- Brutally quick but practical too
- Aggressive AMG styling and packed tech
- Suprisingly comfortable and well balanced
- Expensive to buy and expensive to run with high emissions
- It feels quite wide firing through narrower lanes
- Aviod testing the really sporty modes on public roads
Mercedes has certainly signed up to the ever-growing trend for developing high performance SUVs. They are practical, look stunning and really deliver on the dynamics side too.
And that is exactly the case with the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC+ model with its 4.0-litre V8 engine delivering blistering pace and handling.
Admittedly it’s not for the faint-hearted and nor will the asking price or fuel costs be. But anyone even remotely considering signing on the dotted line for this car will not be phased by splashing the cash. In the meantime, the rest of us can just dream!
On The Road
The AMG GLE 63 S is the most powerful GLE model available and boasts a 3,982cc, V8 petrol engine with 612hp and 850Nm of torque. But there is still more power to come as this car features an integrated EQ Boost starter-alternator and that introduces an extra 22hp and 250Nm of electric motor torque.
That all translates into some eye-watering performance statistics with the car blasting its way from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds and onto a top speed of 175mph.
There is a nine-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles if you want to take extra control. But in all honesty, the automatic transmission is super-slick and perfectly timed for rapid bursts of acceleration or more gentle cruising.
The road holding is confident and there is a constant stream of power on tap to make light work of overtaking slower-moving vehicles.
It does feel quite large in busier town centres, but the elevated driving position results in great all-round visibility. The steering is nicely weighted too with ample feedback – this is essential in a vehicle with so much firepower.
The car also features 4MATIC which is Mercedes’ all-wheel drive system. It is actually very accomplished off-road, although most owners won’t venture too far from the Tarmac.
The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 is a car of many moods and they are determined by the driver. That’s because there are various drive modes to choose from called Sand, Trail, Slippery, Individual, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race. They all sound quite self-explanatory, but the transition from Comfort to Sport+ or Race is quite dramatic with everything from the ride, steering, braking, acceleration and noise levels really sharpening up.
The car has AMG Ride Control+ air suspension with adaptive damping and that results in a beautifully composed ride with impressive balance through tighter bends. It even manages to smooth out the uneven surfaces as it glides along. It gives the car a beautifully cushioned manner and when driving in a more sedate way, this vehicle feels exceptionally refined.
But this Mercedes is really in its element when unleashed and that’s where things get a little tricky. That’s because it reaches the maximum 70mph speed limit on motorways in just seconds where it cruises with ease. So then maybe you could look at the B roads and country lanes for some fun. Again, there is a problem. Due to the Mercedes’ width you will discover it feels really large on smaller roads so you tend to hold back again. In all honesty, the only place (apart from Germany’s autobahns) where this car can be properly explored to its full potential is a race track and how many owners will realistically do that?
The five-door Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S is an imposing looking vehicle that commands attention wherever it goes. AMG is the high-performance side of Mercedes and any cars carrying those three letters in their title boast extra aggressive styling for added impact.
Our car featured an AMG Night package which adds lots of high-gloss black trimmings to the mix. There are AMG-specific front and rear aprons, with side skirts in polished aluminium, plus an AMG performance exhaust system.
Multibeam headlights, a sculpted bonnet, flared wheel arches, a large grille housing the Mercedes emblem, plus 22-inch AMG cross-spoke forged wheels with red brake calipers and AMG lettering complete the look.
Move inside and there are high-end black Nappa leather upholstered seats, door panels, dashboard and central console. The main focal point is two 12.3-inch media and cockpit displays, along with a chunky gear lever and AMG flat-bottomed steering wheel.
The inside of this Merc is luxurious in its design with ambient lighting in 64 shades, but it also features lots of clues to the car’s performance potential with the likes of an AMG race timer and certain dynamic drive select modes that are best left for the track.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Finding that perfect driving position takes just seconds inside the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S thanks to powered seats and an electrically-adjustable steering wheel. Then it’s simply a case of taking a minute to explore the wealth of on-board technology at your disposal.
The two 12.3-inch screens merge into one behind a glass plate and these are the main focal point. The left screen is where all the infotainment systems are located and the right screen is about performance readouts and data. It looks stunning and is viewed as one of, if not, the best interiors when it comes to design and layout.
