2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe: Athletic crossover bows
The wraps have come off Mercedes-Benz interpretation of 4-door coupe styling in its mid-size crossover range. This new entry is offered in two distinct models, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe and the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 4Matic Coupe.
Carrying M-B's new vehicle nomenclature that will see the M-Class rebadged as the GLE-Class, this cool coupe-like variation bowed in Detroit combining distinctive style with AMG-enhanced performance. The GLE AMG 4Matic Coupe introduces the new AMG Sport line, which bridges the gap between standard M-B models and the high performance models comprising the Mercedes-AMG sub-brand. Both vehicles offer engaging driving dynamics and crossover practicality with full a measure of M-B luxury and safety.
The new GLE Coupe features a bold but sophisticated exterior that adds a bit more edge in AMG Sport trim thanks to several bespoke body bits. A single-wing grille and large air intakes are set off by full-LED headlamps up front while the rear fascia and lighting treatment recalls the new S-Class Coupe. Bolstering the GLE Coupe's profile are its flowing roofline, prominent fender arches - which house up to 22-inch wheel/tire fitments - and integrated side sills that have an illuminated running board option.
Motivation for the new GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe is provided by a twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 that makes 363 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with a 9-speed automatic transmission and a performance version of M-B's 4Matic all-wheel drive programmed for greater rear-torque bias. Chassis highlights include standard AirMatic suspension teamed for the first time with the automaker's ADS Plus continuously variable adaptive damping system, Sports Direct Steer and the automaker's Active Curve System with active roll stabilization.
The more potent Mercedes-AMG GLE65 S 4Matic Coupe is powered by a 577-horsepower twin turbo 5.5-liter V8 engine built exclusively by the AMG performance unit. This engine also cranks out 561 lb ft of torque and delivers it to all four wheels via a 7-speed transmission.
Dynamic Select lets the driver choose
To optimize the package for any driving or surface condition, AMG Sport enhancements also include Dynamic Select -- a multi-mode control system offering Comfort, Slippery, Sport and Sport+ as well as an Individual setting. In addition to tweaking response of the GLE Coupe's powertrain and suspension elements, Dynamic Select also modifies the vehicle's "soft skills," varying everything from engine/exhaust sounds to the information presented on its large center display.
As one would expect, the passenger compartment of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe is well-appointed and well-finished. Its basic dash and infotainment elements share a good deal in common with the C/E/S-Class and its standard Comand system has an 8.0-inch TFT screen. AMG Sport seats are matched with a split-folding rear bench that Mercedes claims is the widest in class. It also says the GLE Coupe's 58-plus cubic feet of cargo space - easily accessed through its standard power liftgate - will claim top honors there, as well.
Those seeking more than the basics will find upgrades abound, starting with swapping the GLE Coupe's standard MB-Tex upholstery for Nappa leather or stepping up to a full designo treatment. Other premium upgrades include a Bang & Olfusen BeoSound audio system, rear-seat entertainment system and glass panoramic roof. GLE Coupe buyers also will be able to augment the extensive roster of safety features with M-B's Driving Assistance package that brings everything from adaptive cruise control and Blind Spot/Active Lane Keeping Assist to Pre-Safe Plus and Parktronic parking assist.
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe and Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S 4Matic Coupe go on sale here in late summer, and pricing will be released closer to its arrival date.