Mercedes-Benz redesigned its mid-size SUV for 2020, but something was missing from the GLE lineup: a performance-oriented AMG version. Not anymore; the new Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 will make its debut at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, and with performance goodies galore — starting with a quick boost system that adds extra horsepower at launch.
Power for the GLE 53 comes from a 429-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder and nine-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive is standard. Like other new Mercedes vehicles, the GLE 53 uses a 48-volt light-hybrid system that can recuperate energy and give some electric boost to help acceleration. Thanks to the model’s electric auxiliary compressor, the 48-volt electrical system and EQ Boost starter-generator, Mercedes says the model benefits from an extra 21 hp and 184 pounds-feet of torque on demand, which is enough to launch it from zero-to-60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
The GLE 53 offers five different driving modes thanks to the AMG Active Ride Control system, which works with the Airmatic adaptive suspension system. Three pre-selected modes — Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus allow the driver to fine tune, and Trail and Sand modes can be dialed in to modify the all-wheel-drive system’s off-road response.
The new model joins the GLE 350 and GLE 450; the 350 comes in either rear-wheel-drive or 4Matic all-wheel-drive configurations and gets power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 255 hp and 273 pounds-feet of torque. The 450 comes standard with AWD and is powered by a turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine with a mild-hybrid system, good for 362 hp and 369 pounds-feet of torque.
Outside, the 53 wears styling cues befitting its performance purpose: an AMG-specific radiator grille with 15 vertical strips, 20-inch light alloy wheels and a silver chrome-plated front splitter.
Inside, the model is decked out in black and trimmed in red, featuring black sport seats with contrast stitching and red seatbelts; brushed aluminum grain and carbon trim round out the sporty cabin. It also smells sporty (whatever that means), according to Mercedes, thanks to a model-exclusive fragrance available in the Air-Balance Package.
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Like the 350 and 450, the AMG 53 model gets the upgrades from the 2020 redesign, including the new MBUX control system, which is a touchscreen instead of the previous system’s console controller. It also uses voice recognition, activated by saying “Hey, Mercedes,” and also features an available gesture recognition system that uses a camera embedded in the overhead console.
The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 will go on sale in the U.S. in late 2020.
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