The car has the latest MBUX set-up which is Mercedes premium infotainment system and there are steering wheel buttons, voice control as well as touch pad options to navigate the many features. This means the main screen stays free from mucky fingerprints.
You also get your very own personal assistant that is summoned with the magic words: Hey Mercedes. When prompted you can ask all manner of questions such as navigation tips, restaurant reviews, search for radio stations, lower the temperature and much more besides.
Creature comforts include a head-up display, a Burmester surround sound system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with wireless charging, a DAB digital radio, a dual Bluetooth interface and very efficient four-zone climate control with individual settings for all occupants.
Space & Practicality
The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC is a five-seater that is very big on the outside and just as vast within the cabin. There is ample space for three adults to sit in the back and the high roofline means taller occupants won’t find their heads brushing against the lining.
The car measures more than five metres in length, stretches 2.17 metres across and is 1.78 metres high, so you would expect plenty of storage room. And you would be right because the boot has a capacity of 630 litres – a limit that increases to 2,055 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Inside the cabin is a lockable glovebox, deep central cubby with charging ports, front and rear cup holders, deep door bins, nets in the seat backs and some handy trays.
With elevated seating and wide opening doors, it’s a very easy car to get in and out of. And for anyone transporting young children, there are Isofix child seat fixtures.
With family holidays in mind, the AMG GLE 63 S can tow a caravan or trailer weighing up to 3.5 tonnes. The 4MATIC all-wheel drive system will also prove really practical when faced with rougher terrain or in more adverse weather conditions.
When it comes to squeezing into tight parking bays, life is made a lot easier with the Mercedes Parking package that adds active parking assist with a 360-degree camera. This was a standard feature on the test car.
If we get down to the nitty gritty then the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC is a premium performance SUV, so it’s not going to be cheap and nor will the running costs.
The test car was priced at £111,598, although the addition of bright white paint (that looked amazing) saw the final cost creep up to £112,493. That may seem an awful lot of cash to spend on an SUV, but this Merc is no ordinary family run-around and the price-tag is comparative to rivals vying for sales in the same market.
The day-to-day running costs are high too with a combined 22.8mpg under WLTP testing with carbon emissions of 281g/km. That fuel figure would only be achievable if the car were driven quite sensibly. One glance in its direction will lay that thought to bed, so expect to see an mpg figure in the mid-teens.
The high CO2 emissions means you will face the most expensive first-year road tax bill of £2,245, dropping down to the standard fee of £155 after 12 months. However, more bad news as there will be an additional premium car levy of £335 for five years because the vehicle costs more than £40k.
For business drivers, the Benefit in Kind rating is 37 per cent and the insurance group rating for the test car is also the highest at 50.
Quality & Reliability
Mercedes’ reputation for developing vehicles that are reliable and offer miles of trouble-free motoring has certainly improved in recent years and the AMGGLE 63 S 4MATIC should certainly survive the test of time.
The upholstery is crafted from premium Nappa leather and there are soft-touch door panels and dashboard. All the switchgear feels very well-constructed and there has been plenty of attention to detail when creating the interior with an emphasis on quality. The two infotainment screens blend into one behind a glass panel and with a range of methods to control the many on-board features, there will be no fingerprints to worry about.
The vehicle comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, plus Mercedes Mobile Roadside assistance which also includes Europe.
Safety & Security
When the Mercedes GLE was tested for its Euro NCAP rating back in 2019, it received a maximum five stars for safety. And the latest high-performance model is packed with safety features and driver assistance aids to help protect occupants and keep other road users safe too.
Features include blind spot assist, active braking assist, adaptive brake system with HOLD function and brake drying in the wet, attention assist, cruise control with variable speed limiter, electronic stability programme, lane keep assist, an active bonnet and speed limit assist.
With the firepower this vehicle possesses the AMG high-performance braking system is developed to bring the car to a safe stop and there is also a Driving Assistance package that introduces active distance assist, active blind spot assist, evasive steering assist, a pedestrian warning function and lots more.
There is an anti-theft package to help keep thieves at bay and the car also features 4MATIC permanent all-wheel to help keep the vehicle on the move during more challenging weather and driving conditions.
If you’re in the market for a big, bold, in-your-face SUV that boasts awesome driving ability, then the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S could be the perfect solution, especially if tight budgets are not a factor.