2024 Mercedes AMG GLE 53 Coupe Review: ‘The Last Dinosaur’

Everything about the new Mercedes AMG GLE 53 Coupe is thrilling and modern, except the drivetrain. It’s powerful, but pre-obsolete.

red Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé driving on the road
The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé. Mercedes-Benz AG

Even though the era of the electric car is upon us and some manufacturers are saying they will fully electrify their fleets as soon as 2027, car companies are still making big, powerful, super-wasteful luxury gas guzzlers, almost out of nostalgia for decades past. Some of these cars are really fancy and fun to drive—like dinosaurs who don’t know that the comet is coming, they roar around our highways, completely unaware of their coming obsolescence. 

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Even so, I had a fun week recently in one of these cars, the 2024 Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 53 Coupe. It kind of looks like a giant egg balanced on an oversized grille—but it doesn’t drive like one. The regular Mercedes variant of the GLE leaves me asking “why?” on all accounts, but the AMG answers any of those questions. 

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back of red mercedes driving on road surrounded by trees.
A dinosaur…but a nice one. Mercedes-Benz AG

This car weighs two and a half tons, is more than 195 inches long and about five and half feet high, and just chews up space. It also generates 429 horsepower and more than 400 pound-feet of torque, and can tow up to 7,700 pounds. It is a beast on the road, powerful and precise, and throws up a middle finger at electric-era fuel standards, getting 18 MPG city and 22 highway.  Those are 1995 numbers, but this car doesn’t care. It’s the last dinosaur, and it costs nearly $90,000.

While I enjoyed driving the car on the wide-open, cleanly-paved toll roads of Central Texas, I also actually enjoyed just sitting in the car. It was a cocoon, a leather womb, an amazing upper-middle-class man cave of a cabin. It was hot as hell the whole week I was driving the car, as it always is here, and not only did the contoured leather seats have a massage function, they also blew cold air at full blast up my shorts’ legs. It felt like the car was granting me some kind of lordly privilege. 

The interior front seat of the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé
The interior front seat of the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupé. Mercedes-Benz AG

There were so many things about the cabin that worked. I loved the LED stripe around the doorframe that transitioned among a variety of soothing colors after sundown; it was very prom night. My wife thought the wood trim looked “phony,” but it was so smooth to the touch and pleasant to look at. The sound system banged and the shipboard computer periodically gave me useful reminders like “don’t forget your key,” and “please put the car in park.” For the first time, I had a car tell me, “your phone is still in the port.” Of course, there were other, less useful distractions, like the fact that an alert came up every time an AC/DC song appeared on any XM satellite channel. Either someone who had driven the car previously really liked AC/DC, or maybe the AC/DC band estate had some sort of residual deal with Mercedes. 

But to me, the best thing about this car is the headlights. Mercedes has TV ads extolling their current headlight regime, including one where the headlights X-ray a cow in a crosswalk. I don’t know about that, but I do know there are a lot of deer in my neighborhood, and when I was driving back from the cardroom at 2:30 in the morning, I could see them a half-mile up the road. The headlights dipped and raised and curved with the road, like beacon spotlights in a dystopian tech thriller. I want headlights that good in all vehicles.  In the ordinary decade-old used cars that I regularly drive, the headlight vision is like peeping through a keyhole. With these AMG headlights, I could see through five dimensions of time and space. 

It’s exciting and modern in some ways, but not so much in others. Mercedes-Benz AG

Everything about this car is thrilling and modern, except the drivetrain. They do make this one available in an electric variant, but because this is Texas, they think we’re not interested. They are wrong.

The car I drove last week is powerful, but pre-obsolete. Like the ghosts in The Sixth Sense, it wanders the Earth—but it doesn’t know that it’s already dead. 

2024 Mercedes AMG GLE 53 Coupe Review: ‘The Last Dinosaur’