The world is making a move towards electric vehicles. You don’t have to be a gear head to see that. But with Mercedes slowly starting to pull their V8 out of production, the GLE 63S AMG is one monstrous Coupe that wants to leave a mark.
Mercedes has always led the way with vehicle tech and luxury, and this GLE 63s is no different. The standard equipment on this car alone is commendable, from lane tracking, massaging seats and a voice control system that can control almost every creature comfort available to you. The menacing lines of the front end are enough to scare some road users out of your way as you comfortably tear down the N1. The sleek rounded shape drawing to the classic AMG square quad tipped exhaust, paired with four massive 22” AMG cross-spoke light-alloy wheels make this highway cruiser one of the more tasteful luxury coupes around.
The GLE does approach the R3m mark, even in base spec, and if you are in the market for extras it’ll burn an even bigger hole in your pocket. Available in 2 base colours, Merc does offer the option of 7 metallic colours for R5,700. When it comes to wheel options your choices are more limited as the 22” AMG cross-spoke light-alloy wheels are your only option coming in silver or black - the latter a further R10,700 extra.
Mercedes has been on the sharp end of luxury and comfort for as long as I can remember and the GLE doesn’t fall short. From the moment you settle into your seat, you will be taken aback by the ensemble of leather and carbon fibre, creating a sporty yet comfortable cabin.
Upon entering the GLE, you will immediately notice the rather simplistic dual-infotainment screen which extends two-thirds across the dash. It houses a spectacular display contrasting an informative, yet futuristic, console which is very pleasing to the eyes. A touch screen control panel on the centre console allows for easy and simple navigation around a seemingly endless amount of comfort and control options.
Mercedes is known for its new and industry-leading tech. It has also been said that if you want to see the future of luxury motoring, drive an E-class. The GLE lives up to that saying with a plethora of comfort features to make you feel like you’re driving in first class. The driver and front passenger seats are beautifully crafted and come with massaging functions. The changeable ambient lighting allows you to accommodate any mood of driving. The easy-to-use climate control system, heated seats and the steering wheel can all be controlled using the Mercedes MBUX Voice Assistant, allowing you to change almost any setting, temperature and radio channels without lifting a finger. Literally.
With such grace and quality, the GLE’s cabin is a stunning place to be. Its adjustable leather seats hug you in place and allow you to comfortably push the car. Unlike the bucket seats which you’ll find in purpose-built sports cars, the GLE 63 keeps you comfortably centred.
The GLE is a brute you’ll hear approaching. Powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo handcrafted V8 paired with the EQ Boost starter generator, it churns out 450 kW and 850 Nm of torque through the AMG 4MATIC+ AWD system. Needless to say, this car doesn’t wait around.
Weighing in at 2.4 tonnes the GLE isn’t a light car, but this member of road trip royalty will leave you speechless in how it accelerates despite its heft. Not only does it rocket to 100 km/h in a slight 3.7-seconds, but it does it with ease. The GLE handles its power in such a controlled manner, the way that its tyres dig in and propel this colossal car whilst not batting an eye is impressive. Even the less confident driver would have no problem barreling dealing with the way the car disperses its power.
The GLE balances power and comfort superbly. The ride in comfort is smooth and well insulated, comfortably sitting at 120 km/h, you’ll be unlikely to have a care in the world. The ability to shut off four of the eight cylinders also allows for improved fuel economy but if you're worried about fuel economy perhaps this isn't a good place to start. Yes, when you are on the highway, or in traffic, the GLE is a distinguished car and yes it has sleek lines but it’s also relatively comfortable considering its 22” wheels. This is possible thanks to the AMG ride control+ air suspension.
On the AMG steering wheel is the dynamic select rotary dial that allows you to select your preferred driving style. Be it the softer, more subdued ride in comfort or the open valve exhaust notes and sharper gear changes in Sport+. This system changes the GLE 63s from an easy-going grocery-getter into a brash and somewhat obnoxious AMG that holds that badge close to heart. The ride stiffens up, throttle response time is decreased, the valve-controlled exhaust system opens and the gear changes sharpen; all creating a much more exciting driving experience. Don’t get me wrong, the GLE won’t go and break any track records – it is a tall 2.4-tonne SUV after all.
The GLE is a capable SUV coupe with good ground clearance, adjustable ride quality and a monster of a V8 that sings on command. Its light steering and smooth power application make this massive car easy to manoeuvre around parking lots, assisted by 360-degree cameras and highly sensitive radar sensors. It’s a car that knows how to balance class and comfort with rowdy AMG power that will leave a smile on your face.
The GLE is a standout car, coming standard with a smorgasbord of comfort and driving features; you just can’t get bored. It’s a big SUV that also happens to be a coupe so yes, you do get decent ground clearance should you need it. With a range of colour options that are typically German means your car will always be classy regardless of what option you choose. With comfortable massaging seats, a phenomenal infotainment system and enough space for the whole family, this family vehicle with a monster of a motor will leave your whole family smiling at R2,939,000 before extras.
SA’s SUV Coupe market is flourishing and this leads to some stiff competition in the form of the BMW X6M that costs R2,856,100 which is a little more ‘affordable’ than the GLE. Then there’s also the Audi RS Q8 taking the SUV market by storm, with slightly less power but similar performance specs that cost R2,354,500 making it a very tempting choice for the performance SUV class.
The GLE leads the charge on the power front but what it gains in power, it also gains in weight with its bevvy of comfort features, making the GLE the most comfortable but also the most expensive. I guess the choice is yours.
The Mercedes GLE 63s is a monster of a coupe and is a force to be reckoned with, leading the pack in tech and comfort. The rowdy V8 also makes all the right noises shoving you miles ahead of traffic and is a popular choice amongst the standout executives.
The GLE holds true to the AMG badge but it comes at a hefty price. Nevertheless, it’s a car you won’t regret buying as you rule the highway in your 450-kW giant.
Words: Jordan Schmidt