Mercedes-AMG has taken the wraps off its new GLE53 4Matic+, which will serve as the GLE's flagship variant until the full-fat AMG 63 version arrives.
UPDATE, 8/8/19: Mercedes-Benz Australia has pushed back the launch of the AMG GLE53 until 2020, originally scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019.
As with most AMG models, the new 53 is all about what lies under the bonnet. In this case it's a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six augmented by 48V mild-hybrid technology, which Mercedes calls 'EQ Boost'.
Outputs for the petrol engine are rated at 320kW (@6100rpm) and 520Nm (@1800-5800rpm), with the 48V starter generator offering an additional 16kW and 250Nm over short bursts.
The company claims the luxury family bus can hit 100km/h from a standstill in just 5.3 seconds, on its way to an electronically-limited top speed of 250km/h.
Fuel consumption, meanwhile, is rated at 9.3L/100km on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions officially sitting at 212g/km.
All that grunt is sent to a performance-tuned 4Matic+ fully-variable all-wheel drive system via a nine-speed automatic.
In addition to the powertrain, there are several other AMG-specific appointments to make the GLE53 drive in a more sporting manner than its more sedate siblings.
First cab off the rank is a special speed-sensitive power steering setup with variable ratio, while 400x36mm front and 345x25mm rear brake discs provide ample stopping power – with two-piston calipers up front and one-piston units at the rear.
There's a new 'Panamericana' grille up front with 15 vertical chromed strips, 20-inch wheels as standard (22-inchers are optional), a special exhaust system with chromed tailpipes and the option of an AMG sports exhaust, faux leather and suede upholstery with red top-stitching, a black roof liner, a faux leather dashboard, and the option of carbon-fibre trim inserts.
Like the wider GLE range the AMG 53 is available with three rows of seating, making it one of the quickest ways to get your kids and their friends to school.
Other features include the dual-screen MBUX infotainment system with AMG-specific menus, a nappa leather steering wheel with red 12 o'clock marker and aluminium shift paddles.
Under the skin there's AMG Ride Control+ air suspension that lowers by 15mm in the Sport and Sport+ driving modes, and also lowers by the same amount at speeds over 120km/h.
When tackling unsealed roads and tracks, the AMG GLE53 can be raised by up to 55mm for enhanced ground clearance, which can be done when the vehicle is stationary and in motion.
Finally, there's a range of drive modes available – Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual, Trail and Sand.
Mercedes' local division has confirmed first deliveries of the AMG GLE53 will commence in 2020.
Final pricing and specifications will be announced closer to launch, stay tuned.
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