A seven-seat AMG is enough to tingle your senses. But things get a bit more interesting when Mercedes-Benz decides to prefix the same words with ‘hybrid’.
Interesting because the idea of a battery-supplemented off-road model is still a pill that’s hard to swallow. But before you write banners and burn effigies to take to your local dealer, it’s not quite as profane as it may sound.
AMG has graced the latest-gen GLE with the lesser of two engines that power the larger Mercs. Hence, the badge translates into a 429-bhp 3.0-litre straight-six engine with some mild hybrid technology.
But not all that you hear is aimed at emission-free driving. Mercedes’s primary goal in gracing the GLE53 with a hybrid powertrain is to smooth out the SUV’s start/stop procedure, reducing turbo lag and shaving off a bit of fuel consumption.
With an added 22-hp boost, the GLE 53’s benchmark stats are 0-100kph in 5.3 seconds with a top speed of 249kph.
The 53 does not shy out on tech-trickeries either. It is still moderately sporty to drive with a nine-speed paddle-shifting auto, a four-wheel drive system that alters its aggression line depending on the drive mode and intelligent suspensions that actively fights body roll while consistently maintaining the body height regardless of how much stuff you have on board.
Highlighting the interiors on the GLE 53 is the new ‘AMG Track Pace’ on the infotainment system, a circuit analytics app that records 80 different parameters during track driving.
No details on the pricing have been unveiled yet which we assume will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next week.