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by Tim Beissmann

Stuttgart’s answer to the BMW X6, the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, has been revealed ahead of its 2015 Detroit auto show debut next month.

The new GLE Coupe is based on the existing ML – which has been renamed GLE as part of the German brand’s naming overhaul and is due for a matching facelift early next year – and will be positioned above the conventional large luxury SUV as a more style-centric, sports-focused model.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe is set to launch in Australia in the second half of next year. It will carry a slight premium over the ML/GLE and will likely be priced to go head to head with the X6 that starts at $110,575.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe also introduces the company’s new ‘AMG sports’ family – a second-tier performance line mirroring BMW’s ‘M Performance’ range of vehicles.

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Heading up the GLE Coupe launch range is the GLE450 AMG Coupe, which is powered by a twin-turbocharged 270kW/520Nm 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine.

It’s joined by the slightly less powerful GLE400 Coupe, which gets a 245kW/480Nm tune of the same engine, and the GLE350d Coupe, which produces 190kW and 620Nm from its 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel engine. Mercedes-Benz Australia says it’s interested in all three variants, particularly the GLE450 AMG Coupe, though the final make-up of the local range is still to be finalised.

All engines are paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that sends drive to all four wheels via Mercedes’ 4MATIC permanent all-wheel-drive system.

Mercedes-Benz hasn’t announced performance claims for any variant at this stage other than braked towing capacity, which is rated at 3500kg.

The range will expand next year to include a fully fledged twin-turbo V8-powered performance version, tipped to be dubbed the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Coupe.

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The Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe is 4900mm long, 2003mm wide, 1731mm tall and rides on a 2915mm wheelbase, making it, for comparison’s sake, 9mm shorter, 14mm wider, 29mm taller and 18mm shorter between the wheels than the new BMW X6. The boot measures 1650 litres with the rear seat folded forwards.

The GLE Coupe notably features a Dynamic Select driving mode control system with five selectable driving modes: Individual, Comfort, Slippery, Sport, and Sport+. Each varies ‘hard skills’ such as the chassis and suspension, steering and powertrain, as well as ‘soft skills’ such as the engine sound, instruments and vehicle lighting.

Newly designed AIRMATIC air suspension is available for the first time with the continuously variable damping system ADS Plus. Steel suspension is standard with a selective damping system.

Available alloy wheels range in size from 20 to 22 inches, while LEDs are used throughout the headlights, daytime running lights and tail-lights.

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The cabin features seating for five and the latest version of Mercedes’ COMAND infotainment system, combining a tablet-style 8.0-inch screen with a console-mounted touchpad.

The GLE Coupe’s long list of safety features includes Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian detection, Active Blind Spot and Lane Keeping Assist, Cross-Traffic Assist, 360-degree camera and Active Parking Assist.

Full details of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe are expected to be revealed in the lead up to January’s Detroit show.

Click the Photos tab for more Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe images.




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