Four generations on and Mercedes-Benz’s original mid-size SUV game is going strong with its recent introduction of the GLE at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. Its predecessor was one of the first to debut a ‘coupe’ bodied SUV back in 2015, bringing the fight to the BMW X6.
That said, if you’re the sort of person that figures an SUV deserves a sloping roofline, poor rear visibility and an exorbitant price tag – rejoice then at the 2020 GLE Coupe!
Stylistically, the Coupe borrows design cues from the likes of other coupe-esque saloon’s in its family tree such as the new CLA and its bigger CLS sibling, especially from the back. Speaking of its rear, the Coupe gains a modest ‘ducktail’ on the boot lid; the front end is business as usual, with its preserved fascia as seen on its full-fat sister.
Dimensionally speaking this coupe-on-stilts measures some 4929mm long and 2010mm wide, making it 39mm longer and 7mm wider than its predecessor. This translates to a 655-litre boot space and up to 1790-litres with the seats folded flat, meaning that there’s ample space for lugging around your designer golf bags and snow skis, probably.
Based on the wagon-bodied V167 GLE school-bus that was introduced on our shores not too long back, the Coupe even features a shortened wheelbase that’s unsurprisingly some 20mm longer than the outgoing model.
The cabin is awash with all the refinements usually found in an SUV of this magnitude. The driver steps into a cockpit of brushed metal switches, soft touch surfaces and glossy trimmings (carbon fiber is available, of course) along with stitched ARTICO wrapped upholstery while Nappa leather’s optional. Dual LCD’s behind the steering wheel fuse into a single unit, displaying infotainment via MBUX.
At the time of its European launch, the standard GLE Coupe was only available with a couple of oil burners mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox. Fret not, as even the base 350d model packs 200kW of punch along with 600Nm of torque. The 400d is up 43kW and 100Nm over the base.
Kicking things up a notch is the only petrol-powered variant on offer. The AMG-flavored 53 model with its mild-hybrid, 3-litre straight-six power plant chucks out 320kW and 520Nm. Mercedes says that an additional 16kW and 250Nm is momentarily accessible, should you need to get to the golf course in a hurry. Power is channeled to its 22-inch wheels via an AMG-tuned 4MATIC system hooked up to the same nine-cog affair found in the standard variant.
The Three-Pointed Star made a slight song and dance about what it calls the “world’s most intelligent suspension system” dubbed E-Active Body Control. To the lay man this just means that the 48-volt operated AirMatic system adjusts each wheel’s air spring and hydropneumatic dampers independently using windscreen-mounted optics to scan the terrain ahead, setting the car up for what lies ahead.
The bad news, for those of you who figure this to be your ideal city slicker - the GLE Coupe is expected to land in Australia somewhere in the second quarter of 2020. And if patience isn’t your virtue, check out BMW’s new-launched third generation trend setter – the X6.