2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe

If you have common sense or are looking for a value proposition, please move along.
If you have common sense or are looking for a value proposition, please move along.

by Nelson Chong | August 6, 2021


If you are all about being ludicrous, please read on. The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe is a cannonball on steroids. This is the GLE Coupe, an SUV with a slick sloping roof. These are the type of cars that are going to draw attention and break some necks. Those who are jealous will think you are over compensating. Those who know what’s up will know you are just hanging it all out.

However, the GLE 63 S needs to live up to its AMG badge, as it gets the full fledged treatment and is not a tweener model. The looks are a love it or hate it ordeal. The front end is tall is bulky with an aggressive AMG grille and “A-wing” front apron. The sweeping roof line and 22-inch wheels turn the bulbous SUV into a sports car with aggressive stance. The wide tires, muscular fenders and quad exhaust tips really accentuate the sports car stance. The GLE 63 S Coupe takes the utility out of the SUV with lowered and sloping roofline cutting into interior space.

Details such as three-dimensional LED headlamps, a lip spoiler and a deep finned rear diffuser add the nuances to complete the sports car theme. The GLE Coupe is all about setting yourself apart from the crowd. Not many people who are value driven will be spending huge chunks of cash on a SUV with compromised utility.

The interior of the GLE 63 S does not disappoint; it’s a clash of carbon fiber, brushed metallic and leather. The variety of materials is a chaotic masterpiece that comes together for a luxurious yet athletic cabin. Designs are dramatic and elicit excitement with deep contoured seats that hug like racing buckets and center mounted grab handles to remind drivers of the brutality of its performance as well as an extra touch point with top tier craftsmanship.

The carbon and large metallic paddle shifters remind you of the AMG GT and the performance this vehicle has on tap. The AMG drive unit gives performance setting controls at the driver’s fingertips. The steering wheel mounted controls allow for quick setting changes for functions such as dampers, exhaust mode or manual shift modes. The balance of luxury and athleticism must be applauded.

The AMG GLE 63 S is a complete package that does not compromise technology for performance. The all-digital dash is a statement that the GLE is tech laden. The 12.3-inch digital instrument and multimedia display linked as once large unit is a sight to behold and looks like something pulled from Star Trek. It is high resolution and vibrant, a multi-touch display that can be controlled with either touchscreen, a touchpad or wheel-mounted touch controls. Voice control is also available with predictive functions.

The multimedia display controls the usual phone, navigation and media settings as well as AMG Track Pace utilities. Navigation is enhanced with augmented reality for precise directions. Next level luxury tech such as full back massaging front seats and 64 colour ambient lighting are all a part of this “performance” vehicle. The Burmester 3D surround sound system is an audiophile’s dream.

As much as everyone likes to think utility is completely compromised on this type of crossover, there is still plenty of space. Of course the rear sloped hatch cuts out a lot of room but capacity is still a very useful 655-liters with the rear seats up and expands to 1,790-liters with them folded. Interior space is excellent for both driver and passengers. The lower roof means rear headroom is compromised and the interior does not feel cavernous, but is still plenty spacious.

AMG made its name with handcrafted engines, built by one person from start to end with the finest attention to detail. The GLE 63 S is blessed with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It generates 603 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque, sprinting to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. The engine is buttery smooth and responsive thanks to the “hot V” turbo location improving efficiency. Bringing the V8 into the new era is the implementation of EQ boost adding gas free torque. The addition of an electric start-generator adds 21 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque for a short burst.

This electric power gives the engine instant response only found before in naturally-aspirated engines. Paired with the AMG Speedshift TCT nine-speed transmission, power delivery is linear with uninterrupted acceleration. In manual shift mode the automatic transmission snaps through gears with aggression. The powertrain experience is the star of the show; intoxicating and addictive.

Combined with seamless cylinder deactivation, fuel efficiency is kept to respectable level despite the beastly outputs. The GLE 63 S is rated at 16.3L/100km city and 12.8L/100km highway for a combined of 14.7L/100km. During our week of testing we averaged an impressive 13.3L/100km. What’s more impressive is how the engine makes this 2,499-kilogram beast feel light. The smoothness of the engine and the way speed builds is a phenomenal sensation that can’t be put into words.

As expected for an AMG product, the ride is stiff even in its “Comfort” setting. Damping is excellent with great body control. However as much wizardry AMG is capable of, it still feels top heavy, giving off a body-on-frame vibe when driving in the city. The GLE 63 came to its own in rural areas with long sweeping roads. The ride was excellent for cruising at high speeds, and the power means keeping speeds is easier than lifting your pinky.

This car is extremely stable and well damped; the faster you go the smoother it rides. At 2,499 kilograms there is no way the GLE will handle like a sports car but can definitely hold its own when the road gets twisty. Changing the suspension settings makes a noticeable improvement allowing drivers to enjoy in high spirit with confidence despite its clumsy characteristics at low speeds.

The 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system is incredible. Even though the GLE cannot dance into a corner, the way it can power out of the it is simply sensational. All-wheel-drive plus the aid of an electronic limited slip rear differential gives the GLE 63 S near-unlimited grip. The AMG braking system scrubs speed off at an incredible rate, but low speed modulation can be tricky. If you fancy, there is the $6,900 option for carbon ceramic brakes.

The GLE 63 S Coupe has a base price of $135,300, and our tester came in at $161,000 with most of the available option boxes checked off. The Premium Package and Intelligent Drive Package add just about everything buyers would want, at $7,900 and $3,000 respectively. Our tester also had the $6,900 option box checked off for the Burmester surround sound system, and $1,500 for a carbon fiber engine compartment cover.

If a large crossover coupe is your thing, then you can opt for the BMW X6 M at $133,000 or the Audi RSQ8 for $126,500. All three options boast the same 3.8 second sprint time to 100km/h, and similar power outputs. Choosing between then comes down to brand loyalty. The 2021 Mercedes AMG GLE 63 S Coupe 4MATIC+ is a vehicle you buy with your heart and not your brain. It has incredible performance, but it will always be handicapped by its weight. The characteristics make this the perfect cruiser and highway demolisher, and without a doubt one of the best statement cars available today.

See Also:

2021 BMW X6 M Competition

2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+

2020 Porsche Cayenne S Coupe

Vehicle Specs
Engine Size
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Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Nelson Chong

Staff Writer

A father, husband, and photographer, Nelson is a genuine car nut through and through. When not out and about testing the latest in the industry, he can be found behind the lens or the wheel of one of his Japanese icons.

Current Toys: ’04 S2000, ’18 Civic Type R, ’23 Model Y