We have tested one of today’s most coveted Mercedes-Benz models – the GLE Coupe, coveted at least for the exotic air that it exudes. And I am saying it out loud, without a hint of a doubt, that we’ve come across the sweet spot of the range: the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe.
Again, from the very start, I have the grit to admit that I am not one of the model’s enthusiasts; just as I have never been an admirer of its arch-enemy, the BMW X6. I can’t get through to this hybrid of an SUV tormented into a coupe. These SUV coupes are not more practical, nor more spacious than their regular siblings while they’re actually more expensive. But the voice of the crowd is way more louder.
BMW experimented this niche since 2008 and we have already come to the second generation that is selling like hot cakes. For seven long years BMW had no rival and sold more than 280,000 X6s. Like most good automotive trends, this was also caught it up from Mercedes-Benz. But the Swabians had to wait for the facelifted ML to be ready before launching their first-ever SUV coupe. And this trend is only bound to get stronger with more SUV Coupes expected to join Mercedes’ line-up soon. Sooner than you’d think.
Let’s get one thing straight, the GLE Coupe came out of the new GLE/former ML. Mercedes didn’t make the same mistake as BMW though, penning a sleeker silhouette for its GLE Coupe – a car sensibly more spacious than its rival too. A silhouette which looks even better once dressed up in the AMG suit (the wheels and, going a long way, especially the rear wing set up on the tailgate plus the 21 inch wheels). Because yes, that extension somehow manages to give a sleeker aura to the already more harmonious profile than that of the Bavarian contender. Another significant aspect is the paintwork. I have seen so many hues thrown over the GLE, but none larger than life than this one, and all these small details fitting together convert it into a sight that instantly catches the eye.
If we managed to decode the recipe that makes the GLE Coupe so appealing on the outside, there are ups and downs on the inside. The dashbord layout is quite familiar to a Mercedes-Benz connoisseur, but taking them over (with the necessary upgrades) from the current GLE SUV can show the other side of the coin quite quickly, because the GLE Coupe is a brand new model, but with an interior layout that time dag into. We very much appreciated the revised 8-inch infotainment system display, a revolution when it comes to graphics and resolution, put up against what Mercedes-Benz was delivering not long ago. The driving modes are beautifully and logically described on this screen with info like current ride height or the spin angle of the front wheels – useful details for off-road aficionados.
The carbon fiber decor elements are a nice touch, especially for a model wearing the coveted AMG badge. The driving position on the other hand is very high, even when you lower your seat all the way, the vertical visibility angle is rapidly obstructed by the upper line of the windshield. For this type of automobile, the rear visibility is usually more troublesome, but Mercedes-Benz tiptoed the shape deficiency by the help of the standard precise parking sensor and rear-view camera which cost extra at BMW. Who wants even more