Clearly it’s aimed squarely at its swoopy-roofed compatriot from Bavaria, the BMW X6, and it’s priced and equipped in a way that will likely make BMW take notice.
In Australia there will be three versions of the GLE Coupe on offer – the entry-level 350d, the mid-range 450 AMG, and the flagship Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S (pictured in this post).
The entry-level 350d model is powered by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 engine and paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. On price it almost splits the difference between the base diesel X6 variants, the Drive30d ($115,400) and xDrive40d ($128,400), at $121,900 plus on-road costs.
The GLE 350d has an identical 190kW compared to the X6 30d, but the Mercedes has a torque advantage – 620Nm versus 560Nm for the X6. The Merc can’t match the BMW on fuel consumption claims: the X6 is 6.0L/100km; the GLE is 7.2L/100km.
The entry-level petrol model for Mercedes is the GLE 450 AMG, priced at $141,900 – a good chunk cheaper than the X6 xDrive50i, which is a $151,600 proposition.
The six-cylinder Benz doesn’t have as much grunt as the V8-powered BMW. The latter has a 4.4-litre turbo V8 with 330kW and 650Nm, while the GLE has a twin-turbocharged petrol V6 engine producing 270kW and 520Nm.
It is claimed to be capable of propelling the 450 AMG Coupe from 0-100km/h in 5.7 seconds – almost a full second shy of the BMW (4.8sec claim) – but the Benz has fuel use on its side: the claimed consumption rating is 8.9L/100km, where the BMW uses a claimed 9.7L/100km.
At the top of the range is the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S, which is powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.5-litre V8 engine producing 430kW of power and 760Nm of torque.
The powerhouse coupe-style SUV claims a 0-100km/h time of just 4.2 seconds – identical to the X6 M, which has a twin-turbo 4.4-litre producing slightly less power and torque than the Merc (423kW/750Nm).
The GLE 63 S Coupe has claimed fuel use of 11.9L/100km, higher than the downsized engine of the X6 M: 11.1L/100km.
The Merc, though, is dearer than the X6 M. It costs $198,900 plus on-road costs, where the BMW is marginally cheaper at $194,700.
In terms of the premium these versions carry over the equivalent standard GLE SUV, it is quite large. The 350d, for instance, is $17,000 more; while the AMG model is a $9000 premium. There is no GLE 450 AMG variant to compare the Coupe to.
Mercedes-Benz claims, though, that there’s plenty of standard gear to offset and questions over pricing.
The highlights include LED headlights with Mercedes’ intelligent lighting system (which includes auto high beam with oncoming traffic blocking and cornering functionality), keyless go and push-button start, a power tailgate, digital radio (DAB+) and touch-pad interaction for the media system which also incorporates standard satellite navigation and reverse-view camera, as well as front and rear parking sensors.
There’s plenty more, too: the 350d has an AMG body styling package, Dynamic Select drive modes (Slippery, Individual, Comfort, Sport and Sport+), Airmatic air suspension, 21-inch AMG wheels, AMG Line sports front seats with electronic adjustment, and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system.
In addition to the standard equipment across the range, the GLE 450 AMG also incorporates a panoramic glass sunroof, AMG Line Nappa leather trim, 22-inch AMG wheels, Active Curve System with anti-roll stabilization and an anti-theft protection package.
The flagship Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe model adds more equipment including the AMG Driver’s Package (including increased top speed of 280km/h), an AMG Performance exhaust system, digital TV tuner, and heated and ventilated multi-contour front seats with active bolstering and massage functions, which are finished in AMG Nappa leather.
As is the case with the GLE SUV, all GLE Coupe models also come with the full driver assistance package, which includes plenty of active safety equipment: there’s Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control with active steering assistance, autonomous emergency braking, crosswind assist, blind-spot and lane departure warning systems. As well as that, the GLE has nine airbags.
The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe range arrives in Australia from September. We can’t wait to put it up against the BMW X6: stay tuned.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe pricing (plus on-road costs):
Mercedes-Benz GLE 350d 4MATIC Coupe - $121,900
Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe - $141,900
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC Coupe - $198,900