The range-topping GLE 63 S blitzes the 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.8 seconds. It's available in SUV and SUV-Coupé guises. Picture: SUPPLIED
The range-topping GLE 63 S blitzes the 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.8 seconds. It's available in SUV and SUV-Coupé guises. Picture: SUPPLIED

The steroid-boosted AMG versions of the Mercedes-Benz GLE have finally landed in SA after a year-long delay caused by the pandemic.

Merc’s midsize SUV is now available in fast Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 guise with a six-cylinder engine, and the even faster V8-engined GLE 63 S — both versions available in a choice of regular SUV or SUV-Coupé body styles.

They are the latest additions to a burgeoning high-performance SUV segment populated by rivals like the BMW X5 M, Audi RSQ8 and Range Rover Sport SVR to mention a few.

The GLE 53 4Matic+ and GLE 53 4Matic+ Coupé are both powered by an electrified, twin turbocharged 3.0l straight six cylinder engine with spirited outputs of 320kW and 520Nm, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic+ fully variable all-wheel drive.

The EQ Boost starter generator briefly provides an additional 16kW and 250Nm and additionally feeds the 48V on-board electrical system, both enhancing performance and reducing fuel consumption.

Performance is quoted as 0-100km/h in a brisk 5.3 seconds and a 250km/h top speed.

Red stitching and AMG Performance steering wheels identify these sporting GLE models. Picture: SUPPLIED
Red stitching and AMG Performance steering wheels identify these sporting GLE models. Picture: SUPPLIED

The GLE 63 S wields an electrified 4.0l V8 biturbo engine generating a burly 450kW and 850Nm, with temporary additional spurts of 16kW and 250Nm provided by the EQ Boost starter-generator. It also has a nine-speed auto and all-wheel drive

This range-topping GLE blitzes the 0-100km/h in a claimed 3.8 seconds, a stunning feat for a heavy SUV, and tops out at 280km/h when equipped with the optional AMG Drivers Package.

Both the GLE 53 and GLE 63 S sit atop AMG Ride Control+ air suspension which combines a comfortable ride with nimble handling, and drivers can switch between various drive programmes to suit conditions including Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes. In addition, there are two levels for off-road use: Trail and Sand, which raise the ground clearance by 55mm.

High-performance braking systems with larger discs ensures that stopping performance is equal to the extra power in these sporting SUVs.

Visually these GLEs exude athletic intent with their AMG-specific radiator grilles with vertical louvres, flared wheel arches, and large alloy wheels (from 20 inches to 22 inches depending on model).

Inside, the sporting AMG fare includes AMG Performance steering wheels, red contrasting stitching on the upholstery, and red seat belts. The vehicles are available with an optional, foldable third row of seats to make them seven seaters.

The hi-tech MBUX infotainment system comes standard and contains AMG-specific content. A widescreen cockpit combines the instrument cluster and touchscreen multimedia display into one unit.

Pricing:

Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4Matic+ — R1,837,000

Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4Matic+ Coupé — R1,925,000

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4Matic+ — R2,885,000

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4Matic+ Coupé — R2,948,000

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