MERCEDES-AMG’s latest pair of hi-po family haulers have arrived Down Under, each armed with the same fearsome 450kW/850Nm outputs as the manic E63 S super-sedan.
Priced from $220,600 and $255,700 plus on-road costs respectively, customer deliveries of the new GLE63 S and GLS63 S will start later this month when they will take over as the undisputed flagships of their respective model lines.
As with previous iterations, both models rely on a force-fed V8 for propulsion, in this case the same twin-turbo 4.0-litre unit as seen throughout the rest of the AMG 63 range.
The whole arrangement is then complemented by a 48V mild-hybrid system and EQ Boost starter-alternator which can add an extra 16kW/250Nm in short bursts while also supporting a myriad of fuel-saving features including gliding and the stop-start system.
Drive is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission with the GLE dispatching 0-100km/h in 3.8 seconds, while the bigger and heavier GLS stops the clock in 4.2s.
Top speed for both is pegged at an electronically limited 280km/h.
Labelled by Mercedes as “an SUV for the family with the soul of a sportscar”, AMG has thrown the kitchen sink at the GLE63 S to make it as comfortable and capable as possible, featuring high performance composite brakes, selectable performance exhaust, speed-sensitive sport steering, Active Ride Control roll stabilisation and Ride Control+ adaptive damping.
As usual for an AMG flagship, Dynamic Select drive modes come as standard with the GLE picking up a few extra compared to the hi-po coupes and sedans to help it live up to its SUV potential.
Comfort, Individual, Slippery, Trail, Sand, Sport, Sport+ and Race comprise the system with the latter three automatically lowering the ride height by 10mm at 120km/h to improve stability and aerodynamics.
To ensure other motorists do not mistake the high-riding AMGs for regular versions, both the GLE and GLS63 S sport the now-classic AMG power domed bonnet, integrated roof spoiler and an aggressive new rear diffuser.
Standard kit highlights on the GLE include multi-contour front seats in AMG Exclusive Nappa leather, AMG Performance steering wheel finished in Nappa leather and Dinamica microfibre, MBUX ‘High’ infotainment system with AMG-specific displays and the track-focused AMG track pace data logging, four-zone climate control, seat and armrest heating, temperature-controlled front cupholders, power-closing doors, Burmester surround sound system and a panoramic glass sunroof with the whole package rolling on 21-inch AMG alloy wheels.
Sporting all of the same mechanicals, the GLS ups the ante not only in size but also in terms of standard gear – just like the S-Class does compared to the E-Class – adding a third row of seats (all power adjustable), five-zone climate control with Air Balance package, MBUX Innovation Package including MBUX Interior Assistant and MBUX Augmented Reality for Navigation.
Rolling stock is also upgraded to bigger 22-inch alloys.
Mercedes-Benz has sold 2675 GLEs (wagon and coupe combined) so far this year ending October, accounting for 19.8 per cent of the $70,000-plus large SUV segment, while the GLS occupies 23.3 per cent of the $100,000-plus upper large SUV segment with 707 deliveries.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE pricing*
|450 Coupe (a)||$137,000|
|53 AMG (a)||$166,335|
|53 AMG Coupe (a)||$171,800|
|63 S AMG (a)||$220,600|
|63 S AMG Coupe (a)||$222,700|
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS pricing*
|63 S AMG (a)||$255,700|
*Excludes on-road costs