Ever since the GMC Typhoon from the 90s, performance SUVs have been a thing in the USA, and they’ve just been getting more powerful. Today, you’re able to buy a brand-new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV at a price of $120k – four times as much as the Typhoon cost back in the day – that can get you to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. Such a blisteringly quick high-riding people mover makes little sense, but people keep buying them, so everyone is in on the game. Even Cadillac has a V version of the full-size Escalade. Notwithstanding its eye-watering asking price, the 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV has no shortage of rivals, with some of the most obvious ones from Germany being the BMW X5 M, Audi RS Q8, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. All feature twin-turbo eight-cylinder engines with 600 hp or thereabout; the GLE 63’s V8 makes 603 hp. The Merc offers a compelling package, but the fly in the ointment is the imminent arrival of a facelifted and updated 2024 GLE. Should you bother with the 2024 model?
New for 2024
Except for a tweak or two to the paint and trim options, the basic car remains unchanged for this model year in anticipation of next year’s more sweeping changes. The 2024 AMG GLE 63 SUV range does get a new trim level, but it’s a very limited-run special edition called the Edition 55, to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Mercedes-AMG. It will be offered as either an AMG GLE 53 or 63, in either SUV or Coupe bodies, and only 55 of each body style will be made available locally. It comes in either Obsidian Black or Manufaktur Diamond White paintwork and gets forged 22-inch AMG wheels, a black-and-red interior, and many other special touches and badges, inside and out.
2024 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV Price: Which One to Buy
The AMG GLE 63 will cost you a hefty $120,000 on the dot, more expensive than the $109k X5 M but cheaper than the $126k RS Q8 and $136k Cayenne Turbo. This price is the MSRP and doesn’t include a $1,150 destination fee.
The Edition 55 would be a fitting – and very rare and collectible – tribute to the Mercedes-AMG partnership, assuming you can still get hold of one, which is unlikely. We’d leave the regular GLE 63 as is, except for the addition of the Driver Confidence package that adds some missing driver aids that have been left off the features list. We find it almost inexcusable that we’d have to pay extra for adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning on a $120k car, but at least your $1,950 also bags you evasive steering assist, traffic-sign recognition, and lane-change assist.
Interior and Features
The interior is upscale and built from premium materials, with a modern air, thanks to all the digital screens and tech on board. There are many AMG details to delight the enthusiast.
The air of premiumness created by the exterior styling holds up when you step inside, and the cabin dazzles with its sheer screen real estate and quality of the materials used. The soft-touch dashboard looks and feels upscale, with the dual 12.3-inch digital screens integrated perfectly, with large air vents on either side, and not freestanding as in some other Mercs. Some of the plastics used lower down are a bit hard and brittle, but tasteful texturing keeps them from feeling cheap. The heated and ventilated 12-way power front seats are extremely comfortable, and your view of the road is commanding from your elevated perch, which also makes for an unobstructed view of your surroundings and hardly any notable blind spots.
The design of the GLE makes allowance for a small third row, which can be had in lesser models, but not the AMG GLE 63, which is a two-row five-seater only. Its X5 rival used to offer a third row, too, but doesn’t anymore, leaving three-row duty to the X7. As a two-row SUV without the need to accommodate more passengers, the GLE is a commendably roomy five-seater with better interior space than most competitors, except for its rear headroom, which is middling for an SUV. Rear-seat legroom is abundant, helped by a generous 117.9-inch wheelbase. That rear seat will accept a third adult quite comfortably, as it isn’t too heavily sculpted for two people, but hip and shoulder space will be at a premium, so it remains a temporary seat unsuitable for long distances.
Trunk space is excellent in this class, and the 33.3 cu-ft behind the second row just about matches the X5’s 33.9 cu-ft – and beats the rest. The overall trunk volume of 74.9 cu-ft with the 40/20/40-split rear seat folded is class-leading. A power liftgate eases access, and a luggage cover hides the trunk’s contents from prying eyes.
