Set to arrive in 2018!

Although it received a new name for the 2016 model year, switching from M- to GLE-Class, Mercedes’ current midsize SUV is far from new. Sure, the facelift brought many updates inside and out, but the truth is that the GLE is already six years old as of 2017 and a bit long in the tooth. But this will change soon, as Mercedes-Benz is already testing prototypes of the next-generation model on public roads. The high-performance AMG GLE63 is the latest version to make contact with our paparazzi, on the iconic Nurburgring track.

The new GLE is set to gain numerous and important updates, most coming from the E-Class sedan, on which it is based on. The AMG version will get similar upgrades, including an almost identical drivetrain to the AMG E63 four-door. There will be a big tech update, as well as significant gains in the performance department, due to a lighter curb weight and a more powerful drivetrain. Details are still under wraps as of this writing, but the upcoming GLE63 isn’t much of a mystery since we already know everything about the AMG E63 sedan. Join me in my speculative review to find out more about this high-performance SUV.

Updated 12/06/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Mercedes-AMG GLE62 out for a new testing session, this time around the famous Nurburgring track.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GLE63.

Spy Shots

December 6, 2017 - Mercedes-AMG GLE63 caught testing at Nurburgring

2019 Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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2019 Mercedes-AMG GLE63
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Exterior

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Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Mercedes-AMG GT
Up front, the SUV features a version of Mercedes' new "Panamericana" grille.

A quick glimpse at the camouflaged prototype is enough to conclude that the GLE will retain the overall shape and size of the current model. We can notice the same utilitarian stance mixed with sporty elements front and rear, as well as a number of new-generation styling cues.

Up front, the SUV features a version of Mercedes’ new "Panamericana" grille. First introduced on the AMG GT sports car, it’s wider than the usual Mercedes grille and includes a thick horizontal slat at the center, a big tri-star emblem, and the company’s already familiar diamond grille.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Exterior Spyshots
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The headlamps are new and seem to feature a simpler design.

The headlamps are new and seem to feature a simpler design. While the current model has sweptback lamps that are shaped around the grille at the inner edges, the new headlamps are almost rectangular and don’t extend as much into the fenders at the top. The heavy camo on the bumper prevents us from spotting the changes, but look for large, aggressive looking side vents and a two-tier intake just under the grille.

It doesn’t appear as if the profile view changed too much, but there are a few interesting details to look for. First up, there’s a new character line on the lower doors that goes upward toward the rear wheel arches. The rear door windows have also been revised, while the C-pillar is completely new. Whereas the current pillar is straight and form a 45-degree angle with the beltline, the new element is more rounded and descends smoother onto the rear fenders. It also seems that Mercedes redesigned the quarter windows, but the camouflage is again in the way and its shape remains a mystery.

2019 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Exterior Spyshots
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The rear fascia is almost entirely camouflaged so there isn't much to see.

The rear fascia is almost entirely camouflaged so there isn’t much to see, but I can spot new taillights under the wraps. And what I can tell for sure is that they are slimmer and sportier looking than the current units. The tailgate and the bumper were reshaped as well, but the diffuser we see on most AMG SUVs seems to be missing. That’s not to say that the GLE63 won’t have one though. Most likely this is an early development of the model and certain elements are still missing. The diffuser is one of them, as are the quad-exhaust pipe configuration.

We should get more spy shots this year, so make sure you stick around for updates.

Interior

2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 High Resolution Interior
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Mercedes-AMG E63 interior shown here.

The new SUV should borrow many features from the AMG E63 sedan.

Much like the previous GLE shared many styling cues with the E-Class sedan, the new SUV should borrow many features from the four-door. Granted, the cabin layout won’t be identical, but just like the sedan, the GLE will get a healthy dose of S-Class inside.

Look for a clean dashboard design with round A/C vents at each corner, as well as the four-piece A/C layout just above the center console. On top of that, the SUV will carry a large infotainment display measuring 12.3 inches. In front of the driver we should find a sports, flat-bottom steering in black leather, complimented by electroplated shift paddles, a bezel with the "AMG" logo. Behind the steering wheel, there should be a large, 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster with plenty of configurable features.

The SUV should also feature sporty front seats with improved lateral support and black Nappa leather and Dinamica microfiber upholstery as standard. Options should include Nut Brown Nappa leather or Macchiato Nappa leather. Customers in need of more lateral support will have the option to select the AMG Performance seats with integral head restraints.

2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 High Resolution Interior
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2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 High Resolution Interior
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2017 Merecedes-Amg E63 interior shown here.
The more expensive and powerful GLE63 S will sport additional standard features.

The more expensive and powerful GLE63 S will sport additional standard features such as Nappa leather on the dashboard and belt lines, sport steering wheel with a 12 o’clock marking and contrast topstitching, and an AMG crest in the front head restraints. Aluminum trim should be standard in both versions, but carbon-fiber inserts or glass-fiber elements in matte silver will also be offered.

