Is it safe to say that the sports cars has its days numbers? With the rise of SUV sales and popularity, its only fitting that brands conform and offer what the people really want; performance SUVs such as the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4Matic+ and 4Matic+ Coupe. We had the chance to drive them earlier today as the vehicle officially launches in Mzansi.
Before we go anywhere, its only befitting that we tackle the technicalities and innards of the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53. At the heart of the performance SUV is a 3.0L in-line six-cylinder engine that is good for 320 kW and 520 Nm of torque. That petrol engine also has a 48V onboard electrical system. This EQ Boost starter generator is also responsible for hybrid functions, including energy recovery, shifting of the load point, gliding mode and the virtually imperceptible restarting of the engine with the start/stop function.
According to Mercedes all of this tech and power makes the 0-100 km/h sprint possible in 5.3 seconds. Don’t worry, we’ve tested this at Gerotek Test Facilities and its true.
To ensure that all these technical functions are able to output the right amount of power at the right time, Mercedes has fitted an electric auxiliary compressor that builds a high-level of boost, with no lag to provide power, until the petrol turbocharger kicks in. Everything is driven by the AMG Speedshift TCT 9G transmission.
But how does the car handle on the road?
Given all tech and mechanics we’ve touched on above, what you get is an SUV that can be as soft and supple at the same time, to top it off it can be generally luxurious if you want it to, or as stiff as your lower back after a few sets of those kettlebell squats.
Seriously, it’s not odd at all. In Comfort mode, the SUV wafts generously. The air suspension eats up all of the roughest roads, and while there’s some roll if you take a corner hotter than your rear seat passengers would like you to, it never exceeds into that seasickness-triggering sway other big SUVs suffer from. I hate that feeling.
But once you flick the Dynamic driving selector either to Sport or Sport+, and the GLE 53 becomes a completely different monster.
A highlight of the GLE 53 SUV is the optional, foldable third row of seats which make the GLE 53 4MATIC+ a seven-seater. One would’ve never thought its possible due to the size of the vehicle. Thanks to the Easy Entry function of the fully electrically adjustable second seat row, the two rearmost passengers can conveniently reach their seats.
Up front there’s the MBUX system which is included as standard, and contains numerous AMG-specific content. With the widescreen cockpit, the instrument cluster and touchscreen multimedia display optically combine into one unit. Numerous functions can also be activated via the intelligent voice-operated control ‘Hey Mercedes’ we’ve come to know.
Would we suggest you check the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4Matic+ out? Definitely. Especially the Coupe version.
Pricing: R1 837 000 (Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+) and R1 972 500 (Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé)
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