2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe
All new for the latest model year, the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe is a crossover-coupe that follows the path blazed by the BMW X6. Positioned above the GLE-Class, the segment-defying off-roader ushers in Mercedes' new naming system.
Buyers after more performance can look at the 577-horsepower Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe.
The front end of the GLE Coupe falls in line with Mercedes' recent design language thanks to features like a rippled hood, elongated bullet-shaped headlights and a boldly oversized three-pointed star emblem. The roof line peaks above the driver and gently slopes down towards the back end before flatting out for a few inches; as a result, from the belt line up the GLE's silhouette is closer to that of a coupe than to that of a more utility-focused crossover.
Out back, the GLE Coupe features a slanted fascia and slim tail lamps connected by a strip of chrome trim. The look is directly inspired by the S-Class Coupe and the more recent C-Class Coupe.
With a high seating position and a tall dashboard, the connection between the GLE Coupe and the GLE-Class is immediately evident as soon as you step in the cockpit. The instrument cluster is made up of four analog gauges and a configurable color screen in the middle.
A larger, high-definition color screen sticks out from the top of the dashboard, and an innovative, smartphone-like touch pad located on the center console lets the passengers control the COMAND infotainment system with simple finger gestures. Occupants can also use the touchpad to enter an address in the navigation system (if equipped) or to add a contact to the phone book. Alternatively, COMAND can be navigated via a controller knob located under the touch pad, voice commands or buttons on the center stack.
The GLE Coupe offers 23 cubic feet with five occupants on board and 60.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat.
Under the hood
The GLE Coupe inaugurates Mercedes' AMG Sport sub-brand. When fully launched, the AMG sport lineup will be comprised of models that will slot between standard cars equipped with the AMG Sport package and full-blown AMG-tuned models like the GLE63 S Coupe.
For the time being the lineup is only made up of a single model called GLE450 AMG. It packs a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes 363 horsepower from 5,260 to 6,000 rpm and 384 lb-ft. of torque from 1,800 to 4,000 rpm. Linked to a nine-speed automatic transmission and Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive system, the six-cylinder sends the 4,894-pound Coupe from zero to to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds.
Gas mileage checks in at a relatively reasonable 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway thanks in part to a standard start/stop system.
Air suspension (called Airmatic in Mercedes-speak) comes standard. The crossover-coupe also boasts a Dynamic Select function that lets the driver pick from five driving modes: Individual, Slippery, Comfort, Sport and Sport +. Selected using a rotary knob located on the center console, the modes change a variety of parameters including the suspension firmness, the steering response, the throttle response, how long the transmission holds each gear, and even the sound emitted by the exhaust system.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Highlights from the list of standard features include heated and 14-way power-adjustable front seats, a power tailgate, COMAND, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, a rear-view camera, brushed aluminum pedals, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming rear-view and door mirrors, LED headlights and 21-inch alloy wheels.
The list of standalone options includes illuminated brushed aluminum running boards, 22-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, multi-color ambient lighting, ventilated front seats, massaging front seats, a rear-seat entertainment system, soft-close doors, a three-zone climate control system as well as front cupholders that are both heated and cooled.
Several option packages are available. Notably, the Premium Package bundles a panoramic sunroof, a blind spot monitoring system, a lane departure warning system, keyless entry and start, a pass-through built into the rear center arm rest, a 115-volt power outlet, and an upgraded sound system.
The GLE Coupe offers front, front side and front pelvic air bags, a driver's knee airbag and side curtain airbags for both rows. It also comes with Mercedes' Pre Safe technology, which tightens the front seat belts, adjusts the seats and closes the windows if it senses a collision is imminent, Collision Prevention Assist, which can apply the brakes to avoid or reduce the severity of a collision, and Crosswind Assist, among other electronic safety-enhancing features.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE450 AMG is unabashedly aimed directly at the BMW X6. Buyers willing to trade the GLE's unique looks for more space can also look at the BMW X5, the Porsche Cayenne, and Mercedes' own GLE-Class.