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.