Sprint Review: 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupé 4Matic+

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLE too boring for you? Need some speed but scared of the monstrous 63 AMG’s? Well, then this semi-crazy GLE 53 Coupé might just be the car for you…

You should know: In our neck of the woods, the GLE is Merc’s proper-sized SUV. Formerly known as ML (or M-Class), it’s not as bulbous as the GLS (former GL) but offers more space and luxury than its smaller brethren GLC, GLB or GLA. And now there’s a whole armada of “EQ” electric versions in the starting blocks…

More info: Did someone say “electric”? Bridging the gap between voluminous AMG monsters and silent but violent EV’s, this 53 model uses a mild-hybrid 48-volt assisted 3-litre in-line six-cylinder turbo-petrol to shove up to 336kW or 520Nm through a supremely quick 9-speed automatic gearbox to all four 275/50R20 wheels.

The manufacturer claims a (limited) top speed of 250km/h and the 0-100km/h sprint in just 5.3 seconds. T’is absolutely true, for our best Racelogic PerformanceBox result was exactly 5.29 seconds.

Not bad for a kerb weight of 2,330kg… other crucial numbers include 198mm of ground clearance, a 12.3m turning radius and 655 to 1,795L of cargo capacity.

What else? Needless to say, this modern AMG SUV comes with all the keyless bells and self-guided whistles. Fine leather, wireless this and automatic that, acres of crisp displays, tons of vehicle or media screens, it’s all here. You also get every contemporary passive and active driver aid, with a few cosmetic or tech-laden options left to select.  

Why you shouldn’t: None of this comes cheaply, so the starting price for one of these swoopy-back mid-strength AMG brutes is R2,220,000 (June 2023). Some testers disliked the hunched back design of this vehicle where others swooned over its reduced rear quarters, which rob rear head-room but provide an enormous lift-back tailgate.

Why you should: The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe 4Matic+ spoils its inhabitants with excellent performance (and sound!), outstanding brakes, a great mix of comfort and sporty handling, decent consumption if you behave yourself, fantastic lights, a superb sound system, cool ambient lighting and sumptuous furniture.

I would possibly choose the “normal” shape GLE, but can happily recommend this 53 derivative to anyone who doesn’t need a 63’s ridiculous performance or crazy fuel consumption. Each new vehicle is also shipped with a 2-year / unlimited mileage warranty and 5-year / 100,000km maintenance plan.


Engine:2,999cc i-6 Turbo-petrol
Transmission:9-speed Automatic, AWD
Max. Power:320+16kW @ 5,500rpm
Max. Torque:520Nm @ 1,800rpm
Avg. cons.:Claimed 9.3L/100km
0-100km/h:5.29 seconds (claimed 5.3)
Top Speed:250km/h (claimed, limited)
List Price:From R2,218,611  

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