2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupe review: Astonishingly nimble

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Whether you like the look or not, there’s no denying the performance of the GLE53.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

The Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupé from 2021 it’s surprisingly fun, but first I have to get the style out of the way. No matter what your feelings are about crossover-coupes – here at Roadshow we like to call them “coupeovers” – we all agree that the new GLE53 Coupé is much more beautiful than the previous generation GLE43 Coupe. This is partly due to the fact that the old GLE was never initially designed with the coupe variant in mind, but this new generation was. The roofline of the new Coupé is more streamlined, the proportions are nicer and the rear as a whole looks much better.

Like it

  • Fantastic levels of grip
  • Incredibly fun to drive
  • All the technology you could ask for
  • Greatly improved style

I do not like

  • Unstable running
  • Heavy brakes
  • It gets expensive quickly

Mercedes only offers the new GLE Coupe in AMG forms, with the GLE53 getting the required Panamericana grille with an aggressive front bumper, body-colored wheel arches, four tailpipes and a small lip spoiler. My GLE53 test car finished in the $ 1,515 Designo Diamond White color, which looks nice but not special enough to justify the price.

The Coupé’s powertrain is the same as the regular GLE53 SUV and therefore the same as the other models with 53 AMG badges. It has a 3.0-liter straight six with a turbocharger, an electric supercharger, and a 48-volt EQ-Boost lightweight hybrid system that delivers an extra 21 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. Total power is 429 hp and 384 lb-ft, and the engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. As with every other application of this engine, the I6 in the GLE53 is smooth and responsive. (Mercedes quotes a 5.2-second time from 0 to 60 mph, and that seems conservative.) This GLE53 has the $ 1,250 Performance exhaust system, which is just the right amount of noise and makes some great pops and bangs.

The big wheels do it and destroy it

While the GLE53 comes with 21-inch wheels as standard, this one has a $ 2,750 set of 22 offset-width, front-sized 285 / 40ZR22, and a whopping 325 / 35ZR22 at the rear. Wrapped in Yokohama Advan Sport summer tires, these giant wheels give the GLE53 an aggressive attitude and are both the best and worst part of the car. Let me explain.

As you might guess from the wheel size, the GLE53’s ride can be pretty choppy, especially on bad Michigan roads, but in Comfort mode the air suspension does a good job absorbing even the worst bumps and potholes. Worse than the ride, though, is the tram that occurs on the freeway, especially if it’s a rough surface. I have to make more steering corrections than usual when I’m only driving in a straight line, although it’s not that annoying with Adaptive Cruise Control and Steering Assist activated.

Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupé from 2021

These big boys cost $ 2,750.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

But on the flip side, it’s frankly insane how good this SUV is on a winding road. There’s so much grip from the wide wheels and sticky rubber, and the GLE53 always feels confident with the variable all-wheel drive system capable of splitting torque between the axles. There’s almost instant power available when you step out of corners and the nine-speed transmission fires quick shifts. You can bring so much speed into corners, far more than you would expect.

To help stop its 5,300-pound weight, this GLE53 is equipped with the $ 2,500 AMG high-performance brake system. The GLE53 has 15.8-inch front rotors with two-piston calipers and 13.6-inch rear rotors with standard single-piston calipers, but this optional configuration adds six-piston front calipers and increases the rear disc size by one. inch. The brakes are rather snappy at low city speeds and the wheels accumulate a ton of dust, but the increased stopping power when driving fast is much appreciated.

Anything you could ask for and more

They are usually vehemently against interiors with simple, all-black color schemes, especially on an advanced styling car like the GLE Coupe, but this test car has at least the $ 4,800 exclusive Nappa leather option with stitching to $ 160 gray oak wood contrast and trim with a beautiful matte finish. It looks great and everything inside the GLE is of high quality. The seats are comfortable, especially with the massage function that is part of the $ 2,100 Energizing Comfort Plus package. The sloping roof of the Coupe means you have less cargo space than the the standard GLE SUV, but not that much, and rear head and leg room is still great. MBUX remains one of my favorite infotainment systems and the GLE53 has some great AMG specific displays and settings.

Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupé from 2021

The interior of the GLE53 isn’t too flashy, but that’s okay.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

This GLE53 comes with a ton of features and optional packages – there are literally 22 extra-cost items on the window sticker – some of which are necessary, some of which are frivolous and silly, but I like them all. The $ 1,950 Plus Driver Assistance Package offers useful active safety features like the aforementioned Adaptive Cruise, while the much-needed $ 500 Parking Assistance Package adds the 360-degree camera system, which includes a nice view over the wheel.

The most ridiculous items on the options list are probably the $ 350 Magic Vision Control (fancy wipers) and the $ 200 MBUX Interior Assistant (motion-activated interior lights). But my favorite option is the $ 180 heated and cooled cup holder package. It might seem pointless, but like the heated armrests – which coincidentally are part of a separate $ 1,050 package on this GLE53 – once you’ve used them, you don’t you’ll never want to drive a car without them.

The value of the options of a Toyota Camry

It becomes harder to get excited about how good this GLE53 is once you hit the tested price. While the GLE53 Coupe starts at $ 77,550 including destination – already $ 4,150 more than a regular GLE53 – this comes in at $ 104,564. Sure, it has almost every possible option, but it’s still a lot of scratches for a midsize SUV with a six-cylinder engine. Then again, if you want a V8, the 603hp GLE63 Coupe starts at $ 117,050 before even more expensive options, so …

Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupé from 2021

If you can’t get past the Coupe look, you can save $ 4,150 and get the regular GLE53.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

The closest competitors to the GLE53 Coupé are the BMW X6 M50i and the Porsche Cayenne S Coupe. While the X6 M50i has a twin-turbo V8 engine with nearly 100 horsepower more than the GLE53, it costs $ 10,000 more than the Mercedes to start with and doesn’t drive as well or look as good. The Cayenne S, on the other hand, is a little sharper to drive and a little nicer than the GLE53, but the Porsche’s base price is over $ 90,000, and it doesn’t come close to being as well-equipped as the AMG.

The GLE53 is my choice of the current coupeover litter. It is the most complete vehicle in its class and, if chosen correctly, the price is not too astronomical. Sure, people may not understand your choice of stylish crossover coupes, but at least you’ll get the last laugh from behind the wheel.

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