There’s no doubt, that European luxury brands have taken America’s SUV idea on a whole different direction with the introduction of coupe-style utilities. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you have to admit they are some of the best looking utes on the road today. And we’ve got another one, the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe.
Mercedes-Benz has fully embraced the “coupe culture” when it comes to SUVs. And as we’ve already learned, they’re not shy about incorporating various degrees of AMG performance into everything they build. The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe sees those two ideas meet in the best possible way.
We’re not sure if it’s just our tastes expanding to appreciate these Coupe SUVs more, or if they’re just making them look a lot more appealing; as the GLE 53 Coupe is a spectacular looking machine. Though it really does resemble a car more than a utility.
Not only does the roof slope more than the standard GLE, but they’ve chopped 2.4-inches off the wheelbase and decreased ride height by more than a ½ an inch; creating a tidy and cohesive package that looks to be the perfect platform for an AMG massage.
In case one misses the AMG badge on the rear hatch; AMG treatments to the grille, front and rear bumpers, along with extended side skirts, deck-lid spoiler, 21-inch wheels, or optional 22s, and an AMG exhaust, lets everyone know it’s not just a Mercedes utility.
All-wheel-drive is standard; so you can take it off-road and muddy up all of that beautiful bodywork, thanks to new Trail and Sand drive modes, as well as the ability to raise ground clearance by 2.2-inches. But most will just enjoy its all-weather benefits and the increased on-road performance that AMG’s 4MATIC+ has to offer.
But when it comes to perks, the 429-horsepower inline-6 turbo engine under the hood, is quite a good one. It uses a 48-volt EQ boost to add power until the turbo is up to speed; meaning the max 384 lb-ft. of torque is delivered almost immediately.
A 9-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is AMG ride control air suspension, which provides continuous damping that quickly adapts to your current road and driving situation.
Should that situation involve a lot of twists and turns, it’s quite satisfying. It feels low to the ground and well-planted, with a lot of grip to exploit. You don’t have to add AMG Active Ride Control, but its dual independently operating electro-mechanical actuators virtually eliminate body roll when cornering.
Steering is very direct too, with the ability to customize your preferred level of response.
And speaking of response, you’ll get plenty of it when you hammer the throttle in the GLE 53; leaping off the line and to 60 in just 5.1–seconds, and on through the ¼-mile in 13.5 at 101 miles-per-hour.
Upgraded AMG brakes were up to the task as well, bringing us to a halt in just 99–feet from 60 miles-per-hour.
Despite the loss of wheelbase, Mercedes has kept space inside the 5-passenger cabin more than adequate. The only shortfall is in behind seat cargo space; just 23.1 cubic-ft. compared to the standard GLE’s 33.3. Maximum capacity with seat backs folded is 63.2.
MB-Tex and microfiber materials highlighted by color stitching are standard; but you can raise the bar by upgrading to Nappa leather with diamond stitching, as well as adding Natural grain gray oak wood trim.
Coupe-style SUVs are a relatively recent phenomenon; in the Mercedes-Benz lineup since just 2016 and last gen’s GLE. It’s hard to say who actually started the trend, but it certainly goes back to at least 2008 and BMW’s X6; followed quickly by Acura’s ZDX. Perhaps, one could even say Pontiac’s 2001 Aztek had a hand in starting the trend. Ahhh…GM, always ahead of their time.
Base GLE 53 Coupe pricing comes in at $77,550; a $4,150 premium over the standard GLE 53 SUV.
But don’t think of this 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe so much as a sportier and more stylish SUV; think of it as a jacked up performance fastback that’s fun for the whole family. Or better yet, don’t think about it at all; just drive it and enjoy it!