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2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S: Review

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceWhat Is It?
For decades AMG has represented top-level performance for Mercedes-Benz models, and the lineup of AMG-tuned vehicles has expanded considerably over the last few years. As the predecessor to the GLE, the 1998 Mercedes-Benz ML was one of the first luxury SUVs to hit the American market. The German automaker quickly gave the ML the AMG treatment in the form of the 1999 AMG ML55. Following in that tradition, the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S tops all Mercedes-AMG SUV performance models, combining the potency of a supercar with the utility of an SUV.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceTest Vehicle
Mercedes-Benz provided a 2021 AMG GLE 63 S finished in Selenite Grey Metallic at a starting price of $113,950, based on preliminary pricing and packaging. Our test vehicle had additional options for a total price of $131,935, which includes a destination and delivery charge of $995. Options include 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels, AMG carbon fiber trim, a carbon fiber engine cover, a power panorama roof, a DINAMICA headliner, an AMG performance steering wheel in carbon fiber / DINAMICA, the MBUX Technology Package with augmented video for navigation, a Driver Assistance Package, a Warmth / Comfort Package and an Energizing Comfort Package.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceExterior Design
The GLE joined the Mercedes-Benz lineup for 2016 as a replacement for the aging ML. The GLE received an exterior styling update last year. The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S receives additional updates including an AMG grille with vertical slats; an AMG body-color lower front fascia with large black air intakes; a silver front splitter; body-color side skirts, mirrors and flared wheel arches; an AMG rear diffuser with a silver trim strip; a rear spoiler; and AMG exhaust with dual rectangular twin outlets.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
Inside, the 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S feels like a sports car thanks to AMG seats in Nappa leather with AMG badging, as well as an AMG Performance steering wheel in Nappa leather and DINAMICA with aluminum shift paddles. Our test vehicle had an optional Crystal Grey seat band with Crystal Grey stitching and seatbelts in addition to the carbon fiber trim and carbon fiber / DINAMICA for a high-performance flare.

© Mercedes-Benz USAAMG Power
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S is powered by a 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine producing 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque. For the first time the SUV gets an integrated EQ Boost starter-generator positioned between the engine and the AMG SPEEDSHIFT 9-speed automatic transmission. The EQ Boost can provide an additional 21 horsepower and up to 184 lb-ft of torque for a short period of time, and employs the starter motor and alternator for smooth start/stop functionality. EQ Boost also acts as a generator to provide power to the 48-volt electrical system. The GLE 63 S will accelerate from zero to 60 mpg in an estimated 3.7 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 171 mph — numbers previously reserved for supercars.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceAMG Dynamic Select
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S offers a choice of seven drive modes within the standard AMG Dynamic Select: Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual, RACE, Trail and Sand. The driver may choose from a range a range of settings to maximum performance capabilities, and the AMG Dynamics adjusts a range of functions including engine responsiveness, transmission performance, suspension and steering.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceAMG Performance
AMG optimized every aspect of this SUV’s drivetrain for performance. Power gets delivered via an AMG SPEEDSHIFT 9-speed automatic transmission and AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive with fully variable torque distribution. The transmission delivers precise shifts with virtually no power interruption, and in Sport, Sport+ or RACE modes adds automatic double-declutch downshifts. The 4MATIC is tuned for maximum traction and driving performance. An electronic locking rear differential combines with the Electronic Stability Program to maximize traction and optimal torque distribution.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceAMG Suspension
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S suspension is based on AMG Ride Control+ air suspension with adaptive adjustable damping. Comfort, Sport and Sport+ settings are offered, and driving dynamics are improved with Active Ride Control — an active roll stabilization system with 48-volt power.

© Mercedes-Benz USAOn the Road
The level of performance offered by the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S is truly amazing — although the numbers indicate sports car-level performance, the exterior appearance of an SUV might still cast doubts about such claims. That said, sliding into the driver’s seat feels like entering a high-performance sports car — even though the driving position is a little higher off the ground. Pushing the button to fire the engine erases all doubt. The rumble of 600+ horsepower puts a smile across face; sliding the gear selector into D transmits an instantaneous feeling of power.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBe Careful Out There
One of the biggest challenges when driving the AMG GLE 63 S — it’s simply so fast. After a sub-4 second zero to 60 mph time, and with a few more seconds hard on the accelerator pedal, the SUV will be at triple-digit speeds — enough to get drivers into trouble if not on a racetrack. Unfortunately it’s hard to refrain from exercising a bit of pedal pushing because stepping on the accelerator is so satisfying — and it sounds so good.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceAMG Performance
While the raw acceleration of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S might be expected based on performance specs, the overall balance and driving dynamics are even more impressive. The SUV’s official curb weight has not been released, but an undeniable fact remains — this is a big, heavy vehicle and the engineering and technology to make it feel and drive like a sport sedan is remarkable. The AMG GLE 63 S is fun to drive with an incredible level of dynamic performance, but it is also comfortable and can be as practical as needed. Those in areas of the country that experience wintry conditions will need to swap the 22-inch summer performance tires for smaller winter tires, or at least a good set of all-seasons.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceRarified Air
Starting at $113,950 and going north of $130,000 as tested, the AMG GLE 63 S is in rarified air and will only be experienced by a few who have the means to purchase supercar performance in an SUV package. But for those who have that option, the AMG GLE 63 S is a special vehicle — in many ways it is more like an AMG GT than a GLE 580.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 8.5
Granted, the price of entry to the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S is extremely high and fuel consumption will be the same. However, the levels of performance combined with the practicality of an SUV is exceptional. The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S would be easy to live with every day, and the fun-to-drive factor will never fail to put a smile on the driver’s face.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Carbon fiber interior trim

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content Experience2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S
Selenite Grey Metallic with 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels

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Published on: August 7, 2020

Filled Under: Automotive Content Experience, Automotive Reviews

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