Auto Shows2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupe packs mild-hybrid punch
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The Mercedes-AMG GLE53 SUV debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March, but its "coupe" sibling didn't make an appearance at the same time. Now, a few months later, it's time for that to change. Mercedes-Benz on Thursday unveiled the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupe. Rocking all the same quality bits as the standard GLE but with a more stylish rear end, the GLE53 Coupe offers some serious performance, albeit one tick below the top-tier AMG 63 variant.
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The GLE53 Coupe stands apart from its non-AMG siblings by way of a unique grille and a different front bumper with larger air inlets and a chrome front splitter. There are also some side skirts thrown in the mix, along with a different spoiler on the trunk. 21-inch wheels slot underneath flared fenders, but 22-inchers are also available if the mood fits. Like every other AMG 53 vehicle, this one rocks a pair of round tailpipes on each side of the rear bumper, with a rear diffuser tucked in-between.
Inside, the AMG exclusives continue with sportier seats wrapped in vinyl and microfiber. There's also an AMG-specific steering wheel with aluminum shift paddles, stainless-steel pedals and AMG floor mats. Like any other Mercedes-Benz vehicle out there, customization options abound, including about as much carbon fiber as any one person can handle. Like other Coupe variants, there's a little less headroom and cargo space than the more traditional SUV variant, but such is the price we pay for fashion.
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Much like its sedan sibling, the E53, the GLE53 Coupe comes standard with AMG's take on air suspension. Three modes of varying stiffnesses are on offer, in addition to Trail and Sand modes, should you ever deign to take this thing off the pavement. The suspension can also add 2.2 inches to the ride height at speeds of up to 43 miles per hour for a little extra off-road peace of mind. It should stop mighty well, too, thanks to 15.75-inch front brakes and 13.6-inch rears.
The real gem of the GLE53 is under the hood. There's a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 that generates 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque on its own. But it's not alone; the straight-six mates to a 48-volt electrical system and an electric motor that can produce an additional 21 hp and 184 lb-ft. Having reviewed the E53, I can assure you that this thing will move, with that electric motor filling in just about every dip in the torque curve, and then some. All-wheel drive is standard, as is a nine-speed automatic transmission.
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The company says this SUV concept will use a plug-in hybrid powertrain and an electric four-wheel-drive system. The PHEV setup is described as being low-weight, but no other details were given. Mitsubishi was one of the first manufacturers to offer a plug-in-hybrid SUV for sale -- the Outlander PHEV -- and this concept could preview a new hybrid setup for future production crossovers. While the shadowy image only shows the top half of the rear of the car, we can see a number of intriguing details. The surfacing is sharp, the trunk lid is short, and part of the taillight is visible above the rear bumper.
Every other new GLE-Class is loaded with tech, and the GLE53 is no exception. The new MBUX infotainment system is standard, split between a 12.3-inch gauge display and a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen. It's responsive, well laid out and features a digital assistant that can respond to natural-language requests.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupe will make its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. It'll go on sale in the US by mid-2020, and pricing will be released closer to that time.
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