In this series of articles, we are going to examine the faux grilles, air intakes, scoops, inlets, exhausts, skid plates, and decorative elements pretending to be something they are not.
The goal isn’t to take pot shots at automotive designers, as in most cases their “cheats” make the car look more stylish.
Instead, we want to reveal the functional and decorative elements of a car’s bodywork as the latter become more common.
This week we are going to examine the new Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe. But before we move on to the design, let’s see the technical data.
The car is fitted with AMG’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine producing 450kW of power and 850Nm of torque, backed by an EQ Boost mild-hybrid system contributing an additional 16kW and 250Nm.
The engine is mated with a fully-variable all-wheel drive system, and an electronically-controlled locking differential at the rear axle. A nine-speed automatic is the only transmission option.
Also unique to the GLE63 S are uprated brakes, active air suspension, and a choice of drive modes.
So how does the exterior translate all that power? Well, there is a full aerodynamic package making the car look more aggressive than it’s lesser siblings.
The regular Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe is available with sporty AMG Line bumpers and a smattering of go-faster bits, while the Mercedes-AMG GLE53 Coupe takes it a step further with vertical slits on the grille, 22-inch wheels, flared arches, faux inlets on the rear bumper, quad round exhaust tailpipes, and a rear diffuser.
And finally, the range-topping Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe is further differentiated by the additional black lines highlighting the air intakes on the front bumper, which are now functional, as well as the rectangular quad tailpipes.
The car in the pictures is also equipped with the Night Package, which brings tinted windows and a high-gloss black finish on the front splitter, mirror covers, side sills, tailpipes, and rear trim strip.
What is real, and what is fake?
At the front, the Panamericana radiator grille with vertical slits finished in high-gloss chrome, is fully functional despite its size, cooling the powerful twin-turbo V8 engine.
The functional part of the bumper’s lower intakes is considerably wider than the rest of the GLE range, bringing more air to the front brakes, while the central lower intake with a honeycomb structure is also legitimate.
Moving to the back, the inlets on the rear bumper are fake (highlighted in red), as is the case with most high-performance family cars.
The rectangular quad tailpipes with a fluted effect look impressive, but a closer look inside them reveals the real tailpipes which are actually connected to the exhaust system. Highlighted in green, they are two on each side, with a round shape – and they’re much smaller than the outer decorative elements.
Don’t worry, the sound definitely makes up for their size.
This design might be a little misleading, but at least it is more ‘real’ than the rest of the GLE range where we find purely cosmetic chrome elements on the rear bumper that are not physically connected to the real (and conventional) tailpipes.
Inside the cabin, the sporty atmosphere is highlighted by heavily-bolstered leather seats, a three-spoke steering wheel trimmed in leather and microfibre, aluminium shift paddles, carbon fibre trim, AMG-specific switches on the centre console, brushed stainless steel sports pedals, black floor mats, and the configurable ambient lighting.
Additionally, the dual-screen MBUX infotainment system features AMG-specific graphics with gauges showcasing the g-force, horsepower, torque, and oil temperature.
Besides a few plastic trim elements designed to look like they are aluminium, and the large faux climate vents on the right side of the infotainment screen (something evident across the GLE range), there isn’t much to complain about inside the fastest GLE from Affalterbach.
That’s our take on the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe. Let us know your thoughts on the comments below. We are always open to suggestions on the next car to be featured on the Design Expose series.