Years after the polarizing BMW X6 originally hit the market, Mercedes-Benz has finally unveiled its slope-roofed challenger, and much like Munich's Sport Activity Vehicle, we think the new GLE Coupe will split opinions rather dramatically.
Under the chiseled hood of the GLE 450 AMG sits a 3.0L, twin-turbo V6 with 362 hp and 384 lb-ft.
While it clearly shares its form factor with BMW's X4 and X6, the GLE Coupe's styling is all Mercedes, borrowing the more organic shapes used on the company's most recent new model, the AMG GT. Strips of chrome and the iconic silver arrow logo bisect a large, rectangular grille, while the fascia on the GLE 450 shown above features three rather dramatic lower air intakes. The headlights, meanwhile, fit in with MB's latest styling language. In back, slim, wraparound taillights share some resemblance with the new S-Class Coupe.
The cabin is recognizable and looks to be of extremely high quality, with the featured vehicle showing off quite a lot of carbon-fiber trim. A thick-rimmed, flat-bottomed steering wheel dominates the driver's area, while a large, tablet-like display crowns the center stack. The same sort of touch-controlled interface and input dial found on the new C-Class controls the information on that screen.
Under the chiseled hood of the GLE 450 AMG, the first of Mercedes' AMG Sport models, sits a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6. Unlike the 329-horsepower unit in the C400 and E400, the force-induced V6 generates 362 hp and an equally robust 384 pound-feet of torque. It's mated up to a new nine-speed automatic transmission and Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. A new version of the popular Airmatic suspension is being offered with the ADS Plus continuously variable dampers while Mercedes is also fitting its Active Curve System, complete with active roll stabilization.
Mercedes doesn't provide many additional details on the GLE Coupe range, as it were. We know about the 450 AMG, but it's not clear whether there will be a GLE 400 or non-AMG 450, or if Mercedes will move it down market and offer a GLE 350 to compete with the X6's xDrive35i. There's also no mention of when or where the new model will debut, although previous reports point to the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Prices and an on-sale date, meanwhile, have not been revealed.
Scroll down for the full press blast from Mercedes-Benz on its newest model, the 2016 GLE Coupe.
A sportier choice
Stuttgart. Mercedes-Benz is combining two classes of vehicle – each with its own distinct style – to make a new model, the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. The sporty nature of a coupe dominates, imbued with the striking characteristics of a robust SUV. In addition to convincing on-road vehicle dynamics, the GLE Coupe looks impressive as well. With its flowing side contour, elongated and low greenhouse, striking radiator grille with central chrome louvre and rear end design, the GLE Coupe cites styling features typical of particularly sporty Mercedes-Benz models. In the U.S. market, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe features a biturbo V6 engine that produces 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. In addition to the generous amount of standard equipment, the DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control system, the Sports Direct-Steer system and the driver assistance systems typical of the brand, the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe comes standard with the 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission and 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive.
The GLE Coupe is the new addition to the successful portfolio of Mercedes-Benz coupes. Alongside the classic, two-door C, E and S-Class models and the four- door CLS- and CLA-Class coupes, the new coupe displays a highly individual interpretation of the physiognomy and light-footed approach typical of this family of vehicles. For example, the GLE Coupe displays attributes typical of coupes such as sportiness, dynamism and agility, while also exuding the self- assured presence, versatility and ruggedness of an SUV.
DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control system: highly variable – from racy and sporty to poised and comfortable
The GLE Coupe feels like a true sports coupe. Despite the similarity to an SUV with its raised seating position and expansive all-round view, the occupants are led to believe that they are in sports rather than off-road mode. The sound is reminiscent of powerful sports cars, while the spontaneous and direct response to all commands is guaranteed to get your pulse racing. On the other hand, it can also create a superior feeling of calm, coupled with unshakeably serene driving dynamics. These two different worlds can normally only be experienced in two separate vehicles – an agile, thoroughbred sports coupe and an easy-going, comfortable SUV. But the new GLE Coupe is different: DYNAMIC SELECT enables a wide spread in the driving dynamics and combines these diametrical worlds of experience in a single vehicle – an automobile premiere.
GLE 450 AMG – the first AMG sports model
The balancing act between extremely sporty yet still comfortable has been mastered especially well in the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe. As the first AMG sports model, the V6 top-of-the-range GLE Coupe enables an attractive entry to the world of the sports car and performance brand.
"The GLE 450 AMG Coupe is our first sports model, and further highly emotional and performance-oriented models will follow in the near future. The new product line from Mercedes-AMG has allowed us to make true sports car technology and the fascination of motorsports more accessible," says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. "Every vehicle from Affalterbach honors the brand promise of Driving Performance."
