SUV’s and performance don’t really go hand in hand. They have diesel motors producing just about the right power and torque in the segment they are in and do enjoy good driveability and ofcourse off-roadability. However, when you leave the task to Germans with high budget, they will get both things together. Mercedes AMG GLE 43 Coupe is one such example.
The second most powerful SUV in their portfolio after the G63 AMG, the lower numbers denote engine capacity secretly and still provide ample fun over the normal variants and good fun compared to the flagship. The Mercedes GLE 43 AMG is based on the ageing GLE platform but does it still have to oomph?
To begin with, yes. It does. The certain updates in terms of a limited edition variant seen here in cosmetic disguise. The orange pin stripes on the wheels along with front and rear stand apart from the regular variant. This variant is expensive too over the normal variant. The overall design is the same as before which means its butch, muscular and downright intimidating.
The stance, the size, the length and width along with high on tyre track means it gained serious attention even in this black color scheme. I saw multiple thumbs up and victory signs from motorcyclist who appreciate cars like the most and it was the case this time too. The bonnet and rear upright hunched design adds aggression in bucket loads.
Interior also carries a similar trait but in a old school way. Everything feels almost a decade old and this is the design language on the inside that most of us as teenagers loved. The large screen and a lot of buttons for everything makes the cabin very classy and lovely to fiddle with all day once you get used to it. Dashboard feels like a large slab which has places for large air vents, a big keypad for phone dialling, which is downright cool to see in 2020, but would be appreciated in a modern format. The screen can be accessed through modern layout of rotary dials below and steering mounted controls.
Features list includes navigation, memory seats, panoramic sunroof, climate control, rear a/c vents, electric seats, LED Lights, a DVD player, this variant has the sporty pedal, use of double stitching, use of brushed aluminium and everything is made of high quality materials making the cabin a great place to spend time in. This also includes sporty but extremely well padded seats for that relaxed long drive that we did. Space in both rows were good and there was a good size boot on offer as well with no spare wheel to intrude.
Command system was a bit confusing in the start, but we did settle down after going through of the setting memorised but it still required getting eyes of the road. Most buttons below the centre screen did the usual functions so no every day hassles were witnessed. Features list also included mirror package, electric tail gate, temperature control cup holders, high beam assist, traction control, cross wind assist and attention assist are part of the list.
Powering the SUV is a 390 PS and 520 Nm V6 Biturbo petrol motor that displaces 3.0 litres. Engine is refined when you need it to be and delivers stonking and instant performance when you ask for it. Driveability in the city is great too thanks to a lot of torque. However, once you put your foot down, it revs all the way till 6500 RPM and lunges the car ahead. The engines revs freely, smoothly and quickly while sounding good enough despite there is not a V8 under the hood.
The sonorous sound of the V6 plus AMG’s thunder track along with pop and crackles makes the driving experience very racy indeed. At the same time, the fuel needle keeps on dropping. Expect no more than 5-6 km/l when driven hard and fast and 8-9 km/l when driven sanely. The 9-speed gearbox gearshifts are smooth and almost quick enough. 0-100 km/hr comes in 5.7 seconds which is quite fast thanks 4-matic aka AWD drive on offer. Driving modes help ease the situation or help you dial performance to the max using the dial below.
Suspension is on the stiffer side but there is a hint of compliance so it can tackle bad roads at slow speeds well. If you go faster, most things are flattened, but it rocks the cabin at times if the pot hole is big enough. Steering is precise and almost feedback rich while being light in the city and getting heavy enough on the highway or while spirited driving.
The brakes and tyres did a great job in the wet and dry to make the car inspire confidence to stop and steer. Since it is a big bulky SUV we didn’t expect much but we were surprised by its capability when compared to a regular sedan or hatchback from AMG.
Mercedes AMG GLE 43 Coupe Review, Verdict
Like we said in the beginning, SUV and performance don’t go hand in hand. However, when you leave it to bad-mad folks at AMG, they can get anything right. They have done that with the GLE Coupe AMG. The performance is there, there is practicality of a SUV, there is typical Mercedes trait such as luxury, safety, comfort and most importantly, admiration that comes from the brand Mercedes. Price at Rs 1.03 crore, we think it is good enough value and one of the last few fine examples which have old-school performance, luxury, retro interior design equipped that can take pot holes and help you drive to the drag strip.