Drive Time – 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53 Coupe
With the current competitive popularity of SUV/Crossover segments, you knew raising the volume “to 11” would surely follow. Yes, many luxury rides will haul folks and cargo in opulence but there’s always someone willing to build and pay a bit more that extra vroom.
Mercedes-Benz’ AMG performance division devised the superlative GLE 53 Coupe that’ll take you from 0-60 in an eye blink. That is some heady capability for the nearly 2.5 ton beast. For those with the desire and means to plunk down $76,000-$90,000 the AMG GLE 53 Coupe has to be on your short list of a fast, nimble and extravagant SUV.
The 2021 version is a leap ahead in all phases of the outgoing GLE 43. Thus, it’s the perfect time to investigate the wow factors of this superb beast injecting some good ‘ol fashioned adrenalin to your daily schedules. And you can option it up to your specific desires for it to feel like a Weapon of Seduction to delight the senses.
The exterior is a big and beefy yet elegant in design with the Coupe’s streamlined roof. The tester’s Iridium Silver Metallic paint looks fantastic with its terrific contrasting trim. It delivers evident hints of the fire-breathing presence lurking under the hood with larger air intakes, an aggressive grille and sports fascia compared to the tamer SUV siblings. Cool puddle lights display the high-def Mercedes-Benz emblem light from the side view mirrors. Twin arched brow running lights adorn the bright Adaptive Highbeam Assist headlights and LED taillights look magnificent at night. Attractive (and lighted) running boards with traction disks help to enter and exit the elevated stance. The striking 21” AMG Multi-Spoke Black wheels, quad chrome exhausts, black rear diffuser and AMG Night Package to complete the beautiful brawn appearance.
The AMG version of their tamer siblings brings ample oomph to the party. Of course, the star is that delicious hand-built 3.0-Litre 429-hp/384 lb.ft. torque, Bi-Turbo inline-six rocket launcher bringing a smile to any driving enthusiast. The warbling programmable exhaust through quad exhausts is music to your ears as you punch the petal. It’s lightning quick for such a brute too, sending you 0-60 in 5.2 seconds. That’s some heady sports car numbers for a large people mover. In addition, the new EQ Boost adds 21hp/184 lb.ft. torque in short bursts.
Handling is superb with the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive to both cruise comfortably and let ‘er rip in turns with zero sway. The 4MATIC is rear-wheel bias but navigates well through Mother Nature’s worst as I faced some literal gully washers in North Texas.
A superb 9-speed transmission shifts flawlessly and in Sport and Sport + modes downshifts with perfectly malicious exhaust thunder – a lovely soundtrack that motivated me to keep the radio off. However, you can turn off the thunder with a toggle switch when relative silence is desired. Worthy.
One can individually select adjustments for the air suspension, steering, powertrain and throttle response via the seven driving modes (Individual, Trail, Slippery, Sand, Comfort, Sport and Sport +). Cruise in luxury or unleash the fun utilizing the sport paddles in full manual shift mode. Of course, I opted to remain in Sport for the custom settings, exhaust notes and excellent handling. The chassis will raise or lower depending on the driving mode.
AMG High Performance Braking superbly stops the 4,900 lbs. in short order. Gas mileage is decent too at 19/23 mpg in part to automatically shutting down the cylinders when coasting.
This base $76,000 cocoon should surround the passengers in sumptuous grandeur and the AMG GLE 53 Coupe delivers splendidly. There’s so much luxury, so many whiz-bang goodies to enjoy. High-end materials including are abundant throughout the superb layout.
The heated and cooled contrast-stitched AMG Black Nappa leather seats and contrasting racing red seats belts are to die for. The perfect seat positions were simple to find. Side bolsters help lateral support when you hit a tight curve. Oh, and drive in euphoric splendor by utilizing seven massage settings to reward you after a long day at the office desk or on the golf course. I regularly dialed it up.
I’m a big fan of the gearshift on the right steering wheel stalk that frees up valuable room on the console. How about heated and cooled (they work great!) cup holders? Paddle shifters change gears without a hitch. The thick sport steering wheel with the squared bottom is perfect with perforated leather at the 9 and 3 positions for extra grip and comfort. Lighted kick plates and up to 64 ambient lighting choices are a welcome touch.
Numerous large drink holders are handy along with wireless charging and five USB-C ports. The power folding 2nd row seats are a great touch and provide good legroom too. Cargo room starts at 23 cu. ft. with all seats up (you can still stack two golf bags) but up to a spacious 63 cu. ft. with rear seats folded.
360-degree Surround View cameras help maneuver the AMG GLE 53 Coupe into tight confines. A double-pane panoramic roof illuminates the interior. Optional AMG Carbon Fiber/Black Lacquer Trim adds to the sporty elegance.
A huge stunning 12.3” customizable digital instrumentation cluster is coupled seamlessly with the MBUX touchscreen infotainment screen. Drivers have the choice managing the plethora of settings via a track pad sitting on the console or utilizing the touchscreen. An impressive Burmester Surround Audio system is plenty good for audiophiles.
Of course, mindboggling technology is at your disposal including mini trackpads on the steering wheel to adjust info and the gorgeous Head Up Display. Bluetooth voice transmission is crystal clear as well and Apple Car Play and Android Auto are included.
This brawny beast also delivers the latest reassuring safety features including the handy Driver Assistance Plus and Parking Assistant packages. It will gently remind you to stay in your lane, constantly scans traffic up 1,600 feet sensing traffic patterns to help prevent front collisions (Collision Prevention Assist), brace you for a rear-ender, and PRE-SAFE brake with Pedestrian Recognition. The radar-enabled adaptive cruise keeps you safely behind cars ahead.
The 2021 AMG GLE 53 Coupe is a superb blend of grin-inducing performance, sumptuous luxury, and impressive technology. At a base price of $76,500 this spirited people mover will deliver its inhabitants in creature comforts while effortlessly barreling down the road whenever the mood strikes.
Test-drive the 2021 AMG GLE53 Coupe at Park Place Motorcars in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington and Mercedes-Benz of Plano.
Golf Bag Storage: A bunch – depending on how many seats are folded down
Curbside Appeal: That sure doesn’t sound like an SUV
0-60: 5.2 sec.
MPG: 19/23. Observed 21.5 in spirted driving
Must-Haves: AMG Nappa leather, Driving/Parking pkgs & AMG Performance Exhaust
Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Base Price: $76,500
Price as Tested: $90,360
Who Buys It: Those desiring near unlimited horsepower and luxury appointments
Finish Line: A must-drive when raising your sights on a performance SUV