The big question here is whether the GLE63 will get the AMG Track Pace app that comes with the AMG E63 sedan. This app enables drivers to analyze and improve their track driving style as well as share their performance with other AMG drivers via Facebook, YouTube and other platforms. Granted, you won’t take an SUV to the track too often, but it wouldn’t hurt to have it ready for that special weekend at the Nurburgring.

Drivetrain

2019 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Exterior Spyshots
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The SUV will get the newer 4.0-liter V-8 that already motivates most AMG cars and crossovers.

The current GLE63 is powered by the familiar twin-turbo, 5.5-liter V-8 engine, but you’d better forget about it for the new model. Instead, the SUV will get the newer 4.0-liter V-8 that already motivates most AMG cars and crossovers.

Output is likely to be identical to the sedan, so look for the GLE63 to arrive with 563 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, which accounts for a 13-horsepower and 47-pound-feet increase over the outgoing model. It might not sound like much, but combined with the lighter architecture, it should lead to significant improvements performance-wise. Look for the 0-to-60 mph sprint to drop from 4.3 to around 41 seconds. Top speed should remain locked at 155 mph though.

2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 High Resolution Drivetrain
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Engine from 2017 Mercedes-Amg E63 S shown here.
Like the E63 S variant, it should come with 603 horses and a whopping 627 pound-feet of twist.

Moving over to the E63 S variant, it should come with 603 horses and a whopping 627 pound-feet of twist, a 26-horsepower and 66-pound-feet increase over the current version. Sprinting from 0 to 60 mph should take around four seconds, versus 4.2 in the old model. Top speed should also remain limited at 155 mph, but this model will have limiter delete option that should increase it to around 177 mph.

The new GLE63 won’t be just about horsepower and torque. The SUV will also have cylinder deactivation, with cylinders two, three, five, and eight deactivated in the partial-load range. This will lower fuel consumption in the "Comfort" transmission drive program.

Both the base and S models will use the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system with a fully variable torque distribution on the front and rear axles for optimum traction. An AMG SPEEDSHIFT nine-speed sport transmission specially tuned for the new SUV will route all that power to the wheels. However, don’t expect the SUV to feature the sedan’s Drift Mode.

Prices

Pricing information is obviously not yet available, but it’s safe to assume that the upcoming GLE63 will a tad more expensive than the outgoing model. With the current SUV priced from $102,550, the next-generation GLE63 should retail from around $108,000. Pricing for the GLE63 S model should increase from $109,700 to around $118,000.

Competition

BMW X5 M

2015 BMW X5 M High Resolution Exterior
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The GLE63’s traditional competitor in this niche, the X5 M is one hot SUV. Although it’s scheduled to get a big update in 2018, the current X5 M is no slouch. Powered by a twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 rated at 567 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, the hauler needs only four seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start, making it almost as quick as the M4. With the next-gen model, rumored to have at least 600 horsepower, the X5 M should be faster than that, which will also make it quicker than the Mercedes-AMG. Already a menacing vehicle to look at, the upcoming X5 M should be at least as aggressive styling-wise. The cabin should be packed with the latest tech, and if other Bimmers are any indication, the X5 M should be at least on par with the GLE63. Pricing for the current X5 M starts from $100,700, but the sticker should jump to nearly $110,000 with the next-generation model.

Read our review of the BMW X5 M.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo

2016 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Cayenne Turbo is another SUV you need to consider if you’re in the market for a high-performance hauler. Updated most recently for the 2015 model year, the Cayenne is equally impressive in Turbo guise. Powered by a twin-turbo, 4.8-liter V-8, the "base" model comes with 520 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque, which enables it to reach 60 mph in a scant 4.2 seconds. As you can see, it’s the least powerful in this group, but it’s just as quick. Opt for the Turbo S model and the V-8’s output jumps to 570 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. Again, not as much as the upcoming GLE63 S, but the Turbo S is definitely the quickest with a 0-to-60 mph sprint of only 3.8 seconds. What’s more, the 2018 update should bring more oomph and quicker 0-to-60 sprints. Hard to beat on the performance front, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo comes with one downside: it’s significantly more expensive. While the Turbo retails from $118,100, the Turbo S fetches $161,600 before options.

Read our review of the Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

Conclusion

2019 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Exterior Spyshots
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Just like the new E-Class, the upcoming GLE should feature significant improvements in all department. With revised looks, new tech, and even a semi-autonomous function, the GLE will be on par with the redesigned BMW X5. The same should be available for the AMG GLE63, which will boast revised aerodynamics and a brand-new engine with the best performance available on the market. Okay, so maybe it won’t be as quick as the Cayenne Turbo S, but it will definitely have the most horsepower and torque.

  • Leave it
    • * Not as quick as the Cayenne Turbo S
    • * Tough competition from BMW
    • *

References

Mercedes-Benz GLE

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full speculative review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE.

2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the current, 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE63.

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