with haggis rather than funghi—but also clear from the difference in roads and landscape. If you were to consider a European road trip in a fabulous grand-touring sports car, the roads of Tuscany might call out to you.
Consider, instead, the island of Scotland. Then imagine traversing the wild-tinged Highlands in something like the new Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door. The AMG is a grand-tourer of the highest order, ideal for jigging around Scotland with a full, bagpipe-worthy blat of its mighty V-8.
So it was that fantasy met reality, and I found myself in a brilliant blue GT 63S on Scotland’s east coast. It was wintertime, but no less beautiful for it, with a thin layer of snow coating the earth and a fierce blue sky overhead. We began our journey in the city of Aberdeen, and made our temporary home at Fasque Castle, a 200-year-old stone mansion rising out of the farmland.
Scotland is not a big country, and yet one leaves behind populated villages quickly, finding narrow roads that snake through rolling hills and forests. The driving is grand, but do remember to stay on the left side of the road and mind the onrushing lorries.
This is the first four-door sports car ever developed fully by AMG, and its sporting character is more in line with the SLS gullwing or two-door GT than a chauffeured sedan. The car gets sophisticated sporting equipment like rear-wheel steering, an electronic limited-slip differential, and downforce supplied by a rear spoiler that deploys at high speeds.
Of course, it’s also gifted with an AMG hand-built engine, in this case either a four-liter twin-turbo with 577 hp, or a 630 hp heart found in the S model. As befitting any AMG, torque is prodigious and explosive.
For this drive, our car was helpfully outfitted with snow tires, which compromised the ride quality slightly, yet allowed us to carve through clumps of snow littering the skinny roads. (Forget about any kind of shoulder when it comes to the Highlands.) The all-wheel-drive system gives additional confidence, and pulls the GT out of steep corners when driving spiritedly.
The 4-Door simply loves to gather speed in mad, quarter-mile-gobbling dashes, the sound of the engine bellowing lustily. Yet it turns happily into corners in a manner befitting a much smaller car. In comfort mode, just idling about, the GT is composed and genteel, owing to the AMG Ride Control, which runs on a multi-chamber air suspension.
The car really can fit four adults in a reasonably comfortable manner, with all the fine leather and nicely grained wood one would expect. This AMG also gets the latest trick accoutrements, from twin 12.3-inch high-definition screens to controls on the center console that are now digitally displayed. (Are those tiny digital displays necessary? Not at all. But they do look cool.)
The U.S. will get both the regular and S GT by the middle of this year. Pricing starts at $136,500 and $159,000, respectively. We’ll also see a six-cylinder 53 model at a later date. One expects the car to compete with the likes of the Porsche Panamera and BMW 8 Series.
Sailing down a lane so skinny it has no middle markings, we saw only sheep and the odd, wooly example of Highland cattle. Bounding over a stone bridge, we passed an abandoned stone shack with an iconic red telephone box standing outside, weather-beaten and yet still somehow proud.
Scotland is unmistakably a place unto its own, as special as any in Europe. So too goes the AMG GT 4-Door—a distinct and different kind of four-door GT. It’s a lucky thing to experience both together.