Is the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 worthy of the AMG badge?

Shivaum Punjabi test drives it to find out.

AMG are three letters that make every petrolhead sit up straight and pay attention to what is being said. The car we are discussing today is the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53. GLE is now used to denote the mid-size SUV range from Mercedes; they used to be called ML earlier.

Lets talk about the AMG bits.

The 53AMG is a midway model between the GLE63 AMG, the full-blown V8 monster and the everyday GLE 450. It is powered by an inline six-cylinder engine with a turbocharger. It also has a mild hybrid system. It is mated to a 9-speed gearbox. The entire configuration produces 435HP and does 0-100 kph or 0-62 mph in 5.3 Seconds. Power is handed to the driver in a smooth linear manner.

At any given point in time, it does not feel that this car is underpowered. You never even feel the turbochargers kick in or the mild-hybrid system working. That is how good and refined this engine is. In fact, it is so good that you may be forgiven to think you are driving a V8 engined car rather than an inline six-cylinder one.

The Mercedes_AMG GLE 53 is designed to be a cruising machine. Even though it has the AMG badge, it effectively is a cruising machine. Sport mode is a bit confused; however, in Sport+, it handles itself much better and gains speed effectively. It also makes nice encouraging sounds from the exhaust.

The AMG engineers have used their excellent engineering skills to make sure this car can manage corners effectively. The secret ingredient to the sauce is the AMG Active Ride Control; what this system does is that it balances the car to avoid body roll and make sure you get handling, stability, grip and, most of all, comfort in your driving experience.

This is the primary goal of the car. It is a tall, heavy SUV designed to absorb all the road imperfections without letting you know of them. The AMG badge is there to make sure you are going fast while doing the above.

Is it luxurious enough?

The interior is an excellent place to be in. Top-notch quality of materials everywhere, and the build quality also feels solid. I love the DINAMICA microfibre trimmed AMG steering wheel. It looks, class!

The spec sheet available for the GLE-53 AMG has a massive list of options to choose from. This particular car comes with pretty much every option ticked. Heated-cooled seats and massaging seats are one of my favourite options.

Since the GLE is designed to carry your family in comfort, safety and style, it comes with a massive list of safety features, active and passive drivers aid features. For those who enjoy the smaller nitty-gritty, I am attaching the spec sheet. The Burmester audio system is a must-have option for bass lovers.

The massive multi-screen infotainment system is a technophile’s dream come true. These screens are used to manage the MBUX. The MBUX can also be managed and navigated by touchpads on the steering wheel, a touchpad on the centre console, gesture control, voice control with the “Hey Mercedes” command and the giant touchscreen.

There also is no regular USB socket; Mercedes has moved to all USB-C. I personally find the MBUX a bit over-complicated to use and do not enjoy the move to all USB-C (that means I have to go buy another cable).

Does it look good enough?

Let us talk looks. The 53 AMG pretty much looks like the regular GLE; however, what sets it apart is the massive Panamericana grille, 22-inch rims and tires, and the quad exhaust setup at the rear. It has quite a bit of road presence and is unmistakable when driving down any road. I would call it a handsome vehicle.

Considering the number of new GLEs, I see on the road; I reckon it is a pretty popular vehicle. If you compare it to older GLEs, you can see how much the 2021 version has grown in size, stance and presence—it even dwarves older GLS cars. You can get the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 AMG in the coupe version as well.

So what are your thoughts?

All in all, this is a status symbol car. Overall the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 AMG is stuck in between trying to fill too many shoes. I would either go for the GLE 450 and save money or go all out and get the GLE 63 AMG with the extra-fat V8. The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 AMG is priced at $100,000 or AED 367,500.

Text and images courtesy of Shivaum Punjabi / The Cornea Impression

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