NEWS

Is the Mercedes-AMG GLE53 a Good SUV? 5 Things We Like and 3 We Don’t

mercedes-amg-gle53-2022-02-badge-black-exterior-grille-headlights-suv 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

As SUVs continue to dominate the marketplace, carmakers are scrambling to fill every possible niche — and even create new ones — to stand out. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the ferociously competitive world of premium and high-performance models, where the 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 is among the latest in a dizzying variety of choices.

Related: 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Review: Adventures in Unnecessary Sportiness

One of several variants of Mercedes-Benz’s mid-size GLE theme, the AMG GLE53 is the most potent of the SUVs. However, buyers also have the choice of three AMG versions of the GLE Coupe, which is essentially an SUV masquerading as a four-door fastback. It also costs more.

Even though it wades into a packed field of European SUVs with performance-oriented aspirations, the GLE53 manages to be somewhat unique. Neither Audi, BMW or even Alfa Romeo make a model that quite goes head-to-head with the Mercedes’ in terms of price and performance.

With its fat tires, aggressive stance and subtle exterior tweaks, the GLE53 has the right look. The interior is just as upscale and loaded with technology as one would expect from Mercedes-Benz. And yes, it delivers the performance to back it up. Here are five things we like about the 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE53, and three we don’t.

Things We Like

1. Looks the Part

mercedes-amg-gle53-2022-01-black-exterior-front-angle-suv 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

From its bold AMG grille and deep front splitter to its 21-inch wheels and performance tires, our test GLE53 looked every bit the part of an upscale SUV with attitude. And as much as its appearance hints of the performance potential within, the overall look is restrained and menacing at the same time, with more than a dash of elegance.

2. Engaging Powertrain

With a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder engine pumping out 429 horsepower paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, the GLE53 backs up its muscular appearance with solid performance. The powertrain can propel this five-seat SUV from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds, with a requisite growl and quick throttle response that makes it that much more enjoyable.

3. Handling to Match

mercedes-amg-gle53-2022-05-black-exterior-rear-angle-suv 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

With nicely weighted steering and a thick steering wheel, the GLE53 offers excellent steering feel and feedback. The tires on our test car provided plenty of grip, and the adjustable suspension did an admirable job of serving up a comfortable ride and firming things up when necessary. Overall, handling is impressive for an SUV of its size.

4. Top-Notch Interior

Mercedes-Benz largely sets the standard for interior quality and materials, and the GLE53 is no exception. Our test vehicle’s black cabin featured optional aluminum trim and seats with contrasting red Nappa leather accents, making for a dramatic yet opulent appearance. Switches and controls all move with a smooth and substantial feel, while the thick steering wheel and aggressive seat bolstering give a nod to performance.

5. Push-Button Performance

mercedes-amg-gle53-2022-15-interior-dashboard-front-row-suv 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

Our test vehicle was equipped with the AMG Dynamic Plus Package, which, among other things, adds steering wheel buttons to make adjustments to the exhaust note and drive modes on the fly. Fine-tuning the ride and sound to match your mood and or mission doesn’t get much easier.

Things We Don’t Like

1. Fussy Controls

We’re not big fans of the touch-sensitive steering wheel controls, which can feel wonky. The same can be said of the digital gauge cluster and the latest MBUX multimedia system. MBUX requires a bit of a learning curve to master. Once the time to learn it is invested, however, the system works pretty well.

2. The Price of Performance

mercedes-amg-gle53-2022-25-interior-infotainment-system-suv 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

Where the more subdued GLE is a luxurious and comfortable SUV, the GLE53 gives up some coddling in exchange for performance. That thick-rimmed steering wheel that feels so good in your hands loses the heated feature of the regular GLE, and the firmly bolstered seats aren’t as comfortable. Hey, you make your choices.

3. The Price

With a starting price of $74,600 (all prices include destination), the AMG GLE53 carries a price premium of about $15,000 compared to the more pedestrian GLE 350. With its optional $2,990 red leather interior, 21-inch wheels and other pricey options, our test vehicle came to $90,550.

More From Cars.com:

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Latest expert reviews