The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE 63’s Performance Features Are a Blessing and a Curse
The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 AMG is an undeniably beautiful and powerful machine. Based on the standard GLE SUV, the GLE 63 ups the ante by adding a twin-turbo V8, an adaptive suspension, and a set of carbon ceramic brakes that are well suited for high-performance track driving. There’s no doubt that the Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 AMG is worth its $125,000 price tag with all of the go-fast goodies the German automaker strapped onto it. But in my testing so far, I have found that some of those performance features are a blessing and curse.
The 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 AMG’s twin-turbo V8 is powerful but not very efficient
I will admit that the 2024 Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 AMG’s hand-built twin-turbo V8 engine is plenty powerful. Sure, 603 hp sounds like a lot on paper – it is – but stabbing the throttle and feeling those ponies hit the pavement is a different story. Since the setup uses two turbochargers, there’s no turbo lag as the engine revs its way through the RPM band.
The torque comes on strong in the midrange and pulls all the way to the redline. One part of the experience that I especially like is the exhaust note. There’s nothing like hearing a big German SUV sound like a muscle car from the old days. Additionally, the noise doesn’t get piped into the speakers, so none of it is artificial. But when driving normally, the engine pipes down, and you would be hard-pressed to know what’s under the hood if you didn’t know what car you’re in.
The only downside I can mention is that the large engine, even with its 48-volt mild hybrid system, only gets around 18.5 mpg on average. That’s much lower than the normal GLE 350’s 27 mpg highway range.
The Mercedes GLE 63 AMG’s brakes are amazing but too grabby
While the Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 AMG definitely has enough power to get up and go in a hurry, it also has plenty of power to bring everything to a halt. Beneath the GLE 63’s large 22-inch wheels are a set of carbon ceramic brakes. They’re amazing and would work well for the track. However, they can take some getting used to on the street.
Actually, it took me about two days of driving the car around town to get used to them. Pressing the brake pedal is like an “on/off” switch, as the brakes grab quickly halfway through the pedal travel. This led to plenty of neck-snapping abrupt stops because I had a hard time getting used to the pedal feel and responsiveness. Luckily, I had no passengers for the first two days; otherwise, they likely would have questioned my driving ability.
Regardless, the brakes are great once you get used to them. Just don’t be surprised that there’s a learning curve.
The GLE 63’s adaptive suspension works well but isn’t as smooth as other models
In order to support the GLE 63’s performance and stopping power, Mercedes-Benz installed a self-leveling AMG active ride control suspension with adaptive dampers. There are different settings, like comfort and sport, which firm or soften up the car’s ride. There’s even a switch to raise or lower the car if you plan to go off-road or on a track.
It’s a pretty sophisticated system, but I noticed the GLE 63’s ride doesn’t feel as soft as other Mercedes models I’ve tested. Of course, I could be nitpicking at this point, considering it is a performance-oriented model, after all.
Either way, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 AMG is an amazing performance SUV that’s worth its hefty price tag if you can put it on a race track. But its performance components can be a little much for the street.