#MBsocialcar: Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC Coupé.

There is never enough road ahead of you when you are driving a Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC Coupé in the Swiss Alps. Nate Hassler drove through the Swiss mountains in the GLE 63 S Coupé and listened to the sound of the V8 biturbo.

 

#MBsocialcar. Mercedes-Benz collaborates with a network of more than 150 photographers and influencers around the globe. The aim is to stage Mercedes-Benz models in a breathtaking way, to take on new perspectives, and to visually capture the passion that is Mercedes-Benz. The vehicles are provided by Mercedes-Benz for this purpose.

 

Vehicle: Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC Coupé

Fuel consumption combined: 11.9 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 278 g/km.*

 

Location: Swiss Alps

 

Photos: Nate Hassler Photography

 

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The GLE under way on the support route of the Dakar Rally.

Sand, rails, rubble: in the GLE at the 2016 Dakar Rally.

The South American challenge: we joined Ellen Lohr on the support route of the world’s toughest rally.

Photos & Text: Jörg Sand
Ellen Lohr behind the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz GLE.

Behind the wheel: Ellen Lohr.

No less than 14 days, 9,000 kilometres of ultra-tough rally routes and the best drivers in the world: the Dakar Rally is something of a legend. This year, it takes the drivers from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires to Uyuni in Bolivia and back. We were given the chance to accompany Ellen Lohr on the rally. The self-proclaimed Monegasque has driven just about anything with four wheels during her time in motorsports – from a DTM Mercedes to Race Trucks and even a Dakar Rally car. Now she drives our press vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz GLE. The journalists aboard it report on the sporting progress of the rally and thus at the same time also set themselves a huge challenge, because even the so-called support route for press and service vehicles is an adventure which calls for a true professional like Lohr behind the wheel.

Off-road adventure.

The car has to transport four people including camping and photographic equipment for two weeks over this 7,000-kilometre-long support route across South America. It’s a tough challenge: on-board are also two spare wheels, a 20-litre fuel canister, two sand boards, a roof box for luggage and, as you never really know what to expect on such a route, rescue equipment including a towing belt with a break load of nine tonnes and two shovels are also part of the luggage. And that’s all in the roofbox.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE alongside the rally version of the ML 63 AMG from the Argentine Colcar Mercedes-Benz Racing Teams.

The GLE has a gross weight of 2,900 kilogrammes with all this equipment. The maximum vehicle payload of 770 kilogrammes is used to the full.

Bolivien, Ruta 21.

We arrive in Bolivia via a series of spectacular mountain passes through the Andes. Argentina had well-built infrastructure, but here things look a lot different: anyone who is keen on getting around problem-free and having fun at the same time should look to equip themselves with an all-wheel-drive vehicle. There are still plenty of unpaved main roads here which, depending on the weather, are more or less easy to drive on. Road maps show main roads which, upon reaching them, turn out to be the most evil of rubble roads. One such example is the legendary Ruta 21 to Uyuni. The 220-kilometre-long route is covered with crushed rocks and leads from Tupiza along riverbeds before turning into mountain passes at an altitude of 4,600 metres. The road connects small villages and some former silver and copper mines. Bolivia doesn’t get much more primeval than this. We never cease to be amazed: even the villages at an altitude of 4,000 metres are equipped with football pitches, some even with stands for spectators. Playing football in the anoxic conditions at this height is unimaginable for us.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE under way at the Dakar Rally.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE off-road.

Extreme off-road.

After 160 kilometres, Ruta 21 is blocked. We have no choice but to drive the remaining 60 kilometres off-road in order to keep to our planned arrival time in Uyuni. The GLE is equipped with robust off-road tyres. But we didn’t anticipate having to cross such extreme terrain until this point. Ellen Lohr sets the drive programme and thus also the suspension of the GLE to “Off-road” mode. We cross a railway embankment and several small streams in order to get down into the valley in which we can drive parallel to Ruta 21. The “Off-road” mode offered us the additional ground clearance we needed to get on with some serious climbing. Ellen Lohr also found it “a tough challenge” and it won’t be the only one on the route.

GLE 400 4MATIC

Fuel consumption combined: 9.2–8.8 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 215–209 g/km.*

On the rails instead of on the road.

After twelve kilometres, we are again in front of a set of railway lines. The terrain around us looks completely unmanageable and so Ellen makes an executive decision: we’re going to continue the next ten kilometres on the tracks in order to give us a good speed. The air suspension of the GLE makes for a safe and even comfortable ride over the railway sleepers. As we reach a small, decrepit railway bridge leading over the riverbed, Ellen confidently crosses it at walking pace. However, ahead of us, the second bridge causes us to surrender – it has already collapsed.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE on the rails.

