Of all the shiny new models on the Mercedes stand at Geneva the AMG GT4 was definitely the car that stole the show for car enthusiasts. While the overall message may have been about electrification and efficiency, the size of the crowd around the blue GT 4-Door Coupe left no doubt that AMG is the centre of passion for the three-pointed star.
With clear design cues that draw its family relationship to the AMG GT Coupe, the GT 4-Door Coupe looks like it was born angry, its big front air scoops and grille with vertical bars giving it the requisite amount of autobahn overtaking presence. The basic 63 has 577hp, with 630hp in S spec. Both have a 9-speed AMG transmission and 4Matic+ with a drift mode. The EQ boosted i6 motor powers the entry-level 53 model.
At the pre-night event we were taken into a darkened room where we could sit in an actual production GT4 63S and explore what its sporty but plush cabin has to offer.
Having driven the new CLS a few days before Geneva, it was interesting to draw a comparison since on the face of it both are sleek, coupe-like designs. However, while the CLS has a boot like the E-Class, whose basic platform it shares, the GT4 63S is physically larger and is a hatchback.
While both cars have rooflines that plunge rapidly above their rear seats, the GT 4-Door wins the rear seat headroom race by about an inch. As with its Panamera rival, the GT 4-Door Coupe gives buyers the choice of a rear bench seat for three or the two individual seats separated by a console. The Business option provides rear TV screens, although the idea of being chauffeur driven in this car seems at odds with its reason for being.
Held securely in place by figure-hugging high-backed sports seats the driver and front passenger face the familiar current generation Mercedes style dashboard with the elegant dual widescreen instrument and infotainment panel. The sunken centre console takes a leaf from the AMG GT design book, but brand new are the touch controls for various driving functions that come to life with the ignition.
Fitted to the car at the pre-night event, but not the one on the stand, were optional control knobs under the steering wheel spokes that allow the driver to change driving modes on the move with less distraction. Like the console controls their graphics only light up when the ignition is on.
The other AMG machine that stirred up plenty of emotions was the new G63 AMG, which was placed on a roomy plinth so you could stand back and take in its imposing size.
While it looks superficially alike, the new G-Class does not share a single panel with its illustrious predecessor, and is larger and roomier in almost all dimensions. What it does have in common though is the legendary solid, bank vault like feel. That goes for the whole Mercedes range, and even at the entry-level the all-new A-Class shows how build quality has improved over time. The fit, finish, and the hewn from the solid impression you get when you close the doors of all Mercedes models is even more apparent now.
Geneva was deemed the opportune time to show the face-lifted C-Class, which debuts in June. Wearing subtly revised front and rear bumpers and lights, this best-selling model also boasts an updated interior with a new instrument pack and wider high-resolution telematics screen above its centre console.
The AMG C43 benefits from more purposeful looking front and rear bumpers, the latter with a diffuser flanked by four round exhaust outlets. The engine has also been massaged slightly with power up from the previous 367hp to 390hp.
Definitely underplayed in their significance here were the new C and E-Class 300de (diesel-electric) models. I have long held that the only reason Toyota achieved its success with the Prius was because its largest market, the USA, was petrol-only at the time.
In reality the superior torque of a turbo-diesel makes it a natural pairing with an electric motor in a hybrid arrangement. While the 300de Plug-In Hybrid suffers from intrusion of the battery pack into boot space, you cannot dispute the appeal of nearly 300hp and 700Nm system output with just 35g of CO2.
As always Brabus had the largest and most impressive stand of all the tuners, and were showcasing their latest powered by the 4.0 litre bi-turbo AMG motor for 800hp and 1,000Nm of torque.
The Brabus 800 upgrade for the E63 S AMG is sure to be popular, and the 4Matic+ drivetrain makes a big contribution to the supercar killing 3.0 sec 0-100km/h sprint. While this level of power would surely take the car past 320km/h (200mph), Brabus electronically caps its Vmax at 300km/h (186mph).
Next door, the Brabus 800 version of the S63 Coupe looked splendid with its rich tan fine leather interior. This is a good way to cover vast distances in style.
The latest Brabus forged alloy wheel is called the Monoblock M ‘Platinum Edition’ and initially comes in 9.5J and 10.5J x 21-inch sizes for Mercedes cars. These wheels look bigger than they are and at first glance we thought they were 22-inch. This larger size will arrive later, along with a 23-inch diameter high-load version specifically for off-roaders.
The Monoblock M ‘Platinum Edition’ comes in two surface finishes, and the V8 S-Class wore the normal full face polished version, while the V12 Maybach showed off the ceramic polished variant.
There was only one Mercedes on the Mansory stand but this S-Class ‘Signature Edition’ really showed off the exquisite personalised carbon-fibre parts the company is renowned for.
The whole bonnet is made from this richly patterned carbon-fibre along with matching components like the front air splitter, side air vents, door mirror covers, side sill inserts, rear diffuser, bootlid spoiler and trim and the rooftop trailing edge lip.
In the cabin, a complete re-trim in fine leather and Alcantara is set off by more of this uniquely patterned carbon-fibre trim. It might be a bit much for most people, but Mansory never leaves you in any doubt that your wish is their command.