The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Is A Technological Masterpiece That Isn’t As Unique As Expected

In a relentless pursuit of releasing as many performance SUVs as possible, AMG revealed an all-new brute called the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4Matic+. The mid-size performance SUV effectively replaces the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4Matic+, and it will be unveiled at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show. The higher number in its name designates a more powerful engine, a super responsive electric auxiliary compressor, and an EQ Boost starter-alternator motor.

Tobias Moers, Mercedes-AMG CEO confirmed the AMG GLE 53 4Matic+ association with the performance with these words:

“As the inventors of the performance SUV, it is important to us to continue to be at the top with the new generation of the GLE when it comes to innovations, driving dynamics, individuality, and design.”

What Makes the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 53 4Matic+ Special?

The 453-Horsepower 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 is Proof You Don't Need a Sports Car to Have Fun
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The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 53 4Matic+ is like a CES on wheels. AMG knows that it has to compete with the likes of the Audi SQ7 and the BMW X5 xDrive50i, so it threw a slew of modern technologies at it. Interestingly enough, we saw it all a year ago in the 2019 Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 coupe that the company introduced in Detroit. That was the first “53” named AMG. More importantly, it gave us a glimpse into the AMG 53’s future that’s “painted” with mild-hybrid systems, 48-volt electrial systems, and a Speedshift TCT 9G automatic transmission. As is the case with the AMG CLS 53, the E 53 Coupe, and the E 53 Cabriolet, the GLE 53 4Matic+ has a drivetrain system that makes it comfortably more powerful, quicker, and altogether better compared with the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4Matic+. This is what the raw numbers say:

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 2019 Mercedes-AMG GLE 43
Engine Configuration inline-6 V-6
Power 429 horsepower 385 horsepower
Torque (pound feet) 384+184 from electric motor 384
Fuel consumption 25.2 mpg combined (NDEC) 23 mpg (EPA)
0-62 mph 5.3 5.7
Top speed 155 mph 155 mph
The 453-Horsepower 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 is Proof You Don't Need a Sports Car to Have Fun
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As you can see, it is considerably more powerful than the model it replaces. While the AMG shares almost all of the “53-tech” among Merc’s large sedans and SUVs, no one can say that the tech isn’t amazing. However, it isn’t exactly novel or unique. See, the Audi SQ7 is one of the pioneers of the 48-volt electric system and is also a pioneer of the electric compressor system. This is actually a car that the GLE shares its 48-volt framework with. I know, staggering. But you will be even more amazed to learn the following.

Back in 2011, at the Ludwigsburg Elektronik Congress, the big five from Germany (Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche, Volkswagen) made an agreement to develop a common 48-volt electrical framework for their cars and SUVs. The SQ7 was one of the first to adopt it and now, the tech will expand to all other cars as well. This AMG GLE 53 included. Interestingly enough, the latest 2020 BMW X5 does not have a similar system in its top-notch xDrive50i version.

So, in this heavyweight clash, the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 basically wins as it has the latest tech, and a really powerful EQ Boost starter-alternator motor.

That’s not included for the X5 xDrive50i or the SQ7 TDI.

The 453-Horsepower 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 is Proof You Don't Need a Sports Car to Have Fun
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In the case of the GLE 53, the starter-alternator sits between the engine and the transmission and not only does it provide more torque when needed, but it enables seamless activation of the start/stop system. It is more than likely the main reason for the amazing efficiency the AMG GLE 53 can achieve in the real world.

Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 BMW xDrive50i Audi SQ7 TDI
Engine Configuration inline-6 with mild hybrid V-8 V-8, diesel
Power 435 horsepower 456 horsepower 435 horsepower
Torque (pound feet) 384+184 from electric motor 479 664
Fuel consumption 25.2 mpg combined (NDEC) TBD 30.9 mpg
Performance 0-62 mph 5.3 seconds 4.6 seconds 4.8 seconds
Top speed 155 mph 155 mph 155 mph

So, the GLE 53 has the most tech of its closest competitors, but what about all-wheel drive and technology that enhances driving dynamics?

The 453-Horsepower 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 is Proof You Don't Need a Sports Car to Have Fun
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Well, Mercedes-AMG calls it “Ultimate grip”.

The 4Matic+ system in the GLE 53 is a fully variable and permanent AWD system that continuously calculates and adapts the levels of torque between front and back axles.

