It nearly takes longer to say “Mercedes-AMG GT 63 4-Door Coupe” than the 3.3 seconds said car requires to rip from zero to 60. That lengthy mouthful could be eschewed in favor of “four-seat rocket,” and you’d be left with the right idea. Outside the 19th-century Fasque castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland on a sub-zero winter morning, my idling super chariot was emitting low growls like a modern day hunting dog, awaiting unleashing. And there’s nothing the latest salvo from Mercedes-AMG can’t catch.
At first blush, an elongated—and equally potent—iteration of range-topping Mercedes-AMG’s GT R seems the least ideal car for a jaunt around the Highlands of Scotland during winter. It’s nearly as wide as some of the pinched country roads. Restraint must be exercised with that 585-horsepower, twin-turbo V-8 because the area is infested with speed cameras. Snow and ice abounded, sometimes behind blind corners, all while slow-moving farm equipment forms rolling roadblocks. Yet each of the 250 miles driven over 24 hours was a proper hoot.
Any chilly doldrums of the morning melted with the first snarl of a Sport-Plus downshift as we fired north. While narrow, the undulating country carvers are well suited for the GT’s active rear-steer (counter-phase below 62 mph, and in-phase above) which helps the 4,600-pounder slice through corners easier than a sword through haggis. It feels far more nimble than something with equal largess deserves to. Even though it’s all-wheel drive, clever torque vectoring shifts the thrust between axles and, under heavy acceleration, a giant percent can be shoved to the rear. Mash the gas, and you’ll feel just a shudder of slip before the ESC kicks in and stabilizes you as the car eats the asphalt. Rinse, repeat, and grin.
A few straights on the cruise to Banchory beckon you to drop a gear and disappear, and because feeling 590 lb.-ft of torque pin you against the Nappa leather seats never becomes tiresome, it was easy to oblige. The town arrived in a hurry, and a stop at a quaint coffee shop helmed by a charming couple resulted in a wonderful cup of joe and a few unassailable recommendations about Scottish road-tripping.
One was a stop at a picturesque overlook in the fishing town of Banff, about 55 miles farther up, near the coast. The idyllic farmland and sleepy hamlets rolled by comfortably, especially as the GT’s massaging seats gently pummeled my back into tender submission. In Comfort mode, the adjustable dampers soften and the car lives up to its grand touring descriptor. Soon, the North Sea beyond the nestled row houses of Banff rolled into view. If you’re not pressed for time, visit the Duff House, a palace built for the Earl of Fife back in 1735, for a quick tour and a spot of tea. Wind through town to arrive at a horseshoe curve above the docks, where a spectacular view of the calm bay beyond the stone breaker wall awaits, even on a dreary overcast day.
For local lunch fare, we nosed the GT west, to the Craigellachie Hotel. Situated in the county of Moray, you’re soon deep in the heart of malt whisky country, on great driving roads. Popping the nine-speed transmission into manual mode and attacking the fast sweeping corners, the GT snarled up through the revs, and barked loudly on the downshifts. By the time the hotel neared, I debated turning around to run the pass again, but 50-plus local whiskies and farm-to-table pub grub await in the hotel’s rustic Copper Dog restaurant and bar. Pro tip: Try the sublime Shepherd’s Pie or the perfectly crispy Fish and Chips, complete with mushy peas.
That area around the Craigellachie is overflowing with distilleries, many of which welcome inquisitive visitors, but if you want the most bespoke experience, go to Glenfiddich. Tours range from one to four hours, and there’s a on-site bar, rife with special releases you can’t get in the States. But the magic happens in the gift shop, where you can bottle a cask-strength 15-year-old single malt, directly from the cask itself. Not only is that liquid delicious—and unavailable anywhere beyond this gift shop—but it’s so neat to select your own bottle, pull the lever to fill it, and even write the labels by hand.
When it’s time to input the Aberdeen airport in the navigation system, the high-res 12.3-inch display will suggest the A96 highway, a fine route. But if you’re in the likes of the GT 4-Door, the twisty b-roads will leave you quite chuffed. Scotland is a magical place, and it pairs so well with the GT 63 4-Door because that Coupe’s got a few tricks up its sleeve, including letting you forget, if only for a moment, that you’re driving a four-seater. To that, we say slàinte.
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