Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 adds a raft of EQ Boost features and 48V electrical system

429 hp, active roll stabilization, offroad drive modes headline the list

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 / Image Credit: Mercedes-AMG
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Mercedes-AMG has a new toy for us to play with, the GLE 53. Power figures come in at 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet thanks to a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six. That's just 44 more horsepower and no more torque than the GLE 43, and is 121 hp and 132 lb-ft short of the GLE 63. Unlike those siblings, the GLE 53 gets help on various fronts from the EQ Boost starter-generator sandwiched between the engine and nine-speed transmission, and the 48-volt electrical system. Quick boost from an auxiliary compressor, and the e-motor's contribution of an extra 21 hp and 184 lb-ft on demand is enough to scoot the GLE 53 from zero to 60 in 5.2 seconds. The 48-volt electric architecture powers a new active roll stabilization feature. Working alongside the 4Matic+ and adaptive damping, electro-mechanical motors at the front and rear axle help put torque wherever it needs to be while holding the body through corners and load changes.

The five expected drive modes, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Slipper, and Individual are joined by the Offroad modes Trail and Sand. The latter two modes loosen up the traction and slip-angle requirements, and display slope, incline, and level gauges on the digital instrument cluster. In case of backroad emergency, at the touch of a button the GLE 53 can raise itself up to 2.17 inches over bad roads.

Until the dirt calls, the GLE 53 is well-suited to hard use on pavement. Basic, Advanced, and Pro levels in the AMG Dynamic Select menu control how intrusive the all-wheel drive and ESP will be. When it's time to stop, 15.7-inch front rotors and 13.6-inch rear rotors in AMG's high performance brake system get clamped by silver calipers with black AMG lettering.

There's a new face in town, that being the 15-bar AMG grille one can trace to the AMG GT. Other tells include the chrome-accented A-wing up front, 20-inch light alloy wheels with AMG lettering, a chrome-rimmed rear diffuser, and four round exhaust pipes.

Inside comes plenty of red ornament, from the red seatbelts to the black seats with red contrast stitching. The MBUX infotainment system comes standard, with four styles of display screen and AMG-exclusive menus.

It's well too early for pricing, but the middle-child performance crossover will slide in between the $68,150 GLE 43 and the $103,050 GLE 63 when it goes on sale later this year. We'll see it next week at the Geneva Motor Show.

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