Ellen drives the GLE off the tracks and into the river bed where our only orientation comes in the form of the GPS navigation system stipulated by the Rally regulations. Also called for at this point is the traction of both the all-wheel-drive system and the tyres.

What a journey!

Ellen follows the river bed for a further 20 kilometres – what a journey! Every now and again, the ground beneath us changes: deep sand turns into mud. We press on through waterholes such that the cloudy water only lightly sprays on the dusty windscreen and windows. We hold our breath, but the 4MATIC drive system in “Off-road” mode confidently masters every type of terrain and Ellen is truly in her element: “The GLE does a really good job of it. It’s great fun here!” The 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system’s “Off-road” mode allows for some slip on loose ground so that all four wheels can build up the greatest traction possible. Accordingly, the GLE offers ideal propulsion even under the toughest of conditions. And that’s exactly what we need here.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE in a river bed in Bolivia.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE in Bolivia

Dunes up ahead.

We arrive at a plane with a number of sand dunes. Ellen navigates us through the dunes in the direction of Uyuni with the help of GPS coordinates. Here, too, we benefit enormously from the masses of ground clearance available thanks to the air suspension being extended. It allows us to simply drive over smaller dunes. Shortly before darkness falls, we make it: we’re driving back on Ruta 21.

Mission accomplished.

The last five kilometres to Uyuni are like child’s play in comparison. In the evening, in the bivouac next to the campfire, we celebrate with Ellen Lohr how we championed the off-road test. It was an exhilarating journey even for experienced off-roaders, but left us cheerfully enjoying a unique feeling which can only come as a result of such a journey off the beaten track. It’s a special mix of adrenaline, liveliness and inner calm. But what is causing us the biggest problem right now is the altitude. For us Europeans, it’s extremely strange. Uyuni is located at a height of 3,600 metres on a plateau. It stretches for as far as the eye can see and has an immense salt lake in its centre. An impressive view. But it does have a price to pay: at this altitude, oxygen is scarce.

Rear view of the Mercedes-Benz GLE at an angle.

As a result, we struggle with headaches, insomnia and, at its worst, nausea. That said, our GLE still has sufficient power – 60 percent of its 333 hp remains available to us regardless of the anoxic climes.

Diagonal front view of the Mercedes-Benz GLE.

Goodbye.

Even the return journey demands all we can give: it’s extremely hot in Argentina, where we experience temperatures of up to 47 degrees and can’t bear to get out of our comfortably cooled GLE. You can really rely on this vehicle: we arrive in Buenos Aires having covered 7,000 kilometres door-to-door without a single problem on the vehicle – not a single failure, not a single flashing warning lamp, nothing. It stoically did as was asked of it. It will certainly stay in our memories, just like the almost surreally beautiful landscapes of South America. We’re exhausted, there’s dust and sand everywhere, we’ve spent two weeks sleeping in tents and have had to endure the heat, days of continuous downpours, high altitudes and extreme tracks. Despite that, or should we say, because of that: it’s so hard to say goodbye. But it surely won’t be the last time we see each other!

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The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC (W 166) impresses with agility and sportiness. The sportily striking design makes the enhanced performance discernible at first glance.

New power SUV from Mercedes-AMG: the GLE 43 4MATIC.

Mercedes-AMG is extending its offering of AMG sports models. The Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC is the third vehicle in this new line.

Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC:

Fuel consumption combined: 8.6 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 199 g/km.*

Enhanced engine output. Higher torque.

The Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC power SUV facilitates a further, attractive way of entering the AMG performance world. The hallmark characteristics of the sports models include the enhanced engine output and higher torque of the 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine, the specific AMG suspension, the Sports Direct-Steer system, the automatic transmission 9G-TRONIC and the permanent all-wheel drive 4MATIC with rear-biased torque distribution of 40:60. The new V6 top-of-the-range model of the GLE series boasts impressive driving performance: acceleration, handling and top speed are on a par with those of sports saloons.

Front view of the Mercedes-AMG GL 43 4MATIC (W 166).
The rear of the Mercedes-AMG GL 43 4MATIC (W 166).

Agility and sportiness.

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC impresses with agility and sportiness. The immediate and direct implementation of all driving commands, combined with the powerful yet not overpowering sound of the AMG sports exhaust system, create a highly emotive and appealing driving experience. “With our sports models we are making our sports car technology and the hallmark AMG driving experience accessible to new target groups,” says Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “The Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC, the third sports model from Mercedes-AMG after the C 43 4MATIC and Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 Coupé, is fulfilling our brand promise of Driving Performance in every respect.”

 

Mercedes-AMG C 43 4MATIC:

Fuel consumption combined: 7.9-7.6 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 183-178 g/km.*

 

Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC Coupé:

Fuel consumption combined: 9.4-8.9 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 219-209 g/km.*

Plenty of fun on winding stretches of road.