It is a very capable system that fundamentally improves the driving dynamics and enables that blistering acceleration.

Now, complementing the mild-hybrid setup, smart AWD, and 9G transmission, the AMG GLE 53 has a multitude of other advanced features many of which could never work without a 48-volt power supply.

These technologies include:

  • active roll stabilization with two electro-mechanic actuators
  • air suspension with continuously adjustable damping
  • pneumatic self-leveling at the front and rear axle
  • Massive 400 x 36 mm internally ventilated and perforated brake discs
  • AMG Dynamic System that lowers the SUV by more than half of an inch in Sport and Sport+ modes
The 453-Horsepower 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 is Proof You Don't Need a Sports Car to Have Fun
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I know that a lot of these technologies leave a question mark in your head, but I can promise you that without them, the AMG GLE 53, well, wouldn’t be the AMG GLE 53. In short, with all of this, the GLE 53 can remain perfectly leveled in the bends, completely comfortable over uneven surfaces, and quicker than some sports cars. This set of technologies comfortably makes the AMG GLE 53 one of the most advanced SUVs ever. Something similar can be found in BMWs and Audis, granted, but that’s beside the point right now.

Stylistic Changes Between the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 and standard Mercedes-Benz GLE

The 453-Horsepower 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 is Proof You Don't Need a Sports Car to Have Fun
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It’s simple.

You will recognize an AMG right away. Signature AMG styling cues on the 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 include “radiator grille with 15 vertical chromed strips”, a silver front splitter, and AMG branded wheels (20-22 inch in diameter).

Go to the back and the GLE 53 will greet you with four round exhaust tips. This is a signature styling cue of the AMG 53 line of cars. Between them sits a cool diffuser. This is usually enough to differentiate AMG branded cars from the ones not-AMG, but if it’s not then, you can always rely on the fake vents at the back. Can’t make a mistake with those, can you now!?

The 453-Horsepower 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 is Proof You Don't Need a Sports Car to Have Fun
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The cabin is equally well endowed with AMG branded features. Red stitching is the most obvious, but you do get a whole lot of AMG badges, cool ARTICO man-made leather, black roof liner, and third row of seats! Hell yeah. This bad boy can be a seven-seater, with the electrically adjustable second row of seats.


The 453-Horsepower 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE53 is Proof You Don't Need a Sports Car to Have Fun
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While AMG Boss Tobias Moers ruled out a Black Series SUV and a bespoke AMG SUV, he did not rule out this one, and we all should be grateful. The AMG GLE 53 is a really cool SOB. I mean SUV. Not only can it match the best from Ingolstadt and Munich, but it actually shadows them with all the added tech. The most important part, however, may not be its performance potential, but the fact that it is as fuel efficient as a smaller SUV, family-friendly with three rows, and really comfortable thanks to a whole slew of suspension technology.

Further reading

2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE43 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 4Matic+.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE.

The SUV trendsetter now with even more power and precision

Affalterbach. Mercedes-AMG launches its performance offering for the new GLE with the GLE 53 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption: 9.3 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 212 g/km)1. The basis for the signature AMG driving dynamics is provided by the 320 kW (435 hp) 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line engine, the fully variable all-wheel drive, the agile 9-speed automatic transmission, the AMG-specific drive programmes and the AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL air suspension based on AMG RIDE CONTROL+ with electro-mechanical roll stabilisation. Thanks to the AMG-specific radiator grille with 15 vertical strips, it is immediately obvious that it is part of the AMG family. Numerous options such as the selectable performance exhaust system and the AMG steering wheel buttons make the driving experience even more emotional.

“As the inventors of the performance SUV, it is important to us to continue to be at the top with the new generation of the GLE when it comes to innovations, driving dynamics, individuality and design. The first step here is the new Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+, with which we offer our customers more power than the predecessor model as well as our fully variable all-wheel technology. Not least of all its striking radiator grill shows our new GLE 53 as a fully-fledged member of the AMG family,” states Tobias Moers, Chief Executive of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

Always staying nicely in line: six-cylinder engine with twin charging

Its centrepiece is the electrified 3.0-litre engine featuring twin-turbocharging and an electric auxiliary compressor. The 6-cylinder in-line engine generates 320 kW (435 hp) and delivers maximum torque of 520 Nm. Its EQ Boost starter generator briefly provides an additional 16 kW of output plus 250 Nm of torque and additionally feeds the 48 V on-board electrical system.

