You could be forgiven for wondering exactly what the 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53 is, just from its looks alone. It would appear to be a four-door coupe on steroids, but then, it could be an SUV (think Tesla Model X).
So Mercedes-Benz has helpfully included "coupe" in the full name...it is the Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53 Coupe. And, it admits in press materials, that it views this vehicle as synthesizing "the best attributes of a coupe and an SUV into one highly compelling package".
Having spent a week with this one, we're prepared to concede the point. And a good chunk of what makes it compelling is under the hood.
That is an AMG-enhanced 3.0-liter inline six turbo with EQ Boost, a mild-hybrid setup that adds electric power to the gasoline engine not primarily for economy (though it helps there, too), but for performance. Combined, it's 450 horsepower and 568 pounds per foot of torque, with the gasoline engine supplying 429 horsepower and 384 pounds per foot of torque. That's good for 0-60 times of 5.2 seconds. Top speed is an artificially-limited 130 miles per hour. Specify the optional summer tires and that will get your car re-programmed to max out at 155. EPA fuel economy estimate is 18 miles per gallon city, 23 highway.
The transmission is a nine-speed AMG Speeshift TCT system. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53 Coupe also has AMG performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive, AMG Dynamic Select, which controls drive modes, and an AMG Ride Control Suspension based on Mercedes' Airmatic.
As a result of all this, once behind the wheel, you very quickly forget the exterior of the vehicle, or the significant cargo space in back. You are simply driving a very luxurious, quite fast, extremely well-handling vehicle that can take pretty much whatever nature throws at it.
Base price for the 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53 Coupe is $76,500. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see the full list, but among the highlights of standard equipment are a panoramic sunroof, dual 12.3-inch displays (one for gauges, one for infotainment), navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Burmester surround sound audio system, dual-zone climate control and wireless phone charging.
Our test vehicle also had $15,240 in extra-cost options, including $2,990 for the AMG Tartufo Brown and Black Nappa leather interior, $1,950 for the Driver Assistance Package Plus, $1,600 for the black DINAMICA headliner, $1,450 for the MBUX Technology Package, $1,250 for the AMG Performance exhaust system, $1,100 for multicontour front seats with massage feature, $750 for the AMG Night Package, $700 for rear side airbags, $500 for the parking assistance package, $450 for heated and ventilated front seats, $350 for air ionization with air filter, $350 for MB-Tex wrapped dashboard and door trim, $200 for 21-inch AMG twin 5-spoke wheels with black accents, $200 for the MBUX Interior Assistant, $180 for heated and cooled cupholders and $170 for pre-wiring for rear seat entertainment.
With $995 destination and delivery, the as-tested price comes to $92,735.
The coupe/SUV crossover has been a controversial one among car lovers, mostly over styling. But the 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53 Coupe does make a very compelling argument for SUV cargo room, off-road and foul-weather capability combined with performance and handling that do nothing to diminish the AMG brand all in one well-built package.