Mercedes-Benz has added the ‘53’ label to its family SUV range with the introduction of the new AMG GLE 53 4Matic+ SUV to Australia.
Already available here in the E 53 and CLS 53 ranges, the new GLE 53 steps up performance compared to its 43-badged forbear while still leaving room above for the later introduction of the no-holds-barred GLE 63 S down the track.
The star of the show is Mercedes-Benz's new 3.0-litre inline six petrol engine, equipped with twin turbochargers (one conventional and one electric compressor) rated to 320kW and 520Nm.
The engine works in concert with Mercedes’ EQ Boost 48-volt mild hybrid system, able to contribute 16kW and 250Nm.
Power is routed through a nine-speed automatic, dubbed ‘AMG Speedshift TCT 9G’ which, despite its ambiguous name is a conventional torque converter auto (Torque-Clutch Transmission and not twin-clutch in this instance) rather than that the multi-clutch (or MCT) auto of the brawnier GLE 63.
The GLE 53’s 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system is AMG specific, with a fully variable on-demand torque split where required. The 0-100 km/h sprint is possible in a claimed 5.3 seconds while official fuel consumption is rated at 9.4-litre per 100km.
Lined up against the previous Mercedes-AMG GLE 43, the new SUV switches from a twin turbo V6 but adds 33kW, keeps the same torque output, and shaves 0.4 seconds from its 0-100 km/h sprint.
MORE: GLE 53 Coupe REVIEW
Other Mercedes-AMG performance equipment includes an active exhaust to free up a more emotive soundtrack at the push of a button, 400x36mm perforated front discs and 345x25mm rears, 21-inch alloy wheels, and an AMG-specific steering rack with two mode (Comfort or Sport) electric assistance.
Air suspension, wearing the ‘AMG Ride Control+’ label, comes standard. The adaptive system features Comfort, Sport and Sport+ on-road settings, while designated Trail and Sand modes are available for off-road use.
Optional AMG Active Ride Control suspension is also available, featuring active roll stabilisation with 48-volt electro-mechanical actuators on the front and rear axle to reduce roll in cornering, capable of making adaptive changes up to 1000 times per second, to match road conditions.
To ensure an appropriate level of athletic aesthetics the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 comes standard with AMG’s signature Panamericana grille, AMG-styled seats, an AMG Performance nappa leather steering wheel and illuminated door sill plates featuring the AMG logo.
Other standard equipment for the GLE 53 includes a panoramic sunroof, wireless phone charging, electrically adjustable front seats with heating and memory, Burmester premium sound system, 64-colour interior ambient lighting, head-up display, and Multibeam LED headlights with Adaptive High Beam Assist Plus.
As with other members of the GLE range the 53 features side-by-side 12.3-inch display screens for instruments and infotainment, fitted with additional AMG-specific content and graphics. Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, DAB+ digital radio and ‘Mercedes me connect’ app connectivity to allow remote locking, engine start and vehicle tracking are also included.
Mercedes comprehensive suite of safety tech for GLE 53 includes Parktronic self-spark assist, Distronic distance-keeping cruise control with speed limiter and traffic sign recognition, 360-degree surround-view cameras, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, active versions of steering assist, lane change assist and blind spot assist, tyre pressure monitoring and Pre-safe Plus accident preparation.
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 pricing for Australia
- GLE 53 SUV – $166,700*
Along with the introduction of the new 53 badge, the entry version of AMG’s performance GLE moves into a higher price category, asking almost $30,000 more than the previous AMG GLE 43, but still sitting comfortably below the previous GLE 63 S, last priced at just over $195,000.
A new-generation GLE 63 is expected to be added to the Australian range in the third quarter of 2020 while the GLE Coupe range and AMG versions of the longer GLS family should also land before the end of 2020.
*Manufacturer’s list price before options and on-road costs. Overseas model shown.