The new AMG sports models display impressive product substance and honor the promise of sports performance with a higher output class, standard all- wheel drive and also sophisticated chassis solutions. The variable dynamic control system assigns fundamentally different characteristics to the five transmission modes of INDIVIDUAL, COMFORT, SLIPPERY, SPORT and SPORT+, which the driver is able to select using a rotary control on the center console. The system networks all the control systems, generating different sets of parameters. The names speak for themselves: SPORT and SPORT+ turn the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe into a sporty, dynamic vehicle with pronounced longitudinal and lateral dynamics. COMFORT is the opposite end of the spectrum. Here the emphasis is on the refined parameters so typical of classic Mercedes-Benz sedans, for relaxed, effortless cruising with the greatest possible energy efficiency. SLIPPERY optimizes the handling on surfaces with low friction coefficients such as snow or ice. In addition, INDIVIDUAL mode enables the driver to program and store personal preferences in the individual control strategies, regardless of the engine variant.
In the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe, DYNAMIC SELECT not only modulates the "hard skills" such as the chassis and suspension, steering or powertrain. It is also possible to experience the selected mode more intensively on an emotional level because various "soft skills" such as the engine sound, instruments or dynamic control of the driving lights also vary. To this end, the nature of the various displays on the COMAND screen and in the cockpit changes according to the selected transmission mode. At the same time, the active light function of the all-LED headlamps respond more spontaneously and the engine produces the whole range of sounds from sporty and dominant to poised and restrained:
• If the driver selects COMFORT mode, the displays take on lesser importance and, like the engine, the dial instruments such as the rev counter show a relaxed response to the driver's commands. In combination with the comfort-oriented control of the powertrain and suspension, the result is a feel-good ambience at the level of a sedan. The engine sound is reduced to a pleasant timbre, and the feedback from the road surface and surroundings is considerably quieter in the interior.
• Things are very different when SPORT+ mode is selected. The character changes immediately, the gear changes performed by the 9G-TRONIC are acoustically accentuated, especially when downshifting with the double- declutch function, and the cockpit instruments respond faster and more "sharply". The large central display visualizes the longitudinal and lateral acceleration plus the steering angle with a photo-realistic motorsports graphic. The engine sound is powerful and acoustically underscores the sports mode. This setting removes any doubt: the GLE Coupe is a lively sports model of the highest order, and treats its occupants to a compelling world of experience.
A perfect combination: 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive and 9G- TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission
In the new GLE Coupe, the developers were able to show the possibilities of the new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission in an all-wheel drive coupe with a longitudinal drive configuration. Depending on the mode selected for the DYNAMIC SELECT variable dynamic handling control system, the 9G-TRONIC impresses with great agility and responsiveness or poised serenity. It offers an impressively high shift speed and perfect transitions for energetic sprinting as well as gentle, barely perceptible gear changes for enjoyable cruising.
4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive always goes hand in hand with safe, harmonious and sporty handling. The sporty GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe offers enhanced agility and more pronounced dynamics around the car's vertical axis with a torque split of 40:60. The DYNAMIC SELECT transmission modes SPORT and SPORT+ deliver superior longitudinal agility and lateral dynamics – specifically as a result of the perfect interplay between the modified driving dynamics control systems ASR, ESP with Curve Dynamic Assist, the electronic traction system 4ETS and the brake control system ADAPTIVE BRAKE.
Stability pact: AIRMATIC with ADS Plus, Sports Direct-Steer and ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM
In addition to the ground-breaking powertrain configuration, the newly designed AIRMATIC air suspension – available for the first time with the continuously variable damping system ADS Plus – guarantees extremely stable driving. The damping system changes its area of emphasis depending on the preselected DYNAMIC SELECT mode. SPORT+ focuses on the greatest possible lateral dynamics with the best possible ride comfort. Conversely, COMFORT mode enables maximum ride comfort with the best possible dynamics.
The current operating conditions are detected via a steering angle sensor, four turning angle sensors and the driving speed from the ESP® signal and the brake pedal switch. The control unit uses these signals for infinitely variable adjustment of the current damping force required for each individual wheel.
The ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM with active roll stabilization is also part of the special sports systems that are activated when the driver selects SPORT or SPORT+. At the same time, the active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles raise the comfort to sedan level and compensate for even heavy, one-sided excitation – for example when driving over potholes. In combination with the newly configured, degressive Sports Direct-Steer system, whose steering ratio is very direct at 17.4:1, and the compact sports steering wheel, the handling is outstanding in all operating conditions – whether manoeuvring in the city, at high speeds on the freeway, or with a swift style of driving on winding mountain passes.
