While they don't enjoy the popularity of their more practical and conventionally styled siblings, so-called SUV coupes are big business for luxury automakers. So when Mercedes-Benz introduced a redesigned version of the midsize GLE last year, we knew it was just a matter of time before we saw a model with a windswept body style.
The coupe will initially be sold in the GLE 53 variant, followed by a GLE 63 S about six months later. Like other similarly named vehicles in Mercedes' lineup, the GLE 53's powertrain consists of a turbocharged inline-six engine paired to a 48-volt mild hybrid system. The engine is good for 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, with the EQ Boost starter-generator providing an additional 21 hp and 184 lb-ft in short bursts. Mercedes says the powertrain lets the all-wheel-drive GLE 53 Coupe cover 0-60 mph in a respectable 5.2 seconds.
Though the powertrain sounds terrifically complicated, we've driven it in other Mercedes vehicles and have walked away impressed with the results. It produces plenty of acceleration in other applications, but the starter-generator also practically eliminates shock from the engine stop-start system.
The coupe naturally benefits from the improvements made to the redesigned GLE — including a more elegant and modern cabin design, as well as the excellent MBUX infotainment system — but it also includes a few unique, sport-themed upgrades of its own. Exterior enhancements include an aggressive aerodynamic body kit complete with a larger grille, side skirts, dual exhaust pipes, and a choice between 21- and 22-inch wheels.
The standard adaptive air suspension offers three distinct ride settings, ranging from plush and relaxed to firm and sporty. The optional Active Ride Control system further adds active roll stabilizer bars to the front and rear axles. Mercedes says this both reduces body roll in corners and enhances comfort while driving straight ahead.
Inside, GLE 53 Coupe-specific upgrades include the AMG Track Pace data-logging program, a steering wheel with red stitching and a red 12 o'clock marker, and heavily bolstered sport seats with a faux leather/faux suede combination upholstery.
You can expect the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe to include a lot of these enhancements, only with a much more powerful engine. Under the hood is a hand-built 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that generates 603 hp. As if that weren't enough, the same 48-volt EQ Boost starter-generator adds another 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque when called upon.
In contrast to the significant increase in power, the GLE 63 S also addresses fuel efficiency with a cylinder deactivation system that can operate on four cylinders when demand is low.