Looking at performance levels, the current version of the Mercedes-Benz GLE-class SUV has been outdone by the new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S.
That’s the idea. As the high-performance subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, outdoing is what AMG is all about.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S SUV has a twin-turbo V8 engine making a monstrous 603 horsepower.
When this SUV first came into my possession, I didn’t think anyone needed 603 horsepower. But a few days later, I happened to watch “Ford v Ferrari” and came away thinking 603 horsepower might not be enough.
AMG GLE 63 S pricing starts at $115,000 with a $1,090 destination charge included.
Before we go any further, let me tell you Mercedes-AMG also offers a more reality-based 2021 GLE 53 SUV that is just as luxurious as the 63 S, but comes with a twin-turbo 429-horsepower six-cylinder engine and costs $73,440 with destination.
The GLE 63 S comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission and the Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel drive system. The V8 is paired with an EQ Boost starter-generator system that provides an additional electrical output of up to 21 horsepower, supplies energy for the 48-volt onboard electrical system, and helps optimize efficiency.
A cylinder shut-off system switches between four- and eight-cylinder power to reduce fuel consumption. Its transitional activity is undetectable to the driver, as is the vehicle’s start-stop fuel saving system.
Estimated fuel economy ratings are (don’t look) 15 mpg city, 19 mpg highway, and 16 mpg combined.
An advanced air suspension system with adaptive damping and active roll stabilization enable the big GLE 63 S to handle tight twisty turns with utmost stability while also delivering a comfortable ride.
As with every Mercedes-AMG model, the GLE 63 S is a wonderland of high-performance driving dynamics technology. As an SUV, it’s also capable of performing such down-to-earth duties as accommodating up to five passengers in roomy comfort and 33 cubic feet of cargo at the same time (33.9 cubic feet with the optional adjustable second-row seat).
Speaking of optional items, my tester had 18,000 dollars’ worth, including a panoramic sunroof, 22-inch AMG wheels, carbon fiber trim, augmented video for navigation, four-zone climate control, multicontour front seats with massage, and a Warmth and Comfort package (rapid heating front seats, heated front armrests, and heated door panels).
Another optional package added a suite of driver assistance technologies so inclusive you could just about drive without paying any attention.
Among the standard features are a 12-inch touchscreen display, 12-inch wide-screen instrument cluster, navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, the Mercedes MBUX infotainment and connectivity interface, a Burmester surround sound audio system, 64-color ambient lighting, wireless charging, heated and ventilated front seats, and a collection of safety and security equipment including 360-degree camera views, adaptive LED headlights, and active parking assist.
The GLE 63 S SUV interior is constructed in signature Mercedes style, using solid and superior materials pieced together with laser-like precision, and arranging everything in a handsome visual feast without diminishing adherence to logical placement for ease of use.
Blistering but controlled and sophisticated performance is a given with AMG, and without being able to experience what the GLE 63 S is capable of on a track, just a slight depression of the accelerator pedal and the moon-shot response gave me a good clue.
2021 MERCEDES-AMG GLE 63 S SUV
Base price, including destination charge: $115,000
Price as driven: $131,880
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.