With the new Performance models based on the GLE, Mercedes-AMG is continuing a precisely 20 year-old tradition: in 1999 the ML55 as the progenitor based on the then M-Class was the top model in the range with its 255 kW (347 hp) V8 engine. The same applies to its current successor in the guise of the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 4MATIC+. The top-of-the-line performer of the model series is naturally taking to the starting line with state-of-the-art engine technology: the AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine generating 420 kW (571 hp) in the GLE model series and 450 kW (612 hp) in the S version is combined for the first time with the EQ Boost starter-alternator. This is accompanied by an additional electric output of 16 kW (22 hp), a 48-volt on-board electrical system, cylinder shut-off and petrol particulate filter for optimum efficiency. Furthermore, the fully variable all-wheel drive, the air suspension with adaptive damping adjustment and active roll stabilisation and the extremely fast-shifting TCT 9G transmission further move the limits of vehicle dynamics upwards. On top of this there are the advantages of a luxury SUV: good all-round visibility, plenty of space for passengers and luggage, high-quality materials and the brand’s very latest driving assistance, infotainment and connectivity functions. Even more versatility is provided by the improved off-road capabilities with the two additional drive programs “Trail” and “Sand”, as well as the variable vehicle level. This is where extreme sportiness, first-class off-road characteristics and absolute day-to-day suitability come together.
“With our new GLE Performance models we are transforming a 20-year tradition into the future. For the first time we are electrifying our well-proven 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine with an EQ Boost starter-alternator and a 48-volt on-board electrical system. As such we are embarking on another new chapter of our drive technology, which we are also successively extending further to other model series as we move towards electrification and hybridisation. With our new premium SUVs, our customers can look forward to an unrivalled package of Driving Performance, high day-to-day suitability, optimum traction on practically all surfaces and also comfort on long journeys with high levels of efficiency,” says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
With the EQ Boost starter-alternator for the first time: the AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine
The 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine in the new GLE63 is fitted for the first time in both output variants (420 kW/571 hp and 450 kW/612 hp) with an integrated EQ Boost starter-alternator. It combines a starter motor and an alternator in a single, powerful electric motor and is integrated between the engine and the transmission to save space. The additional 16 kW (22 hp) of output plus 250 Nm of torque which can be called upon temporarily, does not only enable more spontaneous moving-off characteristics. This is because moreover, this innovative component supplies the 48-volt on-board electrical system, is used as a power generator and also performs hybrid functions. These include boost, recuperate, load point shift, gliding and the virtually imperceptible restarting of the engine with the start/stop function. For the first time, the EQ Boost starter-alternator is also responsible for idle speed control. This allows fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.
The AMG 4.0-litre V8 engine works with the well-proven twin turbocharging, where the two exhaust-gas turbochargers are arranged not on the exterior, but between the cylinder banks. The advantages of the “hot inside V” are the compact engine design and the immediate response of the exhaust-gas turbochargers. These are implemented using twin-scroll technology to make optimum use of the exhaust gas flow and improve the response even further.
Spray-guided direct petrol injection with piezo injectors, the all-aluminium crankcase, the four-valve-per-cylinder design with camshaft adjustment, air-water charge air cooling, alternator management, the ECO start/stop function and the gliding mode have all been retained.
Improved efficiency: the intelligent AMG Cylinder Management
For increased efficiency, Mercedes-AMG has also equipped the V8 engines with cylinder shut-off. In the partial-load range, cylinders two, three, five and eight are deactivated, which crucially reduces the fuel consumption. When the driver has selected the “Comfort” drive program, the cylinder deactivation system is available in the wide engine speed range from 1000 to 3250 rpm. A special display in the instrument cluster indicates whether the cylinder deactivation system is in use and whether the engine is presently operating in four or eight-cylinder mode. The transition between these two operating states is immediate, fast and torque-neutral, so the passengers do not have to relinquish any comfort.