Alongside the appealing design, the exceptional suspension, drive technology and assistance systems familiar from the C, E and S-Class, the GLE Coupe is also equipped with numerous standard or optional equipment details and packages to further enrich the experience.
The chrome-effect shoulderline trim strips and the simulated underguards at the front and rear lend the coupe additional exclusiveness alongside the twin- pipe exhaust system with chrome-plated tailpipe trim. Green-tinted, heat- insulating glass reduces the glare of the sun in the summer, and LED technology is featured in the headlamps, daytime driving lights, rear lights and third brake light.
The DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control system, the tailgate with power opening and closing, and the reversing camera with dynamic guide lines in the display are standard features. Additional active handling safety is provided by ESP® Curve Dynamic Assist and Crosswind Assist, as well as COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS. The GLE Coupe is also equipped as standard with the brake system BAS Plus, optionally available with Cross- Traffic Assist.
The GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe is a particularly sporty choice. The V6 biturbo engine offers an output of 362 hp and 384 lb-ft from 1,400 rpm to deliver performance akin to a sports car. The DYNAMIC SELECT transmission mode SPORT+ is also always available.
The standard equipment here is upgraded with features such as special AMG bodystyling, which includes a specific front and rear apron, a rear spoiler lip painted in the vehicle color and 21-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with tires of size 275/45 R 21 (front) and 315/40 R 21 (rear). In addition, 22-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with mixed-size tires are optionally available. Excellent traction levels are guaranteed by the impressive tires of size 285/40 R 22 (front) and 325/35 R 22 (rear). The standard scope of equipment here includes the AIRMATIC package including air suspension and infinitely variable adaptive damping system (ADS Plus) with level control and automatic lowering function at higher speeds.
Successful design synthesis of Coupe and SUV elements
Sensuality and clarity are the two poles that have determined the design idiom of the Mercedes-Benz brand for almost 130 years and have their origin in the nature of the two inventors of the automobile, Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. Carl Benz was more rationally oriented in his behaviour, whereas Gottlieb Daimler was driven more by his passion. The new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe demonstrates almost ideally how this bridge between intelligence and emotion, between tradition and modernity, blends into an attractive symbiosis.
The GLE Coupe not only skilfully embodies the firmly embedded principles of Mercedes-Benz design, but also focuses on the essential features of two entirely different automobile genres. On the one hand, the youngest member of the GLE family bears the decisive, essential stylistic feature of all modern Mercedes-Benz coupes: it combines sheer sportiness with a high-level aesthetic and sensual demand for modern luxury. At the same time, elements of the classic SUV are recognizable. With muscular wings, large wheel arches, tires of up to 22 inches and also the high belt line and the generous ground clearance, this model takes the perception of a large, four-door coupe to the next level.
The extreme proportions with superior aesthetics of the new GLE Coupe have emerged from this stylistic gene pool. This is particularly due to the extremely exciting relationship between the low greenhouse and striking body; the silhouette signals dynamism and agility. The upright sports grille with single louvre, framed by three-dimensionally designed all-LED headlamps, is the major feature of the front end with its short, stylish overhang. The forward- sloping hood with its typical Mercedes power domes underscores the membership of the GLE Coupe in the line-up of particularly sporty Mercedes- Benz models. A discreet reference to the SUV genes of the vehicle is provided by the harmoniously integrated, illuminated running boards, a typical feature of classic SUVs or off-roaders that is available as an option.
The coupe-like nature is also emphasized by the design of the rear end with its obvious elements of the design line first presented with the S-Class Coupe. The styling characteristics of this include the slim band of rear lights with their three-dimensional look, the wide chrome insert fitted above and the registration plate now incorporated into the rear bumper. Another feature that has distinguished the large coupe models from Mercedes-Benz for generations is the typical shape of the rear window which is rounded off at the top. A discreet SUV reference is made by the chrome-plated underride guard in the front and rear, here with the integrated twin tailpipe trim elements of the exhaust system.
The attractive sports seats and the compact sports steering wheel, as well as the infotainment elements familiar from the C, E and S-Class initially catch your eye in the interior. The information display, which is not entirely free- standing but partially integrated into the instrument panel, attracts attention and is fitted in an optimum ergonomic position. The center air vents, with a high-grade silver shadow frame similar to the outer vents, are positioned next to the display. The head unit has the same appearance to underline the homogeneity of the interior. The center console houses the COMAND controller with the touchpad fitted above in an optimum ergonomic position. The equipment and appointments in M-B Tex and the trim elements in light longitudinal-grain aluminium are also impressive.
