Following in the footsteps of the more practical Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S SUV, the midsize Mercedes crossover-coupe is getting completely overhauled for 2021. Highlights include a new V8, some interior and exterior tweaks, and the latest version of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment suite.
The most significant changes for the new model year are mechanical. Like the more pedestrian GLE-Class on which it’s based, the 2021 GLE 63 S Coupe rides on an updated version of Mercedes’ crossover architecture, which is shared not only with the other GLE variants, but also with the larger GLS.
The new 4.0L, twin-turbocharged V8 has about 25 more horsepower than the outgoing, 5.5-liter unit, pushing its total from 577 to 603. Those ponies are backed up by 627 pound-feet of torque. Mercedes-Benz’ 48-volt mild hybrid system and EQ boost electric starter-generator also return, contributing an extra 21 horsepower and 184 lb-ft when the situation calls for it.
The updated model also gets Mercedes’ nine-speed transmission, replacing the seven-speed unit previously offered, and it is paired exclusively to the company’s 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system. The “+” in that moniker denotes the presence of extra goodies, like advanced electronic torque vectoring supported by an electronic locking rear differential. Mercedes-Benz says this combo is good for a 0-60 sprint of just 3.7 seconds on the way to a 174-mph top speed.
Like most performance-oriented powertrains (and plenty that aren’t), the GLE 63 S Coupe gets multiple drive modes ranging from “Comfort” to “Race.” Since it’s an SUV, Mercedes throws in “Trail” and “Sand” modes too, plus there’s always the customizable “Individual” option for those whose tastes fall somewhere in between.
Certain drive modes also enable an active cylinder management program that will help GLE drivers save fuel, but we have a hunch that AMG buyers aren’t particularly concerned about such things.
To keep this bulky family hauler under control, Mercedes-Benz pulled out all the high-performance stops. Ride Control+ adaptive air suspension returns for the new model, and AMG integrated it (as always) with the powertrain’s drive modes to optimize the GLE 63 S Coupe’s behavior. A set of six-piston fixed front calipers handles the bulk of the braking duties; the rear end is fitted with single-piston calipers.
You’d be hard-pressed to tell the 2021 Coupe apart from its predecessor with just a casual glance, but if you look closely, you’ll see some telltales. The creases along the Coupe’s flanks are less pronounced and higher up on the body. The same is true of the integrated ducktail spoiler on the tailgate, which is far more subtle than it was on the previous incarnation.
Inside, the 2021 GLE 63 S Coupe gets the latest version of MBUX, which can be controlled both via natural language commands and gesture control. Being an AMG variant, the Coupe gets some performance-specific pages in the UI, including a G-meter, lap timer, and a monitor for engine and transmission status (including real-time engine and transmission oil temperature monitoring). It even includes a shift indicator just in case you get a little carried away in manual mode.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe will go on sale this fall. Look for pricing and configuration options as we get closer to its on-sale date.