The EQ Boost starter-alternator combines a starter motor and alternator in a powerful electric motor and is fitted between the engine and transmission. This innovation as well as the intelligent charging via an electric auxiliary compressor and an exhaust gas turbocharger all have the same goal: to enhance the hallmark AMG performance and driving dynamics, but also to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. And this move has been a successful one: the GLE 53 4MATIC+ accelerates from zero to 62 mph in just 5.3 seconds and achieves an electronically limited speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).

It really turns on the pressure: electric auxiliary compressor

The electric auxiliary compressor builds up a high level of boost pressure without any delays until the exhaust gas turbocharger kicks in. As a result the 3.0-litre engine reacts immediately and provides a dynamic response without turbo lag. An additional bonus is the high level of refinement of the six-cylinder in-line engine.

It will be electrifying: 48 V on-board electrical system

The EQ Boost starter-alternator can do even more. It also provides the 48 V on-board electrical system with electricity. The conventional 12 V electrical system is likewise supplied from the new network – by means of a DC/DC converter. The 48 V battery increases the overall battery capacity in the vehicle, which allows it to supply more electrical energy. An additional advantage: the same power requires only a quarter of the current of a conventional system. The result is that the wiring can be thinner and therefore lighter, which indirectly contributes to saving fuel. The existing 12 V system supplies power to consumers such as lights, cockpit, infotainment displays and control units.

It also does hybrid: EQ Boost starter-alternator

The EQ Boost starter generator is a key component of the 48 V system and not only serves as an alternator, but is also responsible for hybrid functions. This allows fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology. For the first time, the EQ Boost starter-alternator is also responsible for idle speed control.

The hybrid functions include boost with 16 kW of output and 250 Nm of torque, energy recovery, shifting of the load point, gliding mode and the virtually imperceptible restarting of the engine with the start/stop function.

Because the belt drive for ancillary components on the front edge of the engine is omitted, the installation length of the new six-cylinder engine is also significantly reduced compared with conventional six-cylinder engines. This creates space for an exhaust gas aftertreatment system mounted near the engine, which is therefore particularly efficient. The particulate filter is the only part of the emission control system that is under the floor.

A special acoustic experience comes courtesy of the optional, selectable AMG Performance exhaust system. The variable adjustable exhaust flaps give the option to change the sound of the vehicle at the press of a button. Depending on the drive programme, the sound characteristics change from unobtrusive comfort through to maximum emotive appeal.

Speedy shifting: AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9G

The AMG SPEEDSHIFT TCT 9-speed automatic transmission (TCT = Torque-Clutch Transmission) ensures seamless gear shifting with extremely short shift times. It is optimally tuned to the engine and promises agile pulling off typical of AMG as well as speedy shifting – regardless of an automatic or manual transmission via the steering wheel shift paddles. Upshifts or downshifts are implemented instantly. Especially in the “Sport+” and in manual driving modes, the transmission is very responsive. Multiple downshifting enables fast bursts of speed, while the double-clutching function makes shift operations acoustically more emotional.

Unlimited grip: AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive

The new GLE 53 4MATIC+ is equipped for maximum traction and dynamics with AMG Performance 4MATIC+ fully variable all-wheel drive. The intelligent steering variably links the permanently driven rear axle with the front axle and continually calculates the optimum torque distribution – depending on the driving situation and the driver’s wishes. The all-wheel drive thus improves longitudinal dynamics as well as traction and lateral dynamics. The outcome: yet more powerful acceleration from a standing position and for short sprints.

Total stabilisation: AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL suspension

Redeveloped in Affalterbach, the AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL suspension based on AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension forms the basis for a driving experience that is characterised by a high level of agility, neutral cornering behaviour and optimal traction. A new feature makes a significant contribution to the AMG-specific tuning for high levels of driving dynamics: the active roll stabilisation with two electro-mechanic actuators working independently of one another on the front and rear axle as well as fully variable torque distribution.

