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Twin-turbo 3.0L inline-6 combines with 48V electric system to power Alabama-built GLE53.
Twin-turbo 3.0L inline-6 combines with 48V electric system to power Alabama-built GLE53.

Mercedes Lifts Veil on GLE53 Performance SUV

The new range-topping GLE model is the latest in a growing number of AMG models to receive the Mercedes-Benz performance division’s mild-hybrid drivetrain first seen in the CLS53.

Mercedes-AMG reveals its new GLE53 4Matic+ ahead of the plush new performance SUV’s planned public premiere at next week’s Geneva auto show.

Set for North American delivery by mid-2019, the new range-topping GLE model is the latest in a growing number of models to receive AMG’s mild-hybrid drivetrain first seen in the CLS53. It combines parent company Mercedes-Benz’s new twin-turbocharged 3.0L inline 6-cyl. gasoline engine, which features an electric auxiliary compressor to boost low-end torque, with an integrated starter motor and 48V electric system.

The output of the mild-hybrid drivetrain is 429 hp at 6,100 rpm and 383 lb.-ft. (519 Nm) of torque between 1,800 and 5,800 rpm. An additional 22 hp and 184 lb.-ft. (250 Nm) is provided by the starter motor which acts as an electric motor for brief periods under acceleration.

Altogether, this provides the new GLE53 with 89 hp and 184 lb.-ft. more than the old GLE43, which ran a more conventional turbocharged 3.0L gasoline V-6 without the electronic boosting technology used by its successor unit.

Drive is handled by a standard 8-speed torque-converter-equipped AMG Speedshift TCT automatic gearbox and the performance-car division’s fully variable 4matic+ all-wheel drive. The GLE53 claims a 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 5.3 seconds – 0.4 seconds faster than the GLE43 – and an electronically governed top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). Combined fuel consumption on the European NEDC test procedure is a claimed 25.3 mpg (9.3 L/100km).

A standard AMG Dynamic Select program lets the driver choose between seven different driving modes: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Trail, Sand and Individual.

Together with the new EQ Boost powerplant and upgraded all-wheel drive, AMG has provided the GLE53 with a speed-sensitive variable-ratio electromechanical steering system, a uniquely tuned Active Ride Control air suspension boasting ride height adjustment and a self-leveling function, as well as a Ride Control system with continuously adjustable damping control.

Further modifications are centered on the brakes. They adopt 15.7-in. (40-cm) front and 13.6-in. (35-cm) rear discs with two-piston and single-piston calipers, respectively.

The standard wheels measure 20 ins. in diameter, with 21-in. and 22-in. rims available as options.

Stylistically, the GLE53 is differentiated from other fourth-generation GLE models by AMG’s distinctive Panamericana grille. It is integrated into a more heavily structured front bumper featuring larger air ducts for more efficient engine bay and front brake cooling.

Other styling upgrades include color-keyed wheel-arch extensions and a rear bumper that houses a prominent diffuser and four chromed tailpipes.

Inside, the AMG model seats up to seven thanks to an optional third row.

The performance treatment evident outside is mirrored in new AMG digital graphics for the instruments as well as AMG Performance seats and a multifunction steering wheel with aluminum shift paddles.

The GLE’s MBUX infotainment system has been enhanced with a new AMG Track Pace function which provides vehicle-specific data including 0-62 mph, standing quarter-mile and 62-0 mph times that can be accessed on closed routes outside public traffic areas.

The GLE53 is produced alongside standard GLE models at the German automaker’s Tuscaloosa, AL, plant.


TAGS: Vehicles
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