The range has one diesel and two petrol models. The nine-speed auto is the sole transmission and permanent all-wheel drive is fitted to each of the three models.
The flagship model is the GLE450 AMG coupé, the first model in the AMG sports range that will be rolled out across the rest of Mercedes’ line-up.
Powering this model will be a biturbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine with 362bhp and 383lb ft of torque. A version of this engine is offered in the GLE400 coupé with outputs of 328bhp and 354lb ft.
The only diesel model is the GLE350d coupé. This gets a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel with 254bhp and 457lb ft. Mercedes has yet to confirm performance or economy figures for any of the models.
In the non-AMG models, torque is split 50/50 between the front and rear axles, but the AMG version has a rear-biased 40/60 split.
The GLE coupé is 4900mm long, 2003mm wide and 1731mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2915mm. For comparison, the X6 is 4909mm long, 1989mm wide and 1702mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2933mm.
A notable feature of the GLE coupé is its Dynamic Select driving mode control system. This includes five selectable driving modes — Individual, Comfort, Slippery, Sport and Sport+ — that tweak ‘hard’ features such as chassis, powertrain, suspension and steering systems, as well as ‘soft’ functions such as engine sound and the activeness of the front LED headlights.
In the hardest Sport+ setting, there’s a double-declutch function for the transmission when downshifting.
One option is the newly designed Airmatic air suspension system, which works with a new ADS Plus adaptive damping set-up. A coil spring suspension set-up is offered as standard.
Alloy wheels of 20in in diameter are standard on the GLE Coupe with up to 22in alloys optional on the GLE 450 AMG. LED front headlights are also standard.
The interior includes Mercedes’ latest COMAND infotainment system. Sports seats are standard. The AMG Sport model gets leather seats and carbonfibre trim among a series of sporting modifications.
A whole host of safety equipment is also on the options list. This includes an autonomous pre-braking system, a 360-degree parking camera, a lane departure warning system, a night-vision camera, and heated windscreen wipers.
A full-blown AMG version, the GLE 63 AMG, is also planned, complete with a twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 with more than 518bhp.
Q&A with Axel Heix, product manager for Mercedes SUVs
What’s the theory behind this car and who’s going to buy it?
It’s something completely new. We combined the ideas of an SUV with a Mercedes-Benz coupé. Younger people are going to buy it, especially in China, who want to make a statement. It will appeal all over the world, though.
What will it be like to drive?
A sporty car. We’ve added a lot of engineering, with special gear ratios, suspension parts, and a drive selection mode to access more sporty settings. Then there are things like the 9G-Tronic gearbox and 4Matic all-wheel drive.
We’re seeing a lot more sporty SUVs like this. Why is that?
They are all over the market. It’s because people like individualism, and this will rise more and more. The combination of dynamic performance with an exclusive, elegant exterior; it’s a very good combination.
Did you turn an SUV into a coupé or a coupé into an SUV?
The starting point was really from both sides and to try to combine these worlds together. It’s not just one or the other; it is both combined.
How inspired were you by the success of the BMW X6?
That car went more for driving dynamics. Our car is more Mercedes-Benz coupé. It’s not just another hat on top of the GLE. It’s the style, inside and out, that makes it what it is. It’s a really different kind of car from even the GLE. The GLE is all about practicality and roominess. This coupé is the stylish car.
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