The latest sample of the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class we have been given to sample has once again reaffirmed its place on our Id Buy It list. Spoiler? Perhaps. The bottom line is that every variation of it we have tested so far rings our bells. Period.
The upper mid-grade AMG GLE 53 with its turbocharged inline six is the sportier high-performance option just one step down from the all-out bonkers GLE 63 with its twin-turbo V8. Sporting a velvety smooth AMG tuned 429 horsepower and 389 pound feet of torque, it’s the sweet middle ground.
Our tester showed up in the surprising shade of Emerald Green, a metallic hue that looks like black from a distance but reveals its secret when the light hits it just right. Standard are AMG styling and functionals like the vertical bar grille, and quad exhaust finishers. There’s 20-inch wheels and AMG logos.
Inside was an optional Nappa leather trimmed interior of black with the upgraded sport seats. They are exceptionally comfortable and supportive in addition to being easy on the eyes. The dash, door panels and center console were all nicely wrapped in soft stitched materials to add some lux.
The full cockpit dual screen instrument cluster and infotainment system is also present, always worth the upgrade. Ahead of the driver is the AMG flat-bottom steering wheel too, with thumb wheels and touch sensitive controls for all the tech.
The mid-level audio and infotainment system feature Bermeister sound and most all the expected features like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The graphics and menus are top notch and there’s more to option if you want extra features.
Performance from its silky smooth inline-six was exuberant and thrilling. Power delivery is immediate and its 9-speed automatic transmission is always on the right spot. It’s much smoother and more fitting of the brand’s DNA than the V6 engines they played with for a while.
The GLE 53 features the 48-volt EQ Boost mild hybrid system which means its idle auto-start-stop system is one of the least obtrusive. With a large motor starter generator integrated into the flywheel its starts are immediate. Because of the 48-volt system, its AC compressor runs on electricity so there’s not pause in its cold when the engine rests.
Chassis tuning is decidedly street with its AMG leanings. It has a performance oriented AMG AirMatic air suspension with adaptive damping. Depending on the drive modes it can be cush or aggressive. You can also raise it manually for off-road use. Though functional, we did find it does lean toward a harsher ride off-road due to its performance tune.
We like that the option content was somewhere in the middle between base equipment levels and fully loaded. This gave us a chance to see what the more commonly equipped models are like. Here still were some $8,300 in options bringing the total sticker price to $82,750.
It showed that you don’t have to mash the pedal all the way to $100,000 to make it feel its price. Mercedes-Benz has a way of engineering each and every level of their product to satisfy as delivered. This is why this GLE like all other variations we’ve tested makes it to our highest honor, the “Id Buy It” list.