Not only does the system reduce rolling movements when cornering, it also enables more precise tuning of the cornering and load change properties. In addition, it increases the drive comfort when driving straight ahead because stimuli are balanced out by one-sided road bumps, for example. Movements in the body can be actively and optimally adjusted to the driving conditions. This means that the AMG-typical form of the driving characteristics regarding dynamics, precision and response can be even more intensively experienced by the driver.

Another benefit in comparison to the usual hydraulic-based systems is the significantly faster response. The AMG control can adapt the driving status up to 1000 times per second. The sampling rate is thus a mere one-thousandth of a second. There is also the low weight of the components in comparison to the usual solutions.

Especially long breath: air suspension with continuously adjustable damping

The AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension with particularly sporty spring/damper set-up and adaptive adjustable damping ADS+ (Adaptive Damping System) combines outstanding driving dynamics with high ride comfort. The damping characteristics can be preselected in three modes, “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport+”, allowing a significantly more noticeable differentiation between long-distance comfort and sporty driving dynamics. In addition, there are two new levels for off-road use – “Trail” and “Sand”.

Thanks to pneumatic self-levelling at the front and rear axle, the GLE 53 4MATIC+ maintains a constant ride height regardless of the vehicle load. The vehicle level is generally lowered by 15 mm in the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programmes “Sport” and “Sport+”. In the “Comfort” drive programme, the vehicle is lowered by 15 mm from a speed of 74 mph (120 km/h). This reduces aerodynamic drag and, in turn, fuel consumption. In addition, handling stability is improved thanks to a lower centre of gravity. In order to increase the ground clearance on poor road surfaces or on ramps, the vehicle body level can be raised by up to 55 mm at the touch of a button with the engine running – both with the car stationary and in motion.

Everything under control: Sports steering and high-performance braking system

The electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering has a variable ratio. It wins over customers with AMG-specific rack and pinion ratio and precise feedback. In addition, steering power assistance is adjusted in the two stages “Comfort” or “Sport”. The configuration is automatically activated based on the selected AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programme. They can optionally be personalised at any time in the “Individual” drive programme.

The large sized high-performance braking system reliably slows down the performance SUV even with heavier loads and short braking distances. 400 x 36 mm internally ventilated and perforated integral brake disks are used on the front axle as well as 2-piston fixed callipers painted silver with black AMG lettering. On the rear, the internally ventilated integral brake disks measure 345 x 25 mm and have a 1-piston floating calliper.

Select your programme: AMG DYNAMIC SELECT

The GLE 53 4MATIC+ has seven drive programmes: The levels “Slippery”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport+” and “Individual” are complemented by two off-road-specific settings: “Trail” and “Sand”. AMG DYNAMIC SELECT adapts important parameters such as the responsiveness of the engine and transmission, the characteristic curve of the accelerator and steering, the suspension damping or even the vehicle’s sound. Selected using the paddle in the centre console or the AMG steering wheel buttons, the programmes are then visualised in the instrument cluster and on the multimedia display.

“Slippery”: optimised for slippery road conditions, with reduced power and a flat torque curve for a driving impression oriented toward stability.
“Comfort”: comfortable and fuel-efficient driving, e.g. thanks to early upshifts. Suspension and steering are set up for an emphasis on comfort.
“Sport”: sporty characteristics thanks to a more agile response to the driver’s accelerator pedal input, shorter shift times, earlier downshifts and significantly more emotive gearshifts owing to double de-clutching. A more dynamic suspension and steering set-up.
“Sport+”: extremely sporty characteristics thanks to an even more agile throttle response, increased acoustic emphasis on double de-clutching during downshifts as well as selective torque control on upshifts with cylinder suppression for optimal shift times. Increased idle speed for faster pulling away. An even more dynamic set-up for suspension, steering and drivetrain.
“Individual”: individual adjustment of the drive system, transmission, AMG DYNAMICS, suspension and exhaust system.
“Trail”: safe driving at maximum performance on soft, muddy or slippery ground.
“Sand”: sporty set-up for the best possible grip and steerability on sandy slopes and in desert dunes.
AMG DYNAMICS vehicle dynamics control is integrated into the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programmes. In the “Basic”, “Advanced” and “Pro” levels, it influences the control strategies of the ESP ® (Electronic Stability Program) or the all-wheel drive. The intelligent pilot control anticipates the desired vehicle behaviour based on the driver’s actions and the sensor data. The spectrum ranges from extremely stable to highly dynamic. Additionally there are the "Traction" and “Slide” levels in the off-road “Trail” and “Sand” drive programmes when the ESP® is deactivated.

