The 2017 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE43 SUV became the ninth model in its new line of AMG 43 performance vehicles. It replaces the GLE400 as a more performance-oriented option. The 2017 GLE43 SUV is a companion model to the GLE43 Coupe. The GLE43 SUV features a 362 hp AMG-enhanced 3.0L V6 biturbo powertrain in a roomy five- passenger SUV package.
What’s so special about AMG? AMG began as an independent tuner and racer of Mercedes-Benz vehicles and is now an integral part of Daimler AG, marking its 50th year in 2017 with the widest selection of vehicles in its history and offering up to 34 AMG models for the 2017 model year, with the nine new AMG43 models positioned between the standard Mercedes-Benz vehicles and the exclusive high-performance “One man, one engine” philosophy.
The AMG 43 model lineup includes: AMG SLC43 Roadster, AMG GLE43 Coupe, AMG C43 Sedan (replaced the C450 sedan), AMG C43 Coupe (launches by early November), AMG C43 Cabriolet (launches by early November), AMG GLC43 SUV, AMG E43 Sedan, AMG GLE43 SUV, and AMG GLC43 Coupe.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE43 AMG represents a radical departure from most of today’s SUVs, which tend to be a collection of box shapes. It displays a fastback form not unlike the first Infiniti SUVs or crossovers and BMW’s X6 M. The GLE43 joins forces with its stablemate, the GLE63 AMG , which ups the power source to a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8, and which is capable of making the run from 0-60 mph in 5.3-seconds. Last year’s nearly identical Mercedes-Benz GLE450 coupe that dropped the Benz and changed its name to Mercedes-AMG GLE43.
My test Mercedes AMG GLE43 Coupe came with a base sticker of $69,650, which rose appreciably to $90,360 after factoring in options. Optional fare on my ride included exterior paint, leather interior, carbon fiber trim, air ionization with air filter, high performance tires, ACTIVE CURVE System, trailer hitch, AMG twin alloy wheels, Bang & Olufsen BeoSound System, laminated glass for the first row, pre-wiring for rear seat entertainment, heated rear seats, MAGIC VISION CONTROL, soft close doors, parking assist package and destination charge. The base price of the GLE Coupe is nearly $18,000 more than the non-coupe version GLE.
Visually the GLE43 Coupe’s exterior is a combination of mixed elements from the parts bin including styling and performance equipment. The sweeping fastback roofline, oversized front air intakes, quad exhaust outlets and honking twin-turbocharged mill are not readily evidenced upon one’s first viewing what is in reality the love child from a high performance muscle car and a “Bigfoot” monster truck, especially when rolling on the optional 22-inh alloy wheels and tires. The rubber donuts are super wide Pirelli P-Zero.
The GLE43 AMG Coupe draws its power from an AMG-enhanced 3.0L V6 biturbo engine that produces 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of peak torque. All AMG 43 models are equipped with the AMG-enhanced 9G- TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission and all models (except the SLC43 Roadster) also feature standard AMG Performance 4MATIC® all-wheel drive along with AMG- tuned steering, AMG braking system, AMG Sport Suspension and throttle mapping. Distinctive and sporty exterior and unique interior features include paddle shifters and other AMG elements such as optional sport seats and unique trims.
To meet varying driver moods and condition requirements, four driving modes are offered—Snow, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+—each adjusting the levels of throttle response, transmission mapping for the nine-speed automatic, suspension damping, and steering effort. There’s also a fifth optional setting – Individual, which enables the driver to create a custom tailored formula by selecting specific settings for each of those elements. The Comfort mode renders the GLE43 coupe an easy-going SUV, while dialing in to Sport+ stiffens the ride quality to an athletic level. An optional Active Curve system, priced at $2910, utilizes variable front and rear anti-roll bars that adjust as needed for body roll control, causing the GLE43 to lean slightly into a turn, much like a motorcycle.
The Sport+ mode also enhances the audible note coming from beneath the GLE43’s vented hood, transmitting a throaty rumbling and firecracker-like popping backfires from the quad tailpipes protruding through the aluminum-colored faux diffuser. It’s enough to tickle any red-blooded gearhead’s fancy. Operating in Sport+ mode continually though, will cost you more at the gas pump. With more rational driving habits, the EPA estimates are 17-mpg city and 23-mpg highway, but if you’re pushing the limits, the results certainly won’t be as pleasing.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
In spite of its impressively awesome performance, the 2017 Mercedes GLE43 Coupe is totally capable of delivering a more docile and civilized ride in more normal scenarios like grocery getting or soccer team and ballet practice transport as well as a formal night out at the opera. The cargo hold is 23-cubic-feett, and is 15 cubic inches smaller than that of the conventional, square-back GLE SUV (formerly the M-Class).
The GLE43’s sharply angled rear window and reverse curved roofline does cut into the capability of transporting tall, boxy cargo, intruding into available space behind the rear seats. A 115-volt AC outlet though strangely placed in the right-rear passenger footwell is useful for impromptu parties and outings, while the cooled and heated front cupholders properly manage beverage temperatures.
Outward vision forward for the driver is virtually the same as the boxier version GLE. The rearward view is another story – here the blind-spot monitor ally comes in handy, due to the narrow windows and wide roof pillars. Headroom in the back seat is also reduced, but only minimally.
Coupe-like styling for high performance vehicles seems to gaining in popularity, with signs of even trickling down to some sub-premium model vehicles. A Coupe example will soon be added to the Mercedes-Benz GLC Class. The GLE43 Coupe is in reality not a coupe at all, but a sedan in Coupe’s clothing. The cabin reflects Mercedes’ attention to the use of premium materials, fit and finish and old world craftsmanship. For a further step up, one may special order the Mercedes “designo” custom treatment. The inventory of standard and optional safety features and equipment is most impressive. The mbrace telematics system provides access to a host of convenience features.
TFLCAR’s TAKE: In the final analysis, the 2017 Mercedes GLE43 AMG Coupe may not be totally up to the performance level of a genuine Sport Coupe or Sedan, but it’s still a mighty fine ride with enough to generate grins and giggles.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE43 AMG
- Base Price: $69,650, price as tested: $90,360
- Engine Type and Size: AMG enhanced DOHC, 24-valve3.0-liter Biturbo V6 with Gasoline Direct Injection
- Horsepower (bhp): 362 @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
- Torque (ft./ lbs.): 384 @ 2,000-4,200 rpm
- Transmission: AMG enhanced 9G TRONIC with wheel mounted shift paddles.
- Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / AMG Performance 4MATIC (40:60) AWD.
- Suspension: Front – Independent, double wishbone suspension with air spring, double-tube gas-pressure shock absorbers and torsion bar. Rear – Independent, multi-link suspension with air spring, double-tube shock absorber and torsion bar
- Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with ABS, BA and VSP
- Tires: Pirelli P-Zero 285/40 R22 106Y front / 325/35 R22 110Y mounted on cast alloy wheels
- Wheelbase: 114.8 inches
- Length Overall: 189.6 inches
- Width: 78.7 inches – w/o mirrors
- Height: 69.3 inches
- Curb Weight: 4,987 lbs.
- Turning Circle: 38.71 ft.
- Fuel Capacity: 24.6 gallons
- EPA Mileage Estimates: 17 mpg city / 23 mpg highway
- Drag Coefficient: 0.36
- 0 – 60 mph: 5.6 seconds – Top speed 130 mph electronically limited.