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2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S piles on the punch with 603 hp

Like other hi-po AMGs, it packs a mild-hybrid system with some additional oomph.

Mercedes-AMG's Panamericana grille is now on just about every AMG available.
Mike Cutler/MHCPhotography/Roadshow

If it's a non-compact Mercedes-Benz vehicle, odds are that the automaker will eventually trot out a V8-powered AMG 63 variant. Now that the OEM is fleshing out its GLE-Class lineup, it's time to shoehorn some monster horsepower into the thing.

Say hello to the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S, the latest AMG addition at the 2019 LA Auto Show. The most important part of this car is under the hood, which hides a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 that makes 603 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. Supplementing that (as if it's at all necessary) is a 48-volt EQ Boost mild hybrid system that throws another 21 hp and 184 lb-ft into the mix.

As you might expect, the GLS63 S will positively hustle. Sending power to all four wheels through a nine-speed automatic transmission, the car will make its way to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds before topping out at an electronically limited 174 mph. That puts it right up against the BMW X5 M Competition, which is some solid company.

The GLE63 S' interior isn't too wild, which is good, because not everybody wants wild colors all over the darn place.

Mike Cutler/MHCPhotography/Roadshow

Of course, the GLE63 S is more than just the engine alone. The V8 can deactivate some of its cylinders to boost efficiency when necessary, and its active engine mounts can keep the body comfortable until the going gets spirited. Standard air suspension can stiffen up to improve performance, lowering at higher speeds for better stability. It can also raise up for the occasional off-road adventure. The steering system is speed-sensitive, ramping up the weight alongside a rising speedometer. When it comes time to slow down, 16-inch front rotors should do the job.

It wouldn't be an AMG without some aesthetic upgrades, either. Differentiating the GLE63 S from its pedestrian siblings is an AMG-specific grille, an angrier front bumper with big ol' air intakes, more aggressive fenders and a new rear bumper with a prominent-enough diffuser. Like every other AMG 63, this one also contains a honkin' set of quad tailpipes. The interior ramps up the fancy with Nappa-leather-covered sports seats and other unique bits scattered about, including additional switches on the control panel for things like the active exhaust and suspension.

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S arrives at dealers in the middle of 2020, and pricing will be released closer to that time.