A NAUGHTY SURPRISE: 2021 MERCEDES-AMG GLE 63S
It’s not often a car manages to spark up an old memory… or in this case a fantasy. Reminiscing back to our teenage years when libraries were a thing, we’d go not to check out a book, but rather the librarian. She’d give you that smile, slowly sliding her hair out of her eye and around her ear – then suddenly had the urge to use the restroom… Well, in this case, Mercedes is the Library and the all-new GLE is the librarian.
You see, the GLE, like our fictional librarian is attractive in that awkward, nerdy kind of way. It has smooth lines and nice bone structure. Its approachable behavior is charming, yet stimulating. But it has a naughty surprise. Dropping the brown skirt, revealing the sexy long, muscular legs, this GLE isn’t just another grocery getting crossover – it has a 603-horsepower twin-turbocharged V-8 engine between its legs and its ready to rock your world. Try to keep it in your pants.
After having been asked why would anyone want a high-performance SUV, what’s the point? To which we replied, “Uhhhh, why wouldn’t we!?” Pushing the limits of unnecessary greatness, two decades ago, Mercedes set out to produce the worlds fastest SUV with the ML 55 AMG that generated 342-horsepower from its handcrafted V-8 engine. Compared to today, that’s chump horsepower as the top performing GLE 63 S is where one might get the most rise out of their pants – hopefully you’re not wearing skinny jeans. Sprouting 603-horsepower from its 4.0-liter bi-turbo V-8, the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S is a missile that’ll shoot all 627 lb-ft of torque from 0-60-mph in 3.7-seconds. Connected to a swift-kicking 9-speed automatic, there is never a delay when it comes to rolling in this hay.
Using the latest start-of-the-art technology, Mercedes has developed a mild-hybrid system noted as EQ Boost – the GLE 63 S’s 4.0-liter V-8 is the first AMG to receive this technology that mounts a 48-volt motor-generator snuggled between the engine and the transmission. Supplying energy to most of the on-board electrical system, the generator also works in conjunction with the vehicles performance supplying an additional 21-horsepower plus a temporary 184 lb-ft of torque when it deems necessary. Designed to fill in the gaps, the EQ Boost system works flawlessly with the transmission and turbocharger to provide seamless performance where the boost from the turbos may be trying to catch up. This system also develops one of the most unfathomable start/stop systems in the industry.
Upgrading to AMG status, the GLE 63 S lures us in through its persuasive voluptuous gestures with its flared wheel arches, wide-set 22-inch matte black wheels, huge red painted AMG high performance brake calipers and black-tipped quad exhaust. Once inside the real magic of its corporeal ways takes over as we grab a hold the DINAMICA covered AMG performance steering wheel, changing the drive mode on the steering from Comfort through Sport, Sport +, Individual into Race and listening to the throaty sound of the V-8 exiting through the pipeline with every burble. It’s then we discover the GLE is not just a powerhouse of straight-line tickles, but a naughty, agile demon that wants to get all hot and sweaty.
Utilizing electromechanical speed-sensitive steering, it changes direction swiftly with precise receptiveness. The active ride control is constantly adjusting with the movement of the vehicle that sustains level body control and more direct handling controllability. Changes can even be made to the steering with different configurations through the AMG Dynamics system from Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master. Master, ehh? Did we just step into some BDSM… now we made things weird?
We have to remember, the GLE 63 S is still a crossover after all and has some of those weird crossover-ish things about it. The transmission while snappy has its lazy moments when we try to drive it like its hot in manual mode. The suspension paired with its high-performance summer rubber sends a little more unwanted feedback when we drive over uneven surfaces. Now, we determined a fix for that – the faster we drove the smoother the ride got. But that’s the AMG way. It can even drop 0.4-inches above 75-mph to reduce drag. It also can rise 2.2-inches when off-roading in Trail and Sand mode… but let’s be honest, with this $1515 optional Diamond White paint, the only trail this GLE 63 will see is the parking lot to the hiking trail. On the bright side, fuel consumption was better than we expected as we saw just over 21-mpg’s on our 200-mile highway test and 18-mpgs combined.
There is not shying away from the GLE 63 S’s $113,950 starting price. Equipped with supremely comfortable, highly bolstered AMG sport seats wrapped in Nappa leather with suede inserts, the interior is as spacious as it is a quaint quiet oasis. Loaded with an array of standard features like the Multi-contour heated and ventilated massaging front seats, two 12.3-inch crystal clear high-definition displays, Burmester Surround sound system, plus the standard safety system, there is plenty of technology to justify the means. Now, if you want more, Mercedes leaves a good chunk of about $20,000 in options available – which our tester was happily was fitted with.
Among all the equipped options, one in particular stood out. Advancing the standard equipped safety, the $1700 Driver Assistance Package Plus left us with mix emotions. The active lane change assist is a pretty neat feature that practically changes lanes for you at the flip of the indicator. Even the Active Stop & Go traffic assist allows you to travel stress free through stop and go as it doesn’t even require hands on the steering wheel. However, as technology begins to advance, so does some of its complications. The lane keep assist system for instance is far too aggressive that it feels like we’re slamming on the brakes should we accidentally lean too close to the lane line. We also found, during the duration of the adaptive cruise control system, its Active Speed Limited Assist function is far too dramatic – one of many circumstance we witness was on an interstate, with the cruise control set to the speed limit of 75-mph, the system mis-read a sign for 45-mph causing the vehicle a theatrical slowdown. Surely had our blood pressure rising, and not in an excitable good way.
The idea of a high-performance crossover is surly ostentatious. Its brash, outlandish and showy. And that’s why we love it. Two decades ago, Mercedes set the standard for high-performance utes – something its consumers have come to expect. One thing is for certain, this all-new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S sets a whole new level of performance that surely knocks our socks off before climbing in between its sheets.
Model: 2021 MERCEDES-AMG GLE
Trim: AMG GLE 63 S
Starting Price: $113,950
As Tested: $133,660
Color: DESIGNO DIAMOND WHITE METALLIC
Engine: 4.0-LITER HANDCRAFTED AMG V-8 BI-TURBO
Horsepower/Torque: 603-HORSEPOWER / 627 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 9-SPEED AUTOMATIC
Drivetrain: AMG PERFORMANCE 4MATIC ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
EPA Rated Fuel Economy: NOT LISTED
AS TESTED: 17.8-MPG COMBINED / 21.4-MPG HIGHWAY (200 MILE TEST)
Fuel Range: 390 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±3.7 SECONDS