Sunday Drive by Hormazd Sorabjee: The sporty and splendid Mercedes-AMG 53 GLE Coupé – brunch columns

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This month I’ve been hitting the highway with a vengeance with what I wish to name a sequence of ‘Unlock Drives.’ It stems from a determined want to interrupt out from the WFH (and a little bit of workplace) routine and there’s nothing as liberating as a highway journey to clear your thoughts. I kicked off my first lengthy drive with a touch to Mahabaleshwar over the lengthy (Gandhi Jayanti) weekend within the model new Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 coupé. This SUV coupé (sure, one other one) appeared the right selection with its mixture of energy (to cost up the ghat) and good floor clearance (to deal with pothole infested roads destroyed by the monsoons) for this 540km spherical journey.

The deepest growl

The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupé is a direct rival to the Porsche Cayenne Coupé (which I lately reviewed) and, to some extent, the lower-powered BMW X6 and the Audi Q8. Speaking of energy, the GLE 53 will get considerably greater than the GLE 43 it replaces, because of a brand-new 3.Zero litre, straight-six cylinder turbo petrol coupled to a light hybrid system, which boosts energy to 435hp. The electrical drive on this AMG mild-hybrid powertrain not solely bumps up energy however, together with a nine-speed auto transmission, makes this massive SUV fairly responsive. As compared, the earlier GLE43 used the older seven-speed auto and developed solely 385hp.

The brand new firepower beneath the GLE 53 Coupé’s muscular hood interprets to a formidable 0-100kph time of 5.Three seconds however how does it really feel in the actual world?

The steering is meaty and the brakes strong, and the cabin is well-insulated

The steering is meaty and the brakes sturdy, and the cabin is well-insulated

Push the beginning button and the turbo petrol involves life with little or no drama. The cabin is so well-insulated and the start-stop so seamless that it’s tough to inform when the engine is idling and when it’s off. This adjustments the second you faucet the throttle and 435 horses beneath the hood make their presence felt with a correct AMG growl.

Pothole energy

For a automobile that weighs 2.2 tons, the GLE 53 feels remarkably sprightly off the road because of the mixed pulling energy of the engine and electrical motor. On the Pune-Bengaluru freeway, earlier than the flip off to Mahabaleshwar, the GLE 53 got here into its personal, making gentle work of slowing shifting site visitors and even lighter work of the potholed and bumpy diversions that circumvent the numerous practically accomplished bridges on this arterial freeway.

The air suspension provides a distinctly higher experience than the older GLE 43, particularly at low speeds

The air suspension provides a distinctly higher experience than the older GLE 43, particularly at low speeds. Within the excessive Sport + mode although, the suspension stiffens up and sharp edges and damaged roads may be felt within the cabin. It’s finest to go away the sportier modes to completely paved roads. Additionally, the fats tyres throw up a good bit of noise at excessive speeds, in any other case the refinement is fairly spectacular for a high-performance SUV.

Life’s a sport

In truth, it’s the sporty character that marks the GLE 53 Coupé out. Although it doesn’t really feel as agile because the Porsche Cayenne Coupé, that is nonetheless a really partaking automobile that you’ll get pleasure from hustling on a twisty highway. Powering up the twisty and slim 10km Wai Ghat, the GLE 53 was a hoot to drive with its enormous reserves of grip, meaty steering and robust brakes.

The all-black GLE 53 seems the half with all of the AMG design components, just like the ‘Panamericana’ grille, energy bulges on the bonnet, sporty bumpers and 4 exhaust pipes. The cabin dashboard is just like the usual however will get just a few sporty touches. As on probably the most new Mercs, the GLE 53 additionally will get the feature-packed twin 12.3-inch infotainment screens and instrument cluster operating Mercedes’s newest MBUX software program.

Loaded with tech, luxuriously appointed, and enjoyable to drive, the GLE 53 is one engaging bundle, which at Rs 1.20 crore is extra inexpensive than its rivals. Positively one to maintain in your shortlist if in case you have this type of price range for a sporty SUV coupe.

The views expressed by the columnist are private

From HT Brunch, October 18, 2020

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