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images courtesy Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes sometimes has loads of initial after its name indicating details about the model. Without going into too much detail lets reveal some of the important clues on our test vehicle. GLE is an SUV model, which comes in various configurations, with the biggest and fastest being the 63. This luxury crossover comes in two body styles: the normal rectangular shaped roofline and the “C” revision, which stands for coupe. But this coupe is still a four door, but with a steep, rounded, smooth, and sloping rear roofline with the classic liftgate. But the real excitement comes from the AMG tag. In a word, AMG is the performance division for Mercedes with special engine designers and builders. On this model, the powerplant produces a very stout 577 horsepower from a twin turbocharged 5.5 liter V-8. All-wheel drive is part of the powertrain with a seven-speed automatic transmission handling the gear changes. With this combination, the 0-60 time is a very swift 4.1 seconds.

Even with the coupe SUV roofline, there is still no mistaking the overall Mercedes look. The grille has the classic circle with the Mercedes star in the center of the long and somewhat narrow grille outline. Massive 22-inch alloy wheels clearly reinforces the performance equation. Likewise the rear taillights have the Benz appearance and shape, and four huge exhaust pipes pop up from under the rear bumper. Overall, the coupe rendition of this crossover presents a good-looking package.

Starting the big V-8 results in a very healthy, deep exhaust note. Once in, there are multiple driving choices. With a spin of a small dial on the center console, the steering feel, suspension setting and shift points are changed to fit your comfort or performance desires. The choices are comfort, snow, sport, sport+ and individual. With the latter, the driver can make his or her own settings among multiple choices. Obviously, sport plus is the rocket racer combination, and when the accelerator is pressed your breath is simply taken away with the rush. The seven-speed automatic can be shifted manually with big paddles behind the steering wheel. In general traffic operations, the engine is nearly silent and the gears change without being felt. A start/ stop system turns off the engine at lights, and generally is not detectable in general operation. With all the choices on the dial, the ride can be as soft or stiff as one would want.

Napa leather with stitching greets all the occupants. The front seats can also provide a massage in different patterns to those occupants. A very sizeable panoramic sunroof spans to the second row of seats. A big 8.3-inch iPad like video sits atop the center of the dash. Besides the stereo and other features, the screen can give the driver a 360 view around the vehicle, and a rear and front view with a push of buttons. When the navigation screen is presented, it is in 3D giving a more dramatic and helpful tool.

The rear quarters provides plenty of room with its leather seating arrangements. The seat backs recline for additional comfort, and are split 60/40 so the seat backs can be easily dropped for increased bulky storage. There is even a small pass thru door to place some undersized items in the rear storage area. The liftgate can be opened multiple ways revealing fairly large storage area. A removable cover hides items from prying eyes.

So after translating all of its initials, the result is a Mercedes providing lots of performance with a good mix of practicality and luxury in an attractive package.

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63C4S

TURBOCHARGED V-8, 577
HORSEPOWER, SEVEN-SPEED AUTO
TRANSMISSION, ALL WHEEL DRIVE.

PERFORMANCE: 0-60: 4.1 SECONDS.
PRICE: (BASE) $111,860, AS TESTED $122,095