2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Quick Spin
Making the most of the seven deadly sins.
EngineTwin-Turbo 5.5L V8
Power577 HP / 561 LB-FT
0-60 Time4.1 Seconds
Curb Weight5,238 LBS
MPG13 City / 17 HWY
As Tested Price$123,835
Gluttony, lust, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Those seven evil virtues come to life in the AMG 63 S, the range-topping version of the 2016 GLE-Class. It takes an otherwise rational luxury crossover and turns up the indulgence factor to the point where you should feel guilty every time you fire up the 577-horsepower, twin-turbo V8 engine. It's bad in the best way. And while this SUV is certainly not perfect, I can't get enough.
- Wrath is evident from the moment you press the engine start button and let the V8 come to life. No, it's not as fire-breathing as the old, naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 from the previous ML63 AMG, but there's nothing wrong with the way this engine operates. Its brutishness is enhanced by the optional $625 AMG Performance Exhaust – an absolute must-have option, because why bother with a full-on 63 S treatment if you don't want everyone in a two-block radius to hear every bit of your wrath? And as far as lust goes, the exhaust note is delightfully delectable.
- Power delivery from the 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V8 is immediate, and the engine pulls hard to redline in every gear. That 577 hp is complimented by the shove of 561 pound-feet of torque, and all that force will rocket you to 60 miles per hour in a hair over four seconds. Impressive, considering the 5,238-pound curb weight. There's gluttony for you. Speaking of consumption, the EPA-estimated 13-miles per gallon city and 17-mpg highway ratings are rather sinful, too.
- Sloth comes to mind in many of the driving characteristics. This thing may launch like a rocket, but it doesn't really do anything else quickly. The steering is a bit numb, with dull turn-in, and despite being hunkered down on 20-inch wheels and wide, P255/45R20 tires (Pirelli Scorpion winter rubber, since it's February), there's lots of roll while cornering.
- The upside to this uncharacteristically relaxed AMG handling is a quiet, compliant ride for freeway cruising and bombing around town.
- Sloth can also relate to parts of the interior, where the brand-new GLE feels a step or two behind the rest of the class in terms of interior refinement. This car speaks more to the old M-Class than the new generation of Mercedes vehicles. Step inside the fantastic new GLC, then get in the GLE, and you'll be surprised that the more expensive of the two is the one that feels the most out of date. Everything inside the cabin works, it's just not as advanced as the rest of Mercedes' lineup. An interior overhaul can't come soon enough.
- Yet despite that, this thing is in no way cheap. That greed sin is evident when you look not only at the $108,025 starting price, but the $123,835 as-tested number of the car you see here. Of course, this specific GLE63 S has everything – an indulgent shade of Cardinal Red outside ($360), massaging front seats ($1,000), a panoramic sunroof ($1,090), rear seat entertainment ($1,950), and the Bang & Olufsen sound system ($5,400) are some of the pricier options, though there's also the $1,950 Driver Assistance Package that bundles a whole raft of safety technologies.
- But then there's the envy factor. You could save some money and just buy a non-S AMG GLE63, with its less-powerful, 550-hp version of the twin-turbo V8, and you'd probably be perfectly happy. But then you're sitting at a light one day, and a guy pulls up next to you in an S, and it takes off in a louder, quicker fury, and you're like, "Well, crap." In this case, go big or go home. You're already in six-figure territory – live a little.
That last sin, pride, is what you'll have every time you stomp the throttle. The GLE63 will reward you daily with the sound and fury of all that is AMG, but in a package that's comfortable, capable (with all-wheel drive and winter tires, it'll handle anything), and good-looking. It's not the most modern Mercedes on the lot, and certainly not the best-driving – it's instead a kick to the senses, and an impractical, unnecessary act of sin. Sweet, sweet sin.
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