As BMW has a long tradition with the already established X5, so is Mercedes-Benz with the M-Class. Known as ML until a few years ago, the GLE has a new generation and, starting this week, a new performance version.

The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S comes to the starting line with new engine technology: the AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine generates 603 hp in the GLE 63 S and is paired for the first time with an EQ Boost starter-generator. This system provides an additional electric output of up to 21 hp, powers the 48-volt on-board electrical system and helps optimize efficiency. Fully variable all-wheel drive, air suspension with adaptive damping and active roll stabilization along with an extremely fast-shifting TCT 9G transmission, further enhance this top-performer’s dynamics.

On top of these performance enhancements, all the advantages of a luxury SUV also shine through: ample visibility and road presence, plenty of space for passengers and luggage, high- quality materials and the brand’s very latest driving assistance, infotainment and connectivity features. Even more versatility is provided thanks to improved off-road capabilities with the two additional drive programs of “Trail” and “Sand”, as well as a variable vehicle level. The new GLE 63 S is where high on- road performance, first-class off-road characteristics and remarkable day-to-day usability meet.

For increased efficiency, Mercedes-AMG has also equipped the V8 engine with cylinder shut-off. In the partial-load range, cylinders two, three, five and eight are deactivated, which reduces the fuel consumption. When the driver has selected the “Comfort” drive program, the cylinder deactivation system is available in a wide range from 1,000 to 3,250 rpm. A special display in the instrument cluster indicates whether the cylinder deactivation system is in use and whether the engine is presently operating with four or eight-cylinders. The shift between these two operating states is immediate, fast and torque-neutral, so the transition is not noticeable.

The new GLE 63 S also features innovative active engine mounts. These active mounts can achieve as soft a connection as possible to the powertrain for high comfort, and as rigid a connection as possible for optimized driving dynamics.

The standard AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension and the adaptively adjustable ADS+ (Adaptive Damping System) combine great agility with maximum traction and high everyday comfort. The damping characteristics can be preselected in three stages – “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport+”, allowing a clear distinction between high long-distance comfort and sporty driving dynamics.

Thanks to pneumatic self-levelling, the new GLE 63 S maintains a constant ride height regardless of the vehicle load. This can be adjusted depending on the driving mode, or manually using a rocker switch in the center console.

An electromechanically controlled clutch connects the permanently driven rear axle variably to the front axle. The best possible torque split is continuously computed according to the driving conditions and driver’s input. The transition from rear-wheel to all- wheel drive and vice versa is seamless, as the intelligent control is integrated into the overall vehicle system architecture. Alongside traction and lateral dynamics, the all-wheel drive also improves the longitudinal dynamics for even more powerful acceleration. Torque distribution is influenced by the driving speed, the lateral and longitudinal acceleration and the steering angle, and also the difference in rotational speed between the individual wheels and the gear selected.