2021 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe 603-HP | Video

What the redesigned 603-hp GLE63 S lacks in cornering prowess it makes up for with cosseting refinement and thundering acceleration.

Mercedes practically invented the factory-built high-performance luxury SUV in 1999 when it stuffed a 5.4-liter V-8 into its ML-class ute and christened the ML55 AMG. That vehicle’s stats and figures—342 horsepower, 376 pound-feet of torque, 60 mph in the mid-sixes—seem quaint two decades later. But at the time, the company was able to call it the fastest ute in the world. With more than half of Mercedes-AMG’s sales today being utility vehicles, it makes sense for the performance sub-brand to keep pushing its SUV bar ever higher. The redesigned 2021 GLE63 S is among the latest to faithfully adhere to that mega-horsepower tradition.

HIGHS: Stonking acceleration from the twin-turbo V-8, smoothest stop-start system around, impressive ride and handling balance.

Swallowing up to 18.9 psi of boost, the GLE63 S’s twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 produces 603 horsepower at 6500 rpm, 627 pound-feet at 2500 rpm, and the deep, snarling roar that we expect from a hand-assembled AMG V-8. That’s 26 more horses and 66 more pound-feet than the previous version’s twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8. The GLE63’s 4.0-liter is also the first AMG V-8 to get Benz’s 48-volt EQ Boost hybrid system that mounts a motor-generator between the engine and the standard nine-speed automatic transmission.