With the five driving programs Individual, Comfort, Slippery, Sport and Sport Plus, the characteristics of the new Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC can be modified depending on the driving situation. The interventions occur via numerous parameters such as throttle response, load development, shift points, shift speed, chassis, steering, engine sound or instrumentation. “Sport” and “Sport Plus” turn the Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC into a sporty, dynamic vehicle with pronounced longitudinal and transverse dynamics for plenty of fun at the wheel on winding stretches of road.

The sporty design of the Mercedes-AMG GL 43 4MATIC (W 166).

In the “Comfort” setting the emphasis is on relaxed, effortlessly superior cruising plus driving power that is as energy-efficient as possible. “Slippery” mode optimises the handling on surfaces with low friction coefficients such as snow or ice. In addition, “Individual” mode enables the driver to programme and store personal preferences in the individual setting parameters, regardless of the engine variant.

The wing of the Mercedes-AMG GL 43 4MATIC (W 166) in detail.

Quicker shifting.

Depending on the driving programme, the automatic transmission 9G-TRONIC changes gears with high levels of agility and responsiveness or effortless superiority. The potential of the new transmission is exploited to the full. It offers an impressively high shift speed and perfect transitions for energetic sprinting, as well as gentle, barely perceptible gear shifting for enjoyable motoring. The transmission’s large kingpin inclination enables cruising with the lowest engine speed during relaxed driving. This simultaneously ensures optimum efficiency.

Performance-orientated setup.

The AMG development engineers have also specifically designed the standard-fit permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC for performance-oriented use in the Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC. The drive torque is distributed in a ratio of 40:60 (front:rear).

Side view of the Mercedes-AMG GL 43 4MATIC (W 166).

This rear-biased configuration raises the lateral dynamics to an above-average level – supported by the perfect interplay with the adapted acceleration skid control ASR, the ESP® with Curve Dynamic Assist and the electronic traction system 4ETS. Also new is the specific AMG rear axle differential with a shorter ratio.

The rear of the Mercedes-AMG GL 43 4MATIC (W 166) in detail.

Sophisticated chassis.

As standard, the vehicle comes with the AIRMATIC package including air suspension, infinitely variable adaptive damping system (ADS Plus) and automatic level control. The damping system changes its priorities from highly dynamic to comfort-orientated depending on the driving programme. The current operating conditions are detected via a steering angle sensor, four turning angle sensors and the driving speed from the ESP® signal and the brake pedal switch. The control unit uses these signals for infinitely variable adjustment of the current damping force required for each individual wheel. In “Sport” and “Sport Plus” mode the body is lowered by 15 millimetres. In combination with the newly configured, degressive Sports Direct-Steer system, and the compact sports steering wheel, the handling is outstanding in all operating conditions – whether manoeuvring in the city, driving at high speeds on the motorway, or adopting a brisk style of driving on winding mountain passes.

Sportily striking design.

The sportily striking design makes the enhanced performance discernible at first glance: the two chrome-plated twin tailpipe trim elements and the black-painted, high-sheen 50.8 centimetres (20-inch) 5-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels plus exclusive trim in black and silver chrome ensure a clear differentiation.

The sporty and striking design of the Mercedes-AMG GL 43 4MATIC (W 166).

Pure dynamism – even at a standstill.

The interior of the Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC is enhanced by the nappa leather sports steering wheel with its flattened bottom section, as well as the trim parts in light longitudinal-grain aluminium and brushed stainless steel sports pedals with rubber studs. Sporty round dials on the instrument cluster, including a 280 km/h speedometer scale, signal pure dynamism even while the car is at a standstill. AMG carbon-fibre/black piano lacquer trim enhances the appearance of the interior as an additional option.

Pure dynamism – even at a standstill.

The interior of the Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4MATIC is enhanced by the nappa leather sports steering wheel with its flattened bottom section, as well as the trim parts in light longitudinal-grain aluminium and brushed stainless steel sports pedals with rubber studs. Sporty round dials on the instrument cluster, including a 280 km/h speedometer scale, signal pure dynamism even while the car is at a standstill. AMG carbon-fibre/black piano lacquer trim enhances the appearance of the interior as an additional option.

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The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé – Trailer.

Fuel consumption combined: 11.9 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 278 g/km.*

 

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé represents a new interpretation of driving performance. As another exciting interpretation of a four-door coupé, the commanding SUV meets the highest of standards in terms of performance, design and comfort.

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé (C 292) comes with the AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with active roll stabilisation ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM and the Sports Direct-Steer system.

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé.

Driving performance reinterpreted.

Fuel consumption combined: 11.9 l/100 km;

combined CO₂ emissions: 278 g/km.*

The highest of standards.