In-cabin stowage spaces are also generous and include an average-sized glovebox, sizeable door pockets, and a lidded center-console storage bin. The front cupholders are heated and cooled but don’t grip drinks holders too well, so some restraint will be required around corners to keep your beverages upright. The rear seat’s center armrest contains another two cupholders.
Materials and Colors
Nappa leather covers the seats, and a variety of interior colors can be selected besides the default Black; these include Black with Gray accents, Tartufo Brown/Black, Classic Red/Black, and Macchiato Beige, some of these at extra cost, and some with optional quilted diamond stitching. Carbon-fiber trim features in the interior and extended AMG carbon fiber costs $1,750 extra. No-cost options include Natural Grain Woods such as Oak, Gray Oak, and Brown Walnut, while Metal Weave ($440) and Manufaktur options such as Brown High Gloss “Flowing Lines” Linden wood and black open-pore Ash wood (both $690) cost extra. The steering wheel is trimmed in Nappa leather and microfiber faux suede, but can be had in faux suede only ($100) or in carbon fiber and faux suede ($500).
The interior of the Edition 55 has a black-and-red theme and features steel door-sill trim with illuminated AMG lettering, special floor mats, and a microfiber-trimmed steering wheel. The only interior color theme available is Classic Red/Black. Various trim elements are finished in Carbon Black, and special-edition badging features throughout.
Features and Infotainment
The GLE 63 is mostly comprehensively equipped, with material choices including Nappa leather, carbon fiber, and real metal finishes. The front seats are power-adjustable and feature both heating and ventilation. Dual-zone climate control, a power sunroof, keyless entry and start, 64-color adjustable ambient interior lighting, and an AMG Performance steering wheel are some of the standard fare. Options include heated rear seats, massaging front seats, four-zone climate control, and more.
The familiar MBUX infotainment setup combines two 12.3-inch digital displays – a gauge cluster and a touchscreen – side by side. You can interact with the system via the touchscreen, steering controls, voice commands, or center-console touchpad. Features include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, HD Radio, SiriusXM, Bluetooth audio streaming, navigation, and in-car apps. Both screens are highly configurable. Augmented video for the navigation costs $350 extra, but a 13-speaker Burmester audio system is standard. This can be upgraded to a 25-speaker setup.
With 603 hp on tap, performance is excellent, aided by the EQ Boost system, AWD, and a 9-speed automatic transmission.
The engine in the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S SUV is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 with 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. A 48V mild-hybrid EQ Boost starter-generator is standard, contributing an extra 21 hp and 184 lb-ft to fill the torque gaps, eliminate turbo lag, smooth out the operation of the stop-start system, and improve step-off response. One drivetrain configuration is offered – an AMG Speedshift TCT nine-speed automatic transmission linked to Merc’s AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system. With a short first gear and AWD traction, off-the-line performance is riveting for an SUV, and the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV’s 0-60 mph sprint is dispatched in a blistering 3.7 seconds on its way to a top speed of 174 mph. Yet, for all of its sporting inclinations, the GLE 63 S can still act like an SUV, and trailering is a strong point. With an appropriate tow hitch fitted, it has a towing capacity of 7,700 lbs – on par with its Audi and Porsche rivals.
With adaptive dampers, AMG Ride Control+ air suspension, and active roll-stabilization, the GLE 63 S sticks to the blacktop like glue. Sure, plow into a corner too quickly, and you’ll feel the weight and experience some speed-scrubbing understeer, but that’s par for the course for nearly any big and heavy SUV. Roll is virtually eliminated in the roll stabilization’s Master setting, but though quick, the steering can feel a bit wooden, and it’s apparent that there are several layers of electronic aids to enable the backroad-blasting this heavyweight is capable of. In Sport+ or Race modes, the ride is rock hard, but thankfully, it slackens off in Comfort, though it remains noticeably stiffer than other GLEs. The transmission is very responsive in the sporty modes and rips through the ratios with near-dual-clutch rapidity, and the brakes always feel strong and up to the task. But while the GLE 63 S can do all these things, it doesn’t seem to enjoy it. It never feels as fun and alert as a Cayenne Turbo and lacks the Porker’s superb ride/handling balance.
