Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S: First Drive Review

This performance-tuned, V8-powered crossover hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds with more than 600 horsepower.
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2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S (1)

While it might look unusual in a world dominated by hatchbacks and crossovers, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S Coupe drives with such aggression and authority no one really cares what it looks like. From behind the wheel, it’s a beautiful beast.

Now, even folks with the most rudimentary understanding of cars and their categories will take a look at the AMG GLE 63 S Coupe and object to the obvious. It’s got four doors. What madness is this?

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S (4)

Surely the designers at one of the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers got wind of the idea that coupes have two doors. Roadsters have two doors. Some hatchbacks roll in with the dual portal look. The GLE 63 S Coupe clearly has four – five if you want to include the rear hatch and really be a pedantic pain in the arse.

Sedans have four doors, but this Mercedes isn’t a sedan. It’s a big crossover – or a small SUV if that pedantic guy pops his head back in again. Still, if you read up on the vehicle in Mercedes-Benz descriptions, you’ll find the coupe works to earn that coupe moniker with its sporty lines. Thought a sizable ride at 5,300 pounds, it definitely looks coupe-ish with minimal squinting required.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S (5)

It’s in the performance department where the $116,000 most resembles that sporty coupe. Mercedes-Benz equips the AMG GLE with a hand-built, bi-turbo, 4.0-liter V8 capable of 603 horsepower. They link that up to an AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9-speed transmission and AMG Performance 4MATIC+all-wheel drive. That package produces a 0-60 time of about 3.5 seconds and a top speed clocked at 174 mph.

Keeping all of that on the road is self-leveling AMG Active Ride Control+ suspension with active roll stabilization and an adaptive damping System Plus. Rack-and-pinion steering with speed-dependent electromechanical power assist keeps the driver in touch with the road.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S (2)

Throughout all of that gas-powered description, you kept seeing those letters – AMG. For the uninitiated, AMG is the Mercedes-Benz tuning shop where already great cars become ore aggressively great. AMG amps the power an handling abilities, tacks a few more bucks on the price tag and hands them along to serious driving enthusiasts.

As a result of its AMG tuning, the GLE 63 S Coupe is one of the most powerful vehicles in the Mercedes-Benz line. While not a halo car, it is the best choice for shoppers looking for a top performance crossover.

2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S (3)

The driving experience is unique amongst mass market automobiles. It’s jerk your head off fast and accelerates with barely civilized rage. The balance is so refined and so effectively eliminates understeer – even with that touch of familiar Mercedes-Benz heaviness in the nose – that you never feel out of control Still if you ease it down, it’ll cruise on street and highway with poise.

Its looks are unique as it’s not quite a coupe, never a sedan, too big for crossover, too small for an SUV. Then again, who cares? The Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S Coupe is a thrill to pilot down the road.

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