For the generation that grew up being ferried around by parents in the former Mercedes-Benz ML-Class, that most iconic of upscale European SUVs, the prospect of blinding power and performance in its modern mid-sized package may seem a little curious—or very appealing.
Such is the duality at work in the 2024 AMG GLE 63 S SUV, Mercedes’ ultra-high-output version of the ever-expanding GLE family. It’s a fire-breathing, 603-horsepower machine that will do 0–60 in 3.7 seconds and still be comfortable enough to take the family to dinner. Or very speedily deliver you to the ski hills in winter, as its sporty 4Matic+ system keeps you very firmly planted in twisty corners, in all weather. That mild-hybrid-assisted, 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 and some 627 pound-feet of torque will help you nearly forget the GLE 63 S’s 5,500 pounds of mass and serve as a triumphant reminder of internal-combustion glory.
While there are now nearly a dozen variants of GLE in both SUV and coupe body styles, the 63 S tops the food chain with 21-inch wheels, a double- wide digital instrument/infotainment screen, and an oversized head-up display. Its new-fangled enhanced reality map views and cologne dispenser are great, but you’re really here for the throaty exhaust note, so take hold of those oversized grab handles on the console. And unlike its even higher output BMW competitors, it’s still imminently comfortable, with a leathery, multicolor lit-up interior.
603 horsepower from hand-built V8 biturbo engine
74.9 cubic feet of cargo space
$125,000 estimated price