Quite the eye-catcher: exterior with AMG-specific radiator grille

The appearance of the GLE 53 4MATIC+ captivates thanks to its exclusivity, powerful sportiness and progressive dominance. Thanks to the AMG-specific radiator grille with 15 vertical chromed strips, it is immediately obvious that it is part of the AMG family. Equally striking is the star in the double ring, the narrow headlamps and the striking A-Wing in the front apron. Apart from the slats in the outer air inlets and the trim element on the A-Wing, the front splitter is also silver chrome-plated. The wheel arches in the same colour as the car provide space for the large wheels – mounted with 20-inch light alloy wheels with AMG lettering as standard. There are seven rim variants optionally available from 20 to 22 inch.

The horizontal chromed diffuser strip in the pronounced rear apron and the special exhaust system with two chromed twin tailpipes underline the powerful appearance from the rear and emphasis the effect of the width. The optional AMG Night Package further enhances the vehicle. It includes heat-insulating, dark tinted windows as well as front splitter, trim elements in the front apron and the outer air inlets, mirror covers, window frames, roof railing, diffuser and tailpipe trim in refined black.

The colour of love: interior design with red accents

The GLE 53 4MATIC+ can be recognised by the characteristic red colour accents. This starts with the seats, fitted as standard with covers in ARTICO / microfibre DINAMICA man-made leather black with red contrasting topstitching. They not only offer optimal lateral support, but also have an AMG-specific design and “AMG” badge in the front seat backrest. The top part of the instrument panel is covered in ARTICO man-made leather. The black roof liner and the trim elements in Anthracite open-pore oak wood underscore the sporty appearance.

Further elements to individualise the interior include different leather seat covers and a wide range of high-quality trim elements, among other items.

A key highlight is the foldable third row of seats (standard in the UK), which make the GLE 53 4MATIC+ a seven-seater. Thanks to the Easy Entry function of the fully electrically adjustable second seat row, the two rearmost passengers can conveniently reach their seats.

Stylishly chic: AMG-specific displays in the MBUX system

The innovative operating and display concept MBUX is included as standard in the GLE 53 4MATIC+ and contains numerous AMG-specific content. With the widescreen cockpit, the instrument cluster and touchscreen multimedia display optically combine into one unit. Numerous functions can also be activated via the intelligent voice-operated control “Hey Mercedes”. The optional MBUX Interior Assist also allows intuitive, natural operation of different comfort and MBUX functions by movement recognition and gestures.

The instrument cluster has its own specific details such as the AMG start-up menu and the four selectable styles: “Classic”, “Sport”, AMG exclusive “Supersport” and “Discreet”. When the AMG-specific DYNAMIC SELECT drive programmes “Trail” and “Sand” are activated, off-road-specific settings such as slope, incline and level can be selected and displayed on the instrument cluster. Rocker switches are embedded in the centre console for displaying and controlling the drive programmes, transmission, suspension, ESP® and exhaust system.

Hands sitting pretty on the steering wheel: AMG Performance steering wheel

The AMG Performance steering wheel in black Nappa leather with red contrasting topstitching and red 12-o’clock marking combines maximum functionality, high-quality haptics and perfect ergonomics. Apart from the aluminium shift paddles, it also impresses thanks to the touch control buttons which are intuitive to operate. The entire infotainment system can be controlled with swiping finger movements.

Sporty fragrance: fuel for the senses

There is an exclusive fragrance for the interior, named “AMG#63” as part of the AIR-BALANCE package. It is an inspiring, sporty scent to match the spirit of the performance sports car brand.

Data at a glance





Displacement (cc)


Combustion engine output (kW/hp)


at rpm


Output from EQ Boost (kW/hp)

16/22 hp

Max. torque
Combustion engine (Nm)


at rpm


max. EQ Boost torque (Nm)


Fuel consumption, combined (mpg)


Combined CO2 emissions (g/km)


Efficiency class


Acceleration 0-62 mph (s)


Top speed (mph)


* The stated figures were determined in accordance with the prescribed measuring method. These are the "NEDC CO2 figures according to Art. 2 No. 1 Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/1153. The fuel consumption figures were calculated based on these figures.
** Electronically limited

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