German tuner gets to work on the baby AMG GLE

Raise your hand if you’re still not used to seeing the Mercedes GLE Coupe? I hate to admit it, but I count myself in this group and a big part of that was seeing the BMW X6 for so long and not having a rival coming from the Silver Arrows. But finally in 2015, seven years after the X6 was unveiled, Mercedes launched the GLE Coupe. Why the quick history lesson, you ask? Its because the GLE Coupe is one of the most relevant crossovers/SUVs in the premium crossover/SUV market today and it’s also become the apple of the aftermarket industry’s eye.

Take Brabus for example. The German tuner is famous for being one of the best Mercedes tuners in the game. It has a program for just about every Mercedes model in the market today, and not surprisingly, it’s already prepared two unique tuning kits for the GLE, one being the GLE 63S and the other being the GLE 850. So what does Brabus do now that it has these programs in the mix? It develops a third program, that’s what.

This new kit is specific to the AMG GLE 43 Coupe, the little brother to the AMG GLE 63. In keeping with the spirit of a Brabus-tuned Mercedes, the AMG GLE 43 Coupe gets a load of refinements covering a few surfaces of the coupe SUV. Yes, it even has interior upgrades. They’re not much, but they still count for something, right?

The real highlight though is Brabus’ 410 kit, which you can imagine gets really busy on the AMG GLE 43’s 3.0-liter biturbo V-6 engine, bringing out a total output of 404 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. There’s more to the kit than what I’ve mentioned, which is why now’s the perfect time to take a look at all details.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 Coupe by Brabus

Exterior

2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 By Brabus High Resolution Exterior
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Brabus likes to play it simple with its exterior upgrades and it’s no different with the GLE 43. In fact, only two notable upgrades can be found in this section, one of which is the new front grille and the new set of 22-inch alloy wheels. It’s a far cry from what Russian tuner TopCar did with its own tuning kit for the AMG GLE 43. That program gave the coupe SUV a ridiculously aggressive look, featuring among other things, a new front spoiler and front bumper, a new front lip, a carbon fiber front grille with modified vertical bars, flared wheel arches, side skirts, a bigger rear spoiler, air intakes, and a massive rear diffuser. Depending on your preference, you can’t have two exterior upgrades that are more different than what Brabus and TopCar are offering.

Interior

2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 By Brabus High Resolution Interior
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Once again, Brabus opted to keep things simple with the interior upgrades for the AMG GLE 43. Don’t expect anything over-the-top because the only aftermarket updates on the coupe SUV’s cabin are the aluminum pedal pads, custom door lock pins, and floor mats. The good news is that in standard configuration, the AMG GLE 43 already boasts black leather upholstery and wooden trim, heated front seats, ambient lighting, and a panoramic roof. Those who prefer to keep the coupe SUV’s cabin organically simple will appreciate what Brabus did, or in this case, didn’t do.

The only aftermarket updates on the coupe SUV’s cabin are the aluminum pedal pads, custom door lock pins, and floor mats

But if you prefer dressing up the interior of your AMG GLE 43 to the absolute nines, TopCar’s doozy of an upgrade has you covered. Care for some crocodile leather? That’s available. How about 24-karat gold? Yep, get those checkbooks ready. These are only a few samples of what the Russian tuner is offering for those interested in its program.

For what it’s worth, it’s really a choice between two completely different interpretations of the AMG GLE 43’s cabin. I suppose that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, right?

Drivetrain

History has shown that Brabus is not averse to developing insane engine upgrades for Mercedes models. The Rocket series is proof of that. But more often than not, the German tuner actually leans towards subtle yet effective modifications. This program falls in that category and that’s a good thing, at least in my opinion. The kit revolves around the tuner’s PowerXtra B30-410 tuning module, which provides software upgrades to the AMG GLE 43’s 3.0-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine. The result is a new output of 404 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, an increase of about 42 ponies and 37 pound-feet of twist over the coupe SUV’s standard output of 362 horses and 384 pound-feet of torque. The increase in power isn’t significant but it’s still noticeable, which is something that Brabus was keen on doing. In the end, the German tuner was able to shave off 0.3 seconds off of the AMG GLE 43’s 0-to-62 mph sprint time, dropping it to just 5.7 seconds to go with an unchanged top speed of 155 mph.

2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 By Brabus High Resolution Exterior
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The result is a new output of 404 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, an increase of about 42 ponies and 37 pound-feet of twist

Somewhat surprisingly, TopCar’s engine upgrade for the coupe SUV isn’t all that different in terms of the power gains that the Russian tuner achieved. Specifics behind the process weren’t disclosed publicly, but the Russian tuner says that the AMG GLE 43 is getting a power increase of 87 horsepower and 91 pound-feet of torque, bringing the total output up to 449 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. It’s a higher increase than what Brabus is offering, and when you combine that with the garish cosmetic and aero upgrades, the Topcar kit makes for a very different alternative to the Brabus program.

Tuner Power Torque 0 to 60 mph Top speed
Brabus 404 horsepower 420 pound-feet of torque 5.7 seconds 155 mph
TopCar 449 horsepower 475 pound-feet of torque low five seconds* (estimate) 155 mph (estimate)

*0 to 62 mph

Prices

Brabus has priced the whole program, including the donor car at €120,203, which is about $130,500 based on current exchange rates. TopCar doesn’t have a full price for its program for the AMG GLE 43, but a visit on its website reveals that the all-encompassing aerodynamic kit costs €17,080, or around $18,600 while the carbon fiber version of the same aero kit is priced at €20,250, or about $22,000.

Competition

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 by Wheelsandmore

2015 Mercedes GLE 63 AMG by Wheelsandmore
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Most of the programs available for the Mercedes-AMG GLE were created for the GLE 63 so we’ll do something different and talk about those instead. Both the AMG GLE 43 and the AMG GLE 63 belong to the same family anyway. This particular program from Wheelsandmore is not only one of the most impressive tuning kits made for the performance version of the GLE, it’s also one of the earliest after being introduced back in 2015. The defining feature of this program was the engine upgrade, which the German tuner worked on by adding special turbochargers, downpipes with sport catalysts, special F1 air filters, and a valve-flap controlled sport exhaust system. With the pieces in place, Wheelsandmore put a bow on the engine tune with a dyno optimized ECU remap, bringing the output of the coupe SUV’s 5.5-liter biturbo V-8 to a staggering 800 horsepower and 848 pound-feet of torque.

Read more about the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 by Wheelsandmore here.

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 by Mansory

2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 By Mansory
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Back at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, Mansory also presented its own program for the high-performance coupe SUV and while it also came with a series of enhancements to the AMG GLE 43, none was more important than the new ECU management system and sports air filter that the tuner gave to the SUV’s V-8 engine. Together, the modifications helped the engine increase its output to 840 horses and 849 pound-feet of torque, tipping Wheelsandmore’s program by a few strands of hair.

Find out more about the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 by Mansory here.

Conclusion

2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 By Brabus High Resolution Exterior
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Forget about what tuners have done for the AMG GLE 63 because that’s really a different model altogether. This Brabus program for the AMG GLE 43 may not be as impressive in terms of appeal and numbers, but it does show how effective a subtle program can be on the right car. Sometimes, less is more and this program is proof of that. I’m not a big fan of the price, but that’s what prospective customers will have to pay for the Brabus name.

  • Leave it
    • * Not for those who want a more bombastic aftermarket program
    • * Not much work on the exterior and interior
    • * Expensive
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