Going rapidly in raised height luxury is the theme of the Mercedes-Benz GL 63 S and GLE 63 S Coupé that build on a heritage started by the marque back in 1999 with the launch of the ML 55.
Today’s Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S range features an AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine generating 450 kW.
“Our new GLE Performance models are embarking on another new chapter of our drive technology, which we are also extending to other model series, as we move towards electrification and hybridisation. With our new premium SUVs, our customers can look forward to an unrivalled package of driving performance, high day-to-day suitability, optimum traction on and comfort on long journeys,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The exterior design has specific radiator grilles with vertical louvres while the side skirts, exterior mirror housings and flared wheel arches are painted in the vehicle colour.
Different wheel and tyre combinations cover all on and off-road requirements. The GLE base model is shod with 21-inch light-alloy wheels with AMG lettering as standard and 22-inch heels as an optional extra. The Coupé comes standard with 22-inch wheels. Other wheel variants with diameters from 21 to 22 inches are optionally available.
AMG-specific interior appointments and controls include the latest generation, three-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel with aluminium shift paddles. AMG seats are upholstered in Exclusive Nappa Leather and individually adjustable ambient lighting also comes as standard, while the second seat row is optionally available with full electric adjustment.
The centre console has an AMG-specific control panel with additional switches with which the 3-stage ESP, manual transmission mode, the adaptive damping adjustment, the optional AMG Performance exhaust system and the suspension level can be controlled.
For the first time, the new GLE 63’s 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine is fitted with an integrated EQ Boost starter-alternator that combines a starter motor and an alternator in a single, powerful electric motor. It provides an additional 16 kW of output and 250 Nm of torque which can be called upon temporarily and also supplies the 48-volt on-board electrical system to use as a power generator and perform hybrid functions.
These include boost, recuperate, load point shift, gliding and the virtually imperceptible restarting of the engine with the start/stop function.
Power is regulated through a 9-speed transmission, which features extremely short shift times and fast multiple downshifts, and delivers an especially emotive gearshifting experience thanks to the double-declutching function.
For increased efficiency, Mercedes-AMG has also equipped the V8 engines with cylinder shut-off. In the partial-load range, cylinders two, three, five and eight are deactivated, which crucially reduces fuel consumption. When the driver has selected the Comfort drive program, the cylinder deactivation system is available from 1 000 r/min to 3 250 r/min.
The standard AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension and the adaptively adjustable ADS+ (Adaptive Damping System) configured for the characteristics of an SUV combine agility and dynamics with maximum traction and superb day-to-day comfort. The damping characteristics can be preselected in three stages – Comfort, Sport and Sport+, allowing a much more obvious distinction between high long-distance comfort and sporty vehicle dynamics.
Thanks to pneumatic self-levelling, the new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC+ maintains a constant ride height regardless of the vehicle load. This can be adjusted depending on the driving mode, or manually using a rocker switch in the centre console.
The vehicle level is generally lowered by 10 mm in Sport, Sport+ and RACE mode, while in Comfort mode, the vehicle is lowered by 10 mm from a speed of 120 km/h, and raised back to normal level when the speed falls below 70 km/h.
In Trail and Sand modes, the suspension is raised by 55 mm to increase ground clearance on poor surfaces, and automatically lowered to normal level when the speed reaches 70 km/h. This function can also be controlled using the rocker switch.
The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S and Coupé models are equipped with 400 x 38 mm brake discs at the front, plus 370 x 32 mm discs at the rear. As an option, a high-performance ceramic brake system can be ordered, saving weight compared with the compound discs and thus reducing the unsprung masses.