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New Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S arrives to take on BMW X5 M

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S sports a twin-turbocharged mild-hybrid V8 engine, which develops 603bhp and 850Nm of torque

This is the new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63. It’s a performance version of the standard SUV, which has been designed to rival the BMW X5 M Competition and Range Rover Sport SVR and is on display at the 2019 Los Angeles Motor Show. When it goes on sale in the UK next year, it will only be available in Mercedes’s most potent S specification. 

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Like all of Mercedes-AMG’s top-tier models, the GLE 63 S is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine, which develops 603bhp and 850Nm of torque in GLE. The engine sends its power to all four wheels via a nine-speed automatic gearbox, and offers a 0–62mph time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 174mph.

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The GLE 63’s combustion engine is supported by Mercedes’s EQ Boost belt-driven starter/generator and 48-volt mild-hybrid architecture for the first time, which is capable of delivering an extra 22bhp and 250Nm of torque on demand. The powertrain features an energy recovery function and cylinder deactivation system, which shuts down half of the engine’s cylinders under low-stress driving conditions, to the benefit of fuel economy.

As such, Mercedes-AMG claims the GLE 63 S will return 24.5mpg on the combined cycle, while producing 262g/km of CO2. Mercedes’s EQ Boost electric starter/generator also helps to drive the SUV at low speeds (such as when pulling away from a set of lights), and restarts the combustion engine after each start/stop cycle.

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The less potent, standard-issue GLE 63 (which won’t be sold in the UK) is powered by a detuned version of the same mild-hybrid V8 powertrain, developing 563bhp and 750Nm of torque. Its top speed and 0–62mph times are slightly slower, standing at 155mph and four seconds respectively, although economy and emissions are both marginally improved.

Chassis upgrades over the standard Mercedes GLE include larger disc brakes, six-piston calipers for the front axle, an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential, active engine mounts, a retuned electromechanical power steering system and adaptive air suspension. Buyers can also spec uprated carbon ceramic disc brakes as an optional extra.

The GLE 63 is also fitted with a seven-position drive mode selector, which offers AMG’s familiar range of chassis and drivetrain settings ranging from “Comfort” to “Race.” However, as it’s an SUV, the GLE features two additional settings, branded “Trail” and “Sand,” which raises its ground clearance by 55mm and adapts the engine’s power delivery and four-wheel-drive system for off-road driving.

The AMG GLE 63’s styling is almost identical to the standard SUV’s, with the exception of its more aggressive bumpers, tweaked radiator grille, lower side skirts and flared wheel arches. Interior revisions are equally subtle, being limited to a pair of AMG-branded sports seats, a carbon fibre trim piece for the dashboard and some AMG-specific menus for the car’s dual 12.3-inch infotainment screens.

What do you make of the new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63? Let us know in the comments section below…

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