Test Drive Notes Library
- What’s not to like? OK, the price. But if your pool boy just brought you your iPad so you could read this review, and money is not an issue, this is a vehicle on which engineers have spared no expense. And the result is, OK, overkill. But there’s really nothing the GLE63 doesn’t do well.
- Power. How does 603 horsepower sound? That’s what we thought, too. Way more than enough. But it’s also available instantly at all speeds. So when that pesky brat in his Audi A7 needs to be passed in a humiliating way, just command thy foot and it shall be done, my lord. Like we said, the 4-liter twin-turbo V8 is overkill. You’ll never need 603 horsepower on our current planet, and, unless you visit very remote parts of the country, will never even be able to make use of it for more than a few seconds. But if you’re the kind of person who likes to carry around much more firepower than you need, this has it.
- Handling. If all you wanted was excess power, you could become a corrupt small town mayor. Or buy a purple Dodge Charger Hellcat. But if you want good grip and handling, too, you need some good engineering. And some money. The GLE63 starts out with a very good suspension system, and then adds to it a bunch of electronic goodies that further protect you from the horrors of body roll that the hoi polloi face when going around curves. Dynamic engine mounts (yes, even the engine mounts adjust during harder driving) and active ride control keep the car well under control even during aggressive driving. Roadholding is impressive for a big, heavy beast.
- Comfort. Really well-engineered cars give you both performance and comfort. And despite its road-swallowing abilities, it’s downright cushy in the GLE63. The interior is top notch. Materials are excellent. Seats are superb. They’re also heated, cooled, and massaging. Two almost-connected wide screens make up the instrument cluster and the infotainment screen. They’re beautifully crafted. It’s quiet, refined, and plush inside.
- Practical. Despite all the crazy performance, it’s a four-door SUV. There’s plenty of room for passengers, front and rear, and space for cargo out back. It has adjustable height for off-roading, where you’ll never, ever take it. This is not a totally impractical, mid-life crisis Ferrari. This is a have your cake and let them eat cake, too, proposition.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Price. As tested, the GLE63 we drove stickers at just a suite-at-the-Four-Seasons over $130,000. And don’t forget the fuel cost. We topped out at about 19 mpg on the highway when driving gently. But if you’re in a tax bracket where you say “that’s not bad!," please make a large donation to your local NPR station, and then bop down to your Mercedes dealer and have a look, because there’s really very little not to like about this vehicle. Think of it like getting a Porsche Carrera that’s a lot easier to get in and out of.
- Controls. Mercedes believes that if you spend a lot for a luxury car, you should get a lot of technology. Perhaps more than you can understand. There’s a steep learning curve on the GLE63. Some controls are pretty deep inside screen menus. Others just take some “what’s this do?” trial and error. Or “how did I do that, and how do I undo it?” The touch pad between the seats and mini thumb pads on the steering wheel make you take your eyes off the road too much. On the plus side, your passengers will be impressed by all the stuff they don’t understand.
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