With the new GLE 63 Coupé, Mercedes-AMG is in highly dynamic mood as it enters the 2015 automotive year. As another exciting interpretation of a four-door coupé, the commanding SUV meets the highest of standards in terms of performance, design and comfort.

The powerful heart of the vehicle – the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine – beats even faster in the new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé: in addition to the variant generating 410 kW (557 hp), there is also a highly sporty S‑Model to choose from which is rated at 430 kW (585 hp).

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé (C 292). The perfect prerequisites for a highly dynamic on-road driving experience come courtesy of the suspension.

Sportiness of a coupé, strengths of an SUV.

Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH: “We see great potential in this vehicle segment, which is new to Mercedes-AMG. The GLE 63 Coupé is the logical progression of our ambitious growth strategy – after all, in 1999 with the first high-performance SUV ML 55 AMG, we established a completely new segment. The new GLE 63 Coupé will inspire SUV fans focused on dynamics while at the same time representing a new interpretation of driving performance.”

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé (C 292) combines the sportiness of a coupé with the strengths of an SUV.
The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé (C 292) combines the sportiness of a coupé with the strengths of an SUV.

Commanding, extroverted, proud and with “A-wing”.

The GLE 63 Coupé is the first SUV from Affalterbach to adopt the AMG design philosophy, familiar from many other high-performance vehicles, with the characteristic “A-wing” in the front apron. This makes the SUV coupé clearly recognisable as a member of the AMG model family. Viewed from the front, the model’s sculptural design idiom is also defined by the bonnet with its two dynamic powerdomes and new radiator grille – as is typical of AMG, it features a twin louvre in silver chrome as well as a large, central Mercedes star.

High-grade interior: exclusive design elements and appointments.

Like the exterior design, the interior of the GLE 63 Coupé also boasts many exclusive design elements and appointments. Thanks to their specific upholstery with greater contouring and higher side bolsters at the front, the sports seats offer excellent lateral support. Perforated nappa leather, special seat upholstery layout with topstitching and AMG badges make for an exclusive look and feel, which is further complemented by the 3-spoke Performance steering wheel: the steering-wheel rim, with flattened bottom section, in black nappa leather with perforated grip area, assists a sporty driving style. Silver aluminium shift paddles with “UP” and “DOWN” lettering and a precise pressure point act as an invitation to manual gear changing.

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé (C 292). As customary for a typical AMG model, the sound from the new GLE 63 Coupé is unmistakable.
The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé (C 292). The seven-speed automatic transmission features a dual-turbine torsional damper with speed-sensitive centrifugal pendulum.

Power transmission: AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC.

The power transmission, too, is made to measure. Depending on the mode selected for the variable dynamic handling control system DYNAMIC SELECT, the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC impresses with its great agility and superior responsiveness. The transmission has a wide-ranging potential.

It offers an impressively high shift speed and perfect transitions for a sportier driving style as well as smooth, barely perceptible gear changes for enjoyable cruising.

4MATIC all-wheel drive with rear-biased power distribution.

With 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive, Mercedes-AMG uses a specially designed transfer case: this exclusive solution distributes the drive power in a ratio of 40:60 between the front and rear axles, resulting in greater agility about the vertical axis of the vehicle. The pay-off for the driver: even greater driving pleasure during high-speed cornering. The AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with AIRMATIC package, consisting of air suspension, special damper struts, automatic level control and infinitely variable damping characteristics ADS Plus, is combined with active roll stabilisation ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM.

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé (C 292). Roll stabilisation, damping and suspension adapt automatically to the prevailing driving situation, offering both optimum ride comfort and maximum stability.

This standard-fit system employs active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles to reduce the body’s roll angle during cornering. The reduced roll angle and outstanding cornering properties make for enhanced transverse dynamics and driving pleasure.

DYNAMIC SELECT changes the driving dynamics in no time at all.

Perfect interplay between all systems makes for a superior experience in the cockpit – whatever the driving situation or road conditions. As an additional bonus, DYNAMIC SELECT modifies the driving dynamics in no time at all. The GLE 63 Coupé adapts its character at lightning speed, depending on which transmission mode is activated. In “Comfort” mode, the control thresholds of the dynamic handling control systems ASR, ESP® with Dynamic Cornering Assist and the all-wheel drive control system 4ETS are configured for moderate, restrained dynamics.

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupé (C 292).

“Sport” and “Sport Plus” permit greater longitudinal and transverse dynamics for more intense driving pleasure. In “Slippery transmission” mode, on the other hand, the focus is on optimum traction and maximum driving stability in adverse road conditions. “Individual” mode allows the driver to design their own personal set-up consisting of engine characteristics, shift strategy and damper settings.

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