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Mercedes takes its AMG GT sports car in an unexpected direction

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Having tried seemingly everything else, Mercedes-Benz is taking its AMG GT sports car in a different direction.

In the car world, the phrase “four-door sports car” is a tired cliche. But with its 2017 Geneva Motor Show concept, that’s literally what Mercedes tried to create.

That concept really is a four-door version of the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car. Built to celebrate AMG’s 50th anniversary, it packs one more big surprise besides the unusual bodywork: a hybrid powertrain, which is a first for Mercedes’ AMG performance brand. It’s also going into production, although Mercedes did not say when.

Mercedes only refers to the four-door as an “AMG GT concept,” but reports suggest the production version could wear the name GT4. Because it’s an AMG GT with four doors, get it? While it may have four doors, Mercedes considers the concept a “four-door coupe,” putting it in a category the German automaker invented with its CLS-Class. The AMG GT concept actually looks a bit like a CLS, with the front and rear fasciae from the two-door AMG GT tacked on.

The concept packs some novel technology within its svelte form. That big-mouthed front end incorporates active shutters into the central and side air intakes, which close to improve aerodynamics when extra cooling air isn’t needed. The daytime running lights and taillights feature “nano active fiber technology,” which uses tubular rods in place of conventional lighting elements. Cameras on the front fenders take the place of mirrors.

The four-door AMG GT concept is the third model to wear Mercedes’ new “EQ” badge, following the Generation EQ electric SUV concept, and the automaker’s 2017 Formula One car. EQ is now Mercedes code for electrification, and in this case that means a hybrid powertrain pairing the stock AMG GT’s 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with an electric motor and all-wheel drive. The result is 805 horsepower and a claimed 0 to 60 mph time of less than three seconds.

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Mercedes does plan to sell plug-in hybrid AMG production cars, using “EQ Power+” branding, but it is unclear whether the specific hybrid system used in the AMG GT concept will make it to production alongside the car itself. Either way, it’s clear that AMG is really starting to branch out.