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As much as we don’t want to believe it, we are facing an odd time in this modern era. When Mercedes-Benz cuts back on their AMG V-8 performers due to production and microchip issues, you know strange times are among us. Which pains me to say that the GLE AMG 63 is now just a distant memory and the most powerful GLE you can now buy is the AMG 53.

Even though the GLE AMG 63 I tested a year ago was full of naughty entertainment, the GLE AMG 53 is the more civilized pleaser that won’t eat your wallet every time you stop for fuel. Featured with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine, it produces a heathy, heart-thumping 429-horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. To step up its technology game even further, Mercedes-Benz has developed a mild-hybrid system noted as EQ Boost that can provide a momentary boost of 21-horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque when the going needs to get gone. The end result makes for a hasty acceleration from 0-60 mph in just over 5.0-seconds.

Paired with a fantastically engineered 9-speed automatic and 4Matic All-Wheel drive system, the GLE AMG 53 managers a near 50/50 torque disputation that can be split between the front and rear wheels, but when duty calls, it has the ability to be 100% rear-wheel drive making the drive to the school zone drop off a little more entertaining than the typical minivans that are still trying to get their morning together.

Riding an Airmatic Active Ride Control suspension setup, the GLE glides over road imperfections with active roll stabilization and well maintain body control in the chasses. Using the drive modes settings between two sport modes, Comfort and a couple off-road modes, each modify the suspension setting to provide the best possible outcome. Slide the drive mode into Sport + and we’ll get the hear the rumble and bark of hungry stomach coming through the quad tip exhaust.

On the outside, there are subtle difference between the standard GLE and the AMG version. The AMG features a horizontal grille and sportier lower facia details. I’ll admit, when it comes crossover SUV’s, I like the rim sizes to fill up the cars wheel well, so when our example arrived with more rubber than its 20-inch rim, it does seem a little off setting, like I cheap’ d out on the options menu of our $87,000 crossover – however, on the plus side, the more rubber on the tire the better the ride comfort and more multi-terrain options it can handle.

Inside, you’ll find the traditional Mercedes set up with leather covering just about every touchable surface. Having gone for a less sporty alternative on the interior, ours features an attractive black Nappa-leather seating arrange with contrasting black micro-fiber suede inserts topped off with one of the most beautifully natural wood grain elements I’ve seen in a car yet.

The result of the microchip and production shortages aren’t at a total loss when having to forfeit the V-8 engine for something a little less squirrely. The GLE AMG 53 brings in a peachy, delightful driving experience to what can be a rather unruly performance world. But I sure do hope this doesn’t mean Mercedes-Benz will shelved their V-8’s for good – after all we like a little naughtiness from time to time.

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