We drive the sublime Mercedes-AMG GLE53
Fast SUV’s are in demand lately and while they don’t make much sense they are a laugh a minute to drive. These massive machines are as fast and sometimes faster than many sportscars. One of the latest and albit less ferocious in terms of engine size is the Mercedes-AMG GLE53. This car feels crisp, alive and sharp despite the fact that it has swapped the V8 rumble for a lively 3.0-litre six cylinder which offers all the must-have pops and bangs that you expect.
Sure, the V8 is insane, it's loud and stupidly fast but this GLE53 AMG is no slouch, it feels a lot more user-friendly and it not only looks good, it sounds fantastic as well and that’s because it is powered by a brilliant 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbocharged motor. It develops 320kW and 520Nm which is a far cry from the some 450kW and 850Nm offered by the GLE63 AMG. However, the 53AMG benefits from a 48V on-board electrical system which provides extra power. It adds around 16kW and 250Nm into the mix, mostly on pull-aways and when you execute an overtake.
The GLE53 AMG features a 9-speed automatic gearbox and a 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system, both add more potency into the mix. The sound that this car makes is also a highlight, it pops and bangs on the overrun while the engine note itself is in my opinion very Jaguar-like due to its high-pitched range.
The overall experience is quite different to that of the bigger GLE63. The GLE53 AMG lets you extract a bit more fun out of it. It feels as if you could push it harder more often, the fun is not on the top shelf, it's easily accessible. That said, this SUV felt equally as good meandering around town as it did blasting along a back road.
The interior is also visually appealing, sporty and full of technology. We love the duel-screens which offer a host of features. These include a digital instrument cluster with various themes to choose from as well as the large infotainment screen, this lets you control various aspects of the car and media functions. It is a touch screen but can be operated via the touch-pad on the center console. The system also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Another element that we enjoyed is the impressive ambient lighting throughout the cabin. This creates a talking point, especially at night.
The cabin is spacious and packed with quality trim throughout while retaining that sporty look and feel. Luggage space is also decent with the option of lowering the rear seats to increase the practicality on offer. Another practical aspect is hidden in the Dynamic Select option. Here you can choose between various drive modes but because this is an SUV you get off-road modes as well. This also includes sand mode which better utilizes the all-wheel drive system to deal with sandy conditions.
While we did not put the vehicles off-road credentials to the test, we can confirm that the all-wheel drive system does provide extra grip when on the tarmac. The GLE53, despite its performance credentials remains a comfortable SUV and as mentioned, it seems easier to handle and play with than the bigger GLE63. While we adore the big fat AMG offering, this 53 AMG is more than enough when it comes to a usable, practical and good looking performance SUV.