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Mercedes gets savvy with GLE coupé

24.08.2015

SPORT Activity Vehicles (SAVs) are very fashionable at the moment. Take the BMW X6 as an example, which is basically an X5 with a coupé-ish body and added urban appeal. Now, Mercedes-Benz has hopped onto the bandwagon with its own SAV in the form of the GLE coupé, which is the sporty version of the GLE, which is the new name for the old ML class.

Please explain

Confused? So was I, but when you consider that the last letter of each new SUV corresponds with the traditional Mercedes model line-up, it becomes easier to understand. For example, the GLE would be the SUV equivalent of the E-Class, the GLA the equivalent of the A-Class and the upcoming GLC and GLS models, the SUV equivalent of the C and S-Class models respectively.

How does it look?

Sporty SUVs will always polarise opinion however, I think that GLE is the looker in its segment. Up front it looks seriously imposing with a massive Mercedes grille, sweeping front lights and deep air scoops at the lower end of the bumper. In side profile, the car displays a typical coupé roofline while the lower end resembles that of a traditional SUV with door sill guards. The rear is perhaps the most dramatic with a rounded theme, two-piece tail lamps and a chrome strip running across the rear section above the lights.

Inside the GLE

The interior of the GLE is dominated by the large infotainment screen mounted on the top section of the centre console. Those familiar with the outgoing ML-Class will note there are new seats as well as the climate control, infotainment toggle switch and other switchgear from newer Mercedes-Benz models.

This is not a bad thing as the GLE exudes class. The build quality, tangible materials and layout of the cabin is exemplary. It is also quite a practical thing with a large boot (650 litres) and a surprisingly impressive amount of rear headroom despite its sloping roofline.

The diesel option

Cars like these are all about bragging rights and in terms of outright figures, the GLE can boast a bit. There is one diesel model and two petrol models in the coupé line-up. The oil burner, badged GLE 350 d 4Matic gets a 3.0-litre turbo diesel motor with 190kW/620NM with a nine-speed automatic transmission. This is certainly the sensible choice however, SUV-coupés aren’t sensible, so let’s look at the bonkers petrol models.

Petrol brutes

The first petrol model is also the first AMG sports model, the Mercedes response to BMW M Performance, which means that the cars are not totally AMG, but feature enhanced performance versus a regular model. The model is called the GLE 450 AMG and gets a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 with 270kW/520Nm as well as the same nine-speed automatic transmission. The car is fun to drive; in Sport+ mode it will crackle and bang on the overrun and on upshifts, while still being docile in the more tame driving modes.

Undoubtedly, the most insane model is the AMG GLE 63 S, which features AMG’s 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8 with a gargantuan 430kW/760Nm on tap and the brands seven-speed automatic transmission. It obliterates fuel and turns it into noise and serious acceleration with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.2 seconds, which is amazing in a car that weighs over 2 300kgs. It is such an insane car, the type of thing that you’d buy just because you can.

Verdict

Coupé-styled SUVs have never made sense to me, but then again, what do I know after the rampant success that is the BMW X6? The Mercedes-Benz GLE coupé is sure to be a hit amongst the wealthy; it ostensibly ticks all of the boxes for a car of this type. It’s big, it’s fast and it’s attention-grabbing.

Warranty and service

The GLE coupé range comes with a two-year unlimited mileage warranty as well as a six year/100 000km maintenance plan.

Pricing:

Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 d coupé 4Matic R1 006 774
Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG coupé 4Matic R1 110 057
Mercedes-Benz AMG GLE 63 S coupé 4Matic R1 876 111

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Article written by Sean Nurse
24.08.2015
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