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The Mercedes AMG GLE 53 is that polished guy with an undertone of an intimidating gangster. And boy, he can turn into an angry street fighter

Words Sudhakar Jha
Photography Kunal Khadse

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A day with the new Mercedes AMG GLE 53 was all that I needed to spoil myself and skip office for an early morning drive through the ghats of Pune. That’s one good thing about Pune, you could get out of the city in jiffy and feel the nature in all its glory. And when you have the three-pointed star car with you, the mornings become even brighter and colourful! 

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Talking about the car, the second generation version, replacing the AMG 43, which was highly successful in India, this one takes everything good from its predecessor and pushes it a notch or two higher to make it a monster. Starting with the size, the new GLE 53 Coupe now measures 39 mm longer and 7 mm wider than its predecessor. The wheelbase too has been stretched by 20 mm. The bulging panamericana grille, with a plate-sized Merc badge turns heads, with twin DRLs, and with the roofline blending with the tailgate, it all comes together to make it a seamless GLE in all its glory. 

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Inside the car, first thing you notice is that the aggression has now turned into sophistication. You dare not miss the 12.3 inch dual touch screen for infotainment and instrument cluster that runs on MBUX assistant, the first in India. There is plenty of other kit bundled in too, like the head-up display, four-zone climate control, heated and ventilated front seats, lumbar support, wireless phone charger, a 13-speaker Burmester sound system, ambient lighting with 64 colours, connected-car tech with remote engine start, panoramic sunroof and a powered tailgate. Apart from these, right below the 4-segment AC vents, a signature now in Merc variants, the panel of toggle buttons on the centre console make it the brethren of GLE SUVs.    

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Do not miss the 12.3 inch dual touch screen for infotainment and instrument cluster that runs on MBUX assistant, the first in India

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Enough about the interiors, it’s time to look at the exteriors now! I would jump to the drive and to tell you the absolute truth, that’s where all the fun is. Get inside, push the start button and the 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder twin-turbo petrol motor comes to life, without even little drama. The cabin has been so well padded that it is difficult to tell when the engine is idling and when it is off. However, tap the throttle and you will know that all the 435 horses under the hood are raring to go. And if you want to hear that infamous growl, toggle it to the Sports+ mode and just let your ears feel the rhythm. 

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The silky smooth engine is very quick to respond to the throttle and muscularly passes anyone and everyone on the road. And what helps is the 9-speed Speedshift TCT gearbox that exploits everything that the motor has on offer. The GLE 53 also features Active Ride Control. And it does an amazing job at keep the car flat in corners and absorbing the regular bumps. But what takes away a little bit of fun is the large bumps and a longer patch of bad road gets to it, which cause some unsettling movements inside the cabin. 

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If you want to hear that infamous growl, toggle it to the Sports+ mode and just let your ears feel the rhythm. The silky smooth engine is very quick to respond to the throttle

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As far as I’m concerned, if you are looking to plunge into the AMG GLE pool, this is a good car to begin your journey. Priced at Rs 1.2 crore ex-showroom, it’s more affordable than its direct competitors, Audi Q8 (at Rs 1.33 crore) and Porsche Cayenne Turbo (Rs 1.31 crore) with similar specs. What will make you consider it is that the GLE 53 is a great all-rounder that comes with the entire tech, and also delivers on road with great stability and performance!