All the mild-hybrid wizardry pays dividends in gas mileage, and though it can by no means be called thrifty, the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV’s mpg figures are better than those of its natural rivals. The EPA estimates 15/20/17 mpg for the city/highway/combined cycles, and that 17-mpg combined figure beats the competition by 1-2 mpg. A fuel capacity of 22.5 gallons ensures a range of around 382 miles on a full tank.
Safety is a mixed bag, and although the crash scores are excellent, too many driver assists, such as adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, and lane-departure warning, cost extra.
For a safety review of the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV, we must look at the structurally identical regular GLE, which was tested by both the NHTSA and IIHS. The NHTSA gave it five stars overall and for all tests except the rollover test, which received four stars – a typical result for an SUV. At the IIHS, its exemplary performance was good enough for a 2022 Top Safety Pick+ award, the agency’s highest accolade – but only with the optional Driver Assistance package equipped.
Besides a full suite of airbags, stability control, ABS, tire-pressure monitoring, and a backup camera, the GLE 63 S gets a bunch of driver assists as well, but, disappointingly, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane-departure warning aren’t part of the standard ones, even though far cheaper cars have them. They cost extra via the $1,950 Driver Assistance package, which also adds lane-keep assist, evasive steering assist, traffic sign recognition, speed limit assist, and more. As standard, you get forward-collision warning, emergency braking initiation, blind-spot monitoring, all-around parking sensors, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, automated parking, and a surround-view camera.
US NHTSA Crash Test Result
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
JD Power evaluates the reliability of the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV as part of the broader GLE range, and gave the 2024 GLE a score of 80 out of 100 for Quality & Reliability – which is only average. The 2024 GLE has already been recalled twice for rear-door window trim bars that may detach while driving and a loss of drive power due to a fuel pump shutting down. Both of these recalls also apply to the 2022 GLE, in addition to a further three – a loose locking screw that may lead to a loss of steering control, a disabled emergency-call system, and an unsecured ground connection that may cause a short.
The 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV’s limited warranty is valid for four years/50,000 miles, the same limits that apply to the powertrain warranty.
The profile is familiar GLE, complete with the distinctive C-pillar, but the details mark the car out as an AMG, with aggressive bumpers, a front fascia with big air intakes, and a Panamericana grille with vertical slats. The rear diffuser insert is home to quad big-bore exhaust outlets. LED headlights are standard, along with AMG body styling and side sills, roof rails, a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, and 21-inch AMG alloy wheels. A power panoramic glass roof is a $1,000 option, as is a selection of wheel choices from 20 to 22 inches in size. You can customize the exterior with the Night package, which blacks out the exterior trim.
The Edition 55 comes only with Obsidian Black Metallic or Manufaktur Diamond White Metallic paintwork and runs on 22-inch forged AMG wheels. The AMG Night package is standard and blacks out the exterior trim, while special-edition badging further identifies it as the Edition 55.
Verdict: Is The 2024 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV A Good SUV?
The AMG GLE 63 SUV is a very accomplished car with plenty of interior and cargo space and a good towing capacity. It also happens to be very quick, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a better car. Its handling isn’t the last word in fun, and the ride is a bit too firm for everyday use, but its biggest problem is rivals such as the Porsche Cayenne, which does a better job of offering a class-leading ride/handling combination at the sharp end of the performance SUV class. We’d suggest waiting for next year’s mid-life facelift to see whether AMG has honed it enough to emerge victorious or opt for the superbly balanced, more comfortable, and cheaper GLE 53 instead.