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Behind the Wheel: 2023 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53

Behind the Wheel: 2023 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53 can be said to have something of a split personality. We’re seeing this more and more in the era of modern automotive crossovers. Hybrids, EV’s and every other in-between, many trying to be it all and do it all. While the stretch across multiple categories often results in diminished performance across the board, the AMG GLE 53 could teach a master class in everything it attempts to be. Blurring the lines between sport coupe and SUV, with top-notch technology and a driving mode to suite every mood. 

2023 marks the 55th anniversary for the AMG brand. To help celebrate this milestone, Mercedes-Benz is offering a limited run 55 commemorative GLE model. This special edition GLE will come with exclusive 55 graphics, matte-gray 22” wheels with 55-edition center caps. The steering wheel will also feature commemorative badging. 

Image via Mercedes-Benz

Visually, the GLE 53 continues to straddle the fence. Proportions bulge and swell in all the right places to help it looks strong and sturdy. At the same time though, it’s curvy, elegant and oozing curb appeal. Beautifully shaped LED headlights, with a prominent front grille, are perched above oversized front air vents. The special edition 22” AMG wheels compliment the sporty theme perfectly. Add in the obvious ground clearance and roof rails, and one can’t help but appreciate how well the GLE 53 balances visual elements from the realms of luxury, sport and sport utility. 

This blended cocktail carry’s through into the interior, where handsome Carbon Fiber trim sets the tone right up front. Materials are as rich and lavish as you’d expect to find. Thoughtfully arranged and layered for optimal effect. Everything that makes the AMG GLE 53 special doesn’t stop at the surface, but extends all the way down to the bare sheetmetal. This is thanks to a feature list and technical menu that’s longer than the cars title. These AMG specific additions permeate every facet of the driving experience.

For starters, AMG active ride control suspension, based on AIRMATIC, enables high levels of agility, with neutral cornering, a flat ride and gobs of traction. Handling and driving dynamics feel sports car first, off-road SUV second. It’s not to say it can’t be both though. AMG’s Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system continuously calculates traction. Distributing optimum torque for whatever driving situation presents itself. Power distribution can range from 0:100 to 50:50. The state of the art system will carefully calibrate this ratio for short bursts of furious acceleration from a standstill. A feat the AMG enhanced 3.0L I-6 turbo is certainly capable of. Down to low traction lateral loads. Like taking a tight corner on a slippery surface. Leaving you with confidence to spare.  

Image via Mercedes-Benz

Helping you make quick, on-the-fly adjustments are the seven drive programs. Yes, you read right. There are seven. Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual, Slippery and Off-road, which can be specific to trail and sand. Each mode will activate a chain reaction of multi-system adjustments. From engine and transmission responsiveness, acceleration and steering, suspension dampening, down to the way the GLE 53 sounds. Extra edgy exhaust tones are understandably reserved for the sportier modes. The differences between each mode is remarkably extreme. The AMG GLE 53 really stands out in whatever task you ask it to tackle. Tight and nimble to off-road ready.

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Mercedes-Benz attempts the near-impossible here, and comes out surprisingly successful on the other side. They’ve managed to combine sporty design and performance, with remarkable day-to-day versatility and actual off-road capability. A shape-shifter. Beautiful on the inside and out. Full of intuitive technology, easy to appreciate driving aides, and enough safety features to leave you feeling confident and secure.

Starting MSRP: $78,100.00

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