Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door sets Nürburgring lap record (sort of)

The Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door just went to the Nürburgring Nordschleife — the ultimate forum of automotive bragging rights — and set a very fast lap time. Development engineer Demian Schaffert took an AMG GT63 S version around the 12.8-mile German racetrack in 7:25.41. Mercedes claims that’s a new record, but that’s where things get complicated.

In 2017, the Jaguar XE SV Project 8 turned in a 7:21.23 lap. Like the AMG GT 4-Door, it’s a four-door production car. But Jaguar will only build 300 copies of the Project 8, and the car used for the record run was equipped with the optional track pack, which deletes the rear seats. That is an option that will be available to customers, however.

The Project 8 stretches the definition of “production car,” and Mercedes seems to be hanging its record claim on that. In the description of the lap video, Mercedes calls the AMG GT 63S “the fastest full-fledged four-seater production car ever to conquer the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife.” A Mercedes representative told Motor1 that the record applies specifically to a four-seat vehicle, since Jaguar removed the rear seats from its Project 8 to achieve the lap time it did.

It seems Mercedes is claiming its lap time is more legitimate because its car is a genuine mass-market vehicle, while the Project 8 is a limited edition built mostly for track use. But wait, there’s more.

Most people would call a four-door, four-seat car a sedan, but Mercedes calls the AMG GT 4-Door a coupe. Traditionally, coupes have two doors, but Mercedes and other automakers now market “four-door coupes,” combining two sets of doors with sleeker styling than typical sedans. Mercedes was first out of the gate with its CLS-Class in 2004, but this niche now includes models like the Audi A7, BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, and the AMG GT 4-Door.

Jaguar unambiguously calls the Project 8 a sedan, so by Mercedes’ reckoning, the two cars are in different classes. That Mercedes wants to compare lap times with Jaguar is a testament to the flimsy nature of the “four-door coupe” concept. All you need to know is that the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door is a seriously fast car.

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