There’s no problem defining the GLE SUV. It’s a large luxury
SUV, second in size in the five-range Mercedes-Benz family and, in AMG form, it
boasts a pleasing blend of space and performance. But the recently announced Coupé?
Some call this genre SUCs (Sport Utility Coupé) but that’s not an appealing
acronym. Let’s just enjoy what it offers; coupé style with SUV capability.
The widescreen MBUX infotainment system is standard equipment in the AMG 53 4MATIC+, offering a choice of touchscreen or voice-activated control. Among the unique AMG features is a choice of three display styles, ‘Classic’, ‘Progressive’ or ‘Sport’, while the 12.3” instrument cluster also includes the AMG Racetimer and start-up display. Augmented navigation, live traffic information, smartphone integration and wireless charging are among the many standard features. Active Parking Assist with its 360° camera can automatically steer the vehicle into parking spaces.
The 3.0-litre straight-six engine in the GLE 53 has two forms of forced induction. One is an exhaust-driven turbocharger. The other is an electric compressor, part of an innovative 48V system that also includes the EQ Boost starter-alternator. Its function is to respond instantaneously to throttle inputs, faster than a conventional turbo, giving the AMG 53 the ability to react in an eye-blink to driver inputs. Power figures are 435hp and 520Nm, but the EQ Boost electric starter-alternator can add a further 22hp and 250Nm of torque for a brief period; the same device also enables smooth stop-start and coasting technology.
Acceleration from 0-62mph takes just 5.3 seconds whether you choose the Coupe or SUV body style, with 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive apportioning torque to the wheels with the most grip. AMG Ride Control+ air suspension offers three damping settings, Comfort, Sport and Sport+, allowing you to fine tune your preferred drive characteristics.
You can enjoy the power of the new AMG 53 engine in two GLE forms. The first is the GLE SUV, an imposing luxury seven-seater with 630 litres of boot space that expands to 2,055 litres when the second and third row seats are down. Then there’s the GLE Coupé. This has a coupé-like roofline that’s claimed to cut wind resistance by nine percent compared with the previous GLE Coupé, and a wheelbase that’s some 60mm shorter than the SUV. As it’s not a seven-seater it offers 655 litres of boot space that expand to 1790 litres.
Both models feature the distinctive AMG grille with vertical vanes, 20” AMG alloy wheels, AMG body styling and diffuser-style rear apron. Side panels carry a small ‘Biturbo 4MATIC+’ badge while the front brake callipers feature AMG lettering. To say they stand out from the crowd would be an understatement; both models express SUV power and prestige in strikingly different forms.
Both the SUV and Coupé are equipped with Traffic Sign Assist, Active Braking Assist and Lane-Keeping Assist. Mercedes Me Connect includes emergency call system (eCall), accident recovery, breakdown and maintenance management. If a collision cannot be avoided, then Pre-Safe gets airbags and seat-belts ready to do their job.
The optional Driving Assistance package (standard on Premium Plus models) includes semi-autonomous features such as Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Cross-Traffic Assist as well as Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control.
Verdict: the hybridised 3.0-litre straight six that powers the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4 MATIC+ delivers both responsive performance and impressive efficiency. AMG styling and technology sets the SUV and the new Coupé apart, and there’s plenty of space for five adults (or seven in the SUV). Should you venture off road, the 4MATIC+ variable all-wheel drive will find grip where others slither. An impressive portfolio of talents.