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2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupe review: Astonishingly nimble


Whether you like the look or not, the GLE53’s performance is undeniable.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupé is surprisingly fun, but I have to get the styling out of the way first. No matter how you feel about crossover coupés – here at the roadshow we like to call them “coupéover” – we can all agree the new GLE53 Coupé is much better looking than the GLE43 Coupé of the previous generation. This is partly due to the fact that the old GLE was never initially developed for the coupé variant, but this new generation was. The roofline of the new coupe is slimmer, the proportions are nicer and the rear end looks a lot better overall.

To like

  • Fantastic grip
  • Shockingly fun to drive
  • All the technology you could want
  • Greatly improved styling

I do not like it

  • Choppy ride
  • Grabby brakes
  • Gets expensive quickly

Mercedes only offers the new GLE Coupé in AMG form. The GLE53 receives the required Panamericana grille with an aggressive front bumper, body-colored wheel arches, four exhaust trims and a small lip spoiler. My GLE53 test car is available in Designo Diamond White for $ 1,515, which while looking good, isn’t special enough to justify the price.

The drive train of the coupe is the same as in the normal GLE53 SUV and therefore the same as in the other 53 badged models from AMG. It features a 3.0-liter in-line six with a turbocharger, electric supercharger, and EQ Boost 48-volt mild hybrid system that provides an additional 21 hp and 184 lb-ft. Total power is 429 hp and 384 lb-ft. The engine is equipped with a nine-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. As with any other application of this engine, the I6 in the GLE53 is fluid and responsive. (Mercedes quotes a 5.2 second time between 0 and 60 mph, and that feels conservative.) This GLE53 has the $ 1,250 power exhaust that has the right amount of volume and some great pops and bangs generated.

Big wheels make and break it

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

As you might guess based on the wheel size, the GLE53 can be quite choppy to ride, especially on bad Michigan roads, but in comfort mode the air suspension does a pretty good job of taking up even the worst of bumps and potholes. However, worse than the ride is the tram that takes place on the freeway, especially if it’s a rough surface. I have to make more steering corrections than usual when I’m just driving in a straight line, although it’s not as annoying with adaptive cruise control and steering assistance enabled.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupé

These big boys cost $ 2,750.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

But on the flip side, it’s honestly crazy how good this SUV is on a winding road. The wide wheels and sticky rubber offer so much grip, and the GLE53 always feels safe with the variable all-wheel drive that can split the torque between the axles. When you come out of bends, electricity is available almost immediately, and the nine-speed gearbox triggers quick gear changes. You can carry so much speed through corners – a lot more than you’d expect.

This GLE53 comes with the $ 2,500 AMG high-performance braking system to stop its weight of more than 5,300 pounds. The GLE53 has 15.8-inch front rotors with two-piston brake calipers and 13.6-inch tail rotors with single-piston brake calipers as standard. However, this optional configuration adds six-piston front calipers and increases the size of the rear disc by an inch. The brakes are quite choppy at low speeds in the city and the wheels collect a lot of dust, but the increased braking force when driving is very much appreciated.

Everything you could want and more

I’m usually vehemently against interiors with simple, all-black color schemes, especially on a style-conscious car like the GLE Coupe, but this test car has at least the exclusive nappa leather option for $ 4,800 with contrast stitching and $ 160 in gray oak paneling with a nice matte finish. It looks great and everything in the GLE is high quality. The seats are comfy, especially with the massage feature that is part of the $ 2,100 Energizing Comfort Plus package. The sloping roof of the coupé gives you less cargo space than the standard GLE SUVbut not that much, and the headroom and rear legroom is still great. MBUX remains one of my favorite infotainment systems, and the GLE53 has some great AMG-specific gauges and settings.

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupé

The inside of the GLE53 isn’t too flashy, but that’s fine.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

This GLE53 comes with a ton of optional features and packages – there are literally 22 paid items on the window sticker – some of which are necessary, some of which are frivolous and silly, but all of which I enjoy. The $ 1,950 Driver Assistance Package Plus offers useful active safety features like the adaptive cruise mentioned above, while the absolutely necessary $ 500 Park Assistance Package adds the 360 ​​degree camera system which gives a nice view of the Steering wheel offers.

Probably the most ridiculous items on the option list are the $ 350 Magic Vision Control (fancy windshield wipers) and the $ 200 MBUX Interior Assistant (motion-activated interior lighting). But my favorite option is the $ 180 heated and cooled cup holder package. That may sound pointless, but like heated armrests – which happen to be part of a separate $ 1,050 package for this GLE53 – once you’ve used them, you’ll never want to drive a car without them.

The options of a Toyota Camry

It gets harder to rave about how good this GLE53 is by the time you hit the price we tested. While the GLE53 Coupé starts at 77,550 US dollars including the target – already 4,150 US dollars more than a regular GLE53 – this is 104,564 US dollars. Granted, there are almost every possible option, but that’s still a lot of scratches for a midsize SUV with a six-cylinder engine. On the other hand, if you want a V8 that 603 PS GLE63 Coupé starts at an even more expensive $ 117,050 before options, so …

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupé

If you can’t get beyond the looks of the coupe, you can save $ 4,150 and get the regular GLE53.

Daniel Golson / Roadshow

The closest competitors to the GLE53 Coupe are the BMW X6 M50i and the Porsche Cayenne S Coupé. While the X6 M50i has a V8 engine with two turbochargers and almost 100 horsepower more than the GLE53, it costs 10 grand more to start than the Mercedes and doesn’t drive as well or looks almost as good. The Cayenne S, on the other hand, is a bit sharper to drive and looks a bit better than the GLE53, but the base price of the Porsche is over $ 90,000 and isn’t nearly as well equipped as the AMG.

The GLE53 is my choice from the current coupéover litter. It’s the roundest vehicle in its class, and if chosen correctly the price won’t be too astronomical. Sure, people may not understand your fashionable crossover coupe choice, but at least the final laugh is yours behind the wheel.

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