In the most powerful AMG GT S variant, the eight-cylinder has active engine mounts. They resolve the conflicting aims of achieving as soft a connection as possible to the powertrain for high comfort, and as rigid a connection as possible for optimum driving dynamics, by steplessly and quickly adapting their rigidity to the respective driving conditions.
For heightened sportiness: air suspension with continuously adjustable damping
The standard AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension and the adaptively adjustable ADS+ (Adaptive Damping System) configured for the characteristics of an SUV combine outstanding agility and excellent vehicle dynamics with maximum traction and superb day-to-day comfort. The damping characteristics can be preselected in three stages – “Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport+”, allowing a much more obvious distinction between high long-distance comfort and sporty vehicle dynamics.
Thanks to pneumatic self-levelling, the new GLE63 4MATIC+ 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 centre console. The vehicle level is generally lowered by 10 mm in the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs “Sport”, “Sport+” and “RACE” (S variant only). In the “Comfort” driving mode, the vehicle is lowered by 10 mm from a speed of 120 km/h, and raised back to normal level when the speed falls below 70 km/h. This reduces aerodynamic drag and therefore fuel consumption. In addition, handling stability is improved thanks to a lower centre of gravity.
In the drive programs “Trail” and “Sand”, the suspension is raised by 55 mm to increase ground clearance on poor surfaces, and automatically lowered to normal level when the speed reaches 70 km/h. This function can also be controlled using the rocker switch.
Agile and precise: AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL roll stabilisation
The AMG-specific configuration for high vehicle dynamics is greatly assisted by the active roll stabilisation system ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL on a 48-volt basis. This precisely compensates for body movements. This ensures that even in sporty situations near the limits, the handling remains precisely controllable and extremely direct. The system uses two independently operating, electromechanical actuators at the front and rear axles, each with an integrated planetary gear. This means that the stabilisation system not only reduces body roll when cornering, but also allows more precise tuning of the cornering and load cycle properties. In addition, it increases ride comfort when driving in a straight line because stimuli by one-sided road bumps are balanced out, for example. Body movements can be actively and optimally adapted to the driving status, which intensifies the driving experience.
Another benefit compared with the usual hydraulic-based systems is the significantly faster response. The AMG control system can adapt the driving status to the conditions within milliseconds. There is also the low weight of the components compared with the usual solutions.
AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive with fully variable torque distribution
The performance-oriented all-wheel drive system continuously ensures the best possible ratio of dynamism, traction and efficiency. 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. The influencing factors for torque distribution are not only the driving speed, the lateral and longitudinal acceleration and the steering angle, but also the difference in rotational speed between the individual wheels and the gear selected.
The all-wheel drive is controlled depending on the selected stage of the 3-stage Electronic Stability Program ESP® – from sporty with a focus on safety to highly dynamic. The 4ETS dynamic handling control system further enhances handling safety and agility, in particular on slippery surfaces or on surfaces with different friction coefficients. It uses brake interventions to keep individual driven wheels from spinning when starting off or accelerating. At the same time the differential locking effect enables the drive torque to be shifted to the wheels that are not spinning.
More traction and dynamism: the locking differential
To further improve traction and dynamism, the GLE63 and GLE63 S have an electronically controlled locking differential at the rear axle as standard. The slip is thus suppressed at the inner wheel on bends, ensuring optimum grip and maximum handling safety. The driver is therefore able to accelerate out of corners earlier and with more power thanks to the improved traction. The vehicle remains more stable when braking from high speed, while the limited-slip differential also improves traction when accelerating from a standstill.
Direct and immediate: AMG speed-sensitive sports steering
The electromechanical speed-sensitive power steering has a variable ratio. It impresses with its precise feedback thanks to the AMG-specific rack-and-pinion steering with a variable ratio. The steering assistance is assigned to the various stages of the AMG DYNAMICS system. The configuration in “Basic” and “Advanced” is comfort-oriented. In “Pro” and “Master”, a configuration is programmed that supports a sporty driving style and ensures more road feedback.