The interior of the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe is an impressive sight with AMG sports seats and the black nappa leather AMG sports steering wheel in 3- spoke design as well as the trim elements in light longitudinal-grain aluminium and the sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with rubber studs. AMG carbon-fiber trim and piano lacquer enhance the appearance of the interior as an additional option.
Attractive equipment packages and individual options
Popular equipment details are also combined in attractive packages for the GLE Coupe. The Driving Assistance package includes DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist, PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian detection, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE® PLUS. The Parking package with 360° camera and Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC guarantees an excellent overview and problem-free manoeuvring into and out of parking spaces. Night-time vision is improved by the LED Intelligent Light System which is a standard feature on all models; adverse weather conditions with impaired view are defused by MAGIC VISION CONTROL – the heated, adaptive windscreen wiper system.
The extremely large interior for a coupe provides space for up to five people. The rear seat bench in the GLE Coupe is even the widest in its class. Drivers who order the optional large panoramic glass roof are rewarded with an even greater feeling of spaciousness for all the passengers. With a maximum of over 58 cubic feet, the coupe also offers the largest luggage compartment in its class and just happens to hold the world record for luggage compartments in coupes.
COMAND offers perfect infotainment with an 8-inch TFT display and intuitive touchpad. The system also includes a DVD player. If required, the customer can equip COMAND Online with a Rear Seat Entertainment System with remote control or Bang & Olufsen BeoSound sound system.
Well worth a look: color and material combinations for the GLE Coupe
There are almost limitless possibilities when it comes to customization of the GLE Coupe, and the equipment packages again play an important role. A Night package is available, in which the louvre in the radiator grille and the exterior mirror housings are in high-gloss black. At the same time, the wide selection of solid and metallic paints and the almost limitless possibilities for interior design increase the potential for individual customization. A total of 11 paint finishes are available, of which seven are metallic colours and two are special paint finishes with special-effect pigments in designo diamond white or designo hyacinth red metallic.
The interior radiates modern luxury and can be given a design ranging from ambitious and sporty to classic and elegant, depending on personal taste. The scope here ranges from single-tone black interior appointments to various combinations in which black is used with ginger beige, crystal grey, saddle brown or porcelain. The interior of the GLE Coupe is particularly impressive in two-tone designo exclusive nappa leather in porcelain/black. The designo Exclusive nappa leather option brings even more luxury: seats with diamond- pattern stitching, instrument panel and door panelling in designo leather and the black DINAMICA roof liner provide for even more exclusive travel.
Depending on personal preference, the trim elements shine in light longitudinal-grain aluminium, brown open-pore ash wood, brown eucalyptus wood, dark-graphite poplar wood or black AMG carbon fiber/piano lacquer.
The Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC success story began in 1985. The all-wheel drive presented in an E-Class was the first automatically controlled drive system in a premium vehicle. The customer was able to choose between six different models. Nowadays, around 30 years later, the portfolio of passenger cars with all-wheel drive has grown to include more than 70 models in 18 model series. From the C to the G-Class, each model receives a tailored 4MATIC solution – to match each different vehicle character.
The AMG sports models such as the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe receive a performance-oriented 4MATIC drive system which sends the drive torque more towards the rear axle – unlike in the standard model. This distinctly rear- biased power distribution provides for the signature AMG high driving dynamics and superlative driving enjoyment.
"G" to the fore: the new SUV nomenclature
The premiere of the GLE Coupe restructures the successful SUV range from Mercedes-Benz. The system centers around the five core model series, A, B, C, E and S, which will continue to be used to provide orientation for our customers. In the case of the model designations for the SUVs, in a tribute to the legendary G-Class, all SUV models will in future have the first two letters "GL" in their name. The "G" here denotes the car's lineage. The "L" is a letter that appears time and time again over the history of Mercedes-Benz: it is a linking letter that makes the model designations easier to remember and easier to pronounce; one that is familiar from the legendary SL, for example, or from the more recent CLS and CLA. It is followed by the third letter, which indicates the relationship to the relevant core model series.
In specific terms:
GLA - SUV in the A-Class segment
GLC - SUV in the C-Class segment; formerly GLK
GLE - SUV in the E-Class segment; formerly M-Class
GLE Coupe - SUV in the E-Class Coupé segment
GLS - SUV in the S-Class segment; formerly GL
G - unchanged
The different types of engine are indicated by a lower-case letter.