Mercedes-Benz has revealed the entry-level version of its new-for-2021 GLE Coupe, the AMG GLE 53 4Matic. This redesigned model is the brand's latest weapon in the high-performance luxury SUV game, and uses a mild hybrid powertrain to create a new gateway to its range of speedy mid-size utilities.
The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4Matic Coupe gets the company's EQ Boost mild-hybrid 3.0L turbocharged inline-six-cylinder powertrain. As in other AMG models bearing the "53" designation, the engine makes 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque and is backed up an electric motor that can bring 21 hp and 184 lb-ft to the party for short bursts of acceleration.
Coupled with a nine-speed automatic transmission and the 4Matic AWD system, Mercedes says the AMG GLE 53 Coupe is good for a 0–100 km/h sprint of 5.3 seconds. That's nearly a half-second faster than the current AMG GLE 43 4Matic. Benz also says the GLE 53 will hit an electronically limited 250 km/h top speed when optioned with an AMG Driver's Package.
That power comes thanks to a twin turbo setup comprising an exhaust-driven turbine and a secondary electric compressor. The electric turbo gets to work right away during acceleration to help eliminate the turbo lag associated with exhaust-driven power-adders.
The AMG GLE 53 Coupe gets seven drive modes. These include the usual Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual settings, plus a Slippery setting for low-traction situations, and off-road-friendly Trail and Sand selections.
Like all of Mercedes's new models, the AMG 53 GLE Coupe gets the company's MBUX infotainment with its "Hey Mercedes" voice prompt. Here, it adds an AMG-specific track pace function that records racetrack lap times and performance stats so the driver can analyze and improve their driving skills.
A multipurpose air suspension system adjusts ride firmness based on the drive mode selected. It also lowers the ride height in the Sport and Sport+ settings and drops it even further at speeds above 120 km/h for better aerodynamics and a lower centre of gravity. To allay fears of scraping the AMG 53 Coupe's handsome chin on tall curbs and speed bumps, Mercedes includes a button to raise the car 55 mm at any speed up to 70 km/h.
Another button drops the rear suspension 50 mm for easier cargo access; Mercedes says the AMG 53's load height is 60 mm lower than its predecessor.
The new GLE Coupe's wheelbase gets a 20-mm stretch, adding legroom for rear-seat occupants, and the rear door openings are 35 mm larger. Other practical improvements include a cargo area that's 40L larger, better visibility, and a bigger panoramic sunroof.
Despite the GLE Coupe's longer wheelbase, it remains 60 mm shorter than that of the standard GLE SUV, a design cue Benz employed to create a sportier appearance. In the AMG GLE 53's case, that look is amplified by an AMG-style grille that announces the car as a member of the brand's high-performance lineup. Also contributing to the visual attitude are a power-domed hood, side skirts, decklid spoiler, flared wheel arches, and 21-inch light-alloy wheels.
The GLE Coupe is part of a niche vehicle class that German luxury car manufacturers are keen on, combining SUV practicality with coupe-like styling in one vehicle. The GLE Coupe is based on the GLE-Class SUV, and is a big sibling to the GLC Coupe, itself based on the smaller GLC-Class utility. The two Benz models compete directly with the BMW X4 and X6, and Porsche has entered the game with the 2020 Cayenne Coupe, which makes for a third mid-size SUV coupe.
Lucas Dias of Mercedes-Benz Canada said the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe will arrive in showrooms here in spring of 2020, with pricing to be announced closer to that time.