New Mercedes GLE Coupe SUV challenges BMW X6


Mercedes-Benz has now shown its first SUV-Coupe model, the GLE Coupe. Revealed at the Beijing motor show as a concept, the production model hasn’t strayed far from the show car’s unique and futuristic design.

Based on the ML SUV (to be renamed ‘GLE’ with Mercedes-Benz new nomenclatures), the GLE is aimed directly at the BMW X6 market.

The GLE Coupe features a long sloping roofline and stubby rear-end like the X6.

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The interior design is clearly derived from the current ML SUV, with the GLE Coupe using the same dashboard and center console design with a steering column mounted gear selector. With the rear seats folded down, the cargo area totals a segment-best 1650 liters.

Engines slotted in for the GLE Coupe include the GLE 350 d which is a 190 kW/620 Nm turbodiesel unit, while the next one up is the GLE 400 with the 245 kW/480 Nm bi-turbo V6 petrol engine.

The range-topping GLE 450 AMG is Mercedes’ first ‘AMG Sport’ model which is a semi-performance grade in the same mold as Audi’s ‘S’ models and BMW’s M Performance cars such as the M 235i and X6 M 50d.

Powered by a 270 kW/520 Nm bi-turbo V6, the GLE 450 features unique AMG styling with more aggressive front and rear bumpers along with standard 21-inch alloy wheels. The torque-split of the performance model has also been changed from the standard 50:50 front-rear to a more tail happy 40:60. The AMG Sport model also gets sports seats, sports steering wheel and aluminium pedals, while carbon fiber or piano black interior highlights are available as options.

Eventually a full AMG GLE63 will be available, using the performance division’s 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 producing at least 386 kW and a significant torque increase as well.

All GLE models can be optioned with Mercedes’ new-generation Airmatic air suspension which is available for the first time with continuously variable dampers. This new setup is said to give the best possible ride comfort with the best possible dynamics, while also allowing the driver to choose between the usual Comfort, Sport and Sport+ drive settings.

In Sport and Sport+ modes, the new Active Curve System activates and uses the car’s electronic front and rear anti-roll bars to compensate for one-sided wheel impacts caused by potholes which can upset the car when it’s cornering aggressively.

The standard suspension fitted to GLE Coupe 350 d and 400 models is a conventional steel spring setup with switchable adaptive dampers.