2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe: Test Drive and Review

2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe: Test Drive and Review

The 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe is a sporty premium crossover that is a derivative of the fourth-generation GLE-Series from Mercedes-Benz. Unlike the standard GLE models, which are offered with three different powertrain choices, the GLE 53 Coupe is only offered in an AMG-tuned variant — performance balanced with luxury are its mission objectives. 

Distinguished by its stylish sloping roof, the GLE 53 Coupe was introduced new for the 2021 model year. And, as expected, the visually sleek crossover doesn’t offer quite as much interior or cargo room as its traditional GLE sibling (by the tape, the coupe is a few cubic feet shy in capacity). While the unique roofline may require a bit of a duck for second-row passengers, its cabin is every bit as luxurious and the view from the driver’s seat out the front glass is virtually identical to the other GLE-Series models.

The GLE 53 Coupe is fitted with an advanced and sophisticated powertrain that is engineered to optimize both power and fuel efficiency. The combustion engine is an inline-6 – a configuration celebrated for its smoothness – with dual forced induction. There’s a turbocharger on the exhaust system, plus an innovative 48-volt electric supercharger (it is not belt driven, so there is no parasitic drag). In addition, the EQ Boost starter is able to provide additional power under acceleration. All told, the powerplant is rated at 429 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque.

To ensure four-season capability, and to help put the power down regardless of the road surface, Mercedes fits the GLE 53 Coupe with 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive as standard equipment. The gearbox is a 9-speed automatic transmission that delivers smooth shifts in the standard drive modes, yet transforms (at the turn of a dial) to deliver rapid shifts and more power if the driver commands a more aggressive drive mode.

Mercedes-AMG fits the GLE 53 Coupe with an intricate adaptive suspension system that uses air springs and active anti-roll bars (taking advantage of the high-power 48-volt electrical system) to control chassis dynamics. The vehicle automatically raises and lowers based on speed, and the dampers adjust their firmness in conjunction with driving mode.

In practice, body roll is negligible and the system works completely transparently. Overall, the ride is on the sporty side — generally firm damping that gets more aggressive in the sportier driving modes. 

Acceleration is impressive for a 5,400-pound crossover. The benchmark 0-60 mph sprint takes fewer than 5 seconds and the quarter mile is consumed in 13.4 seconds – the power delivery is strong, without any indication of the technological sophistication under the hood. The racy exhaust note is muted from the cabin, but it sounds great to passers-by. Oddly for an AMG-series, the top speed is limited to just 111 mph (most of its siblings will run past 150 mph). 

Despite sports car performance, fuel economy is an unexpected GLE 53 Coupe strength. The EPA rates the coupe at 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway, yet I saw stronger numbers during a 600-mile road trip with four adults on board — we averaged better than 28 mpg on the highway and never dipped below 20 mpg in the city cycle. Most impressive was the driving range, as a 22.5-gallon fuel tank will deliver more than 500 miles of cruising range. The GLE 53 Coupe is an excellent long distance touring vehicle.

My test vehicle was fitted with the optional 22-inch AMG cross-spoke wheels (bundled with the Night Package that extinguishes the exterior chrome accents), wrapped in performance-oriented rubber (sized 285/40ZR-22 in the front and 325/35ZR-22 in the rear). The steamroller-sized tires look great and provide substantial amounts of lateral grip – much higher cornering limits than my passengers would tolerate quietly. Keep in mind that they also ride a bit worse than the standard 21-inch wheels, so those trying to focus on luxury should avoid them.

Passengers within the cabin of the GLE 53 Coupe are coddled with luxury and technology. The MBUX infotainment system provides a visually impressive, and very configurable, digital interface that stretches two-thirds across the dashboard. While the complexity level is high, acclimation with the system comes quickly – within a few days I was comfortable operating the most frequent settings. 

Driver and front passenger enjoy racy bucket seats with heating, cooling, massage, and countless adjustments. Those in the second row will find the outboard seats the best – the occupant in the middle sits on a flatter cushion with their legs on a slight rise on the floor. There are HVAC vents for the rear seats on the pillars and center console. Adults fit comfortably in both rows. 

Consumers have been embracing crossovers over traditional sedans at an extraordinary rate because they offer a raised ride height, easier ingress/egress, more storage space, and they project a more active lifestyle. The old drawbacks of a crossover used to be ponderous driving dynamics, lackluster fuel economy, and archaic engineering. All of those crossover “flaws” have been completely erased with the arrival of vehicles like the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe, which offer the driving dynamics of a sports car, the fuel efficiency of a sedan, and the utility of an SUV.

The 2022 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe starts at less than $80,000. That’s a bargain compared to its more powerful sibling, the GLE 63 S Coupe (which is about $40,000 more). This is especially true when you consider that the GLE 53 shares the identical platform and gives up very little in terms of performance or amenities. Sporty, stylish, and fuel efficient – the AMG GLE 53 is a sweet spot in the automaker’s crossover lineup.