THE Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV range is set to grow its appeal further with the addition of a new high performance variant, in the form of the practical and stylish Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+.
Loaded with the extensive safety innovation and technological mastery of the existing range of petrol and diesel-powered models, the GLE 53 adds a potent mix of brawny performance, aggressive styling and upmarket enhancement.
It utilises a 3.0-litre in-line 6-cylinder engine fitted with twin turbochargers (one conventional turbo and one electric compressor), plus EQ Boost; a 48V electric starter generator that bolsters acceleration efforts and provides seamless performance.
The power plant outputs 320kW and 520Nm of torque on its way from 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds. The EQ Boost function adds an additional 16kW of power and 250Nm of torque, when required.
This is allied to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G automatic transmission with nine performance geared ratios and a torque converter, driving power to the road via the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ intelligent all-wheel drive system.
Fuel economy is rated at 9.4-litres/100km. An AMG active exhaust system featuring a pair of twin outlets allows occupants to enjoy muted output during daily driving, while the experience of spirited driving can be enhanced at a press of a button.
The impressively powerful GLE 53 is brought to heel by a high-performance braking system designed to produce short braking distances even with heavy loads on board.
From the design perspective, the powerful SUV is immediately distinguishable as a member of the Mercedes-AMG range with its assertive radiator grille featuring 15 vertical struts, along with aerodynamically-inspired enhancement of the lower grille section.
Night Package additions include several trim enhancements in high-gloss black. Substantial 21-inch AMG 5 x twin spoke light-alloy wheels ensure a potent mix of performance and prominence.
Exceptional driving dynamics also come as standard fitment via AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension, which incorporates adaptive damping and can be pre-selected in three on-road modes – ‘Comfort’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’.
Two new damping levels – ‘Trail’ and ‘Sand’ – are designated for off-road use. An optional AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL package forms the basis for even higher levels of agility, neutral cornering behaviour and optimal traction.
This new feature extends the level of AMG-specific tuning by introducing active roll stabilisation. The system is connected to two 48-volt electro-mechanical actuators working independently on the front and rear axle.
This not only reduces body roll, it also enables more precise tuning of the cornering and load change properties. Movements in the body can be actively and optimally adjusted to the driving conditions. Another benefit is significantly faster response.
Electro-mechanical speed-sensitive power steering uses an AMG-specific rack and pinion ratio for precise feedback. Steering power assistance can be adjusted in two stages, ‘Comfort’ or ‘Sport’.
Inside the well-appointed cabin, AMG-inspired details include seat trim plus the AMG Performance steering wheel in supple Nappa leather, a Burmester surround sound system, panoramic sunroof, and door sills with illuminated AMG lettering.
Memory settings for front seats, mirrors and steering wheel all feature, as well as wireless charging for compatible mobile devices. Standard features include the MBUX infotainment and voice recognition system, with AMG-specific graphics and content.
It’s all crisply rendered on side-by-side 12.3-inch digital screens, while the GLE 53 also comes with climate control, a head-up display, heated front seats, ambient lighting with 64 colours, DAB+ digital radio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Active safety and security features include parking assist with a 360-degree surround cameras, distance assist, brake assist with cross-traffic function, steering assist, lane change assist, blind spot assist and traffic sign assist.
Tyre pressure monitoring is standard, as is an anti-theft protection package which triggers the alarm upon unauthorised access or if the vehicle moves without permission. In addition, owners have access to Mercedes Me connect.
The app-based system provides a suite of functions, controllable from a connected phone or device. These include remote engine start and door locking, vehicle status and location, speed alert, predictive navigation, theft notification and maintenance management.
The new 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ SUV retails for $166,700 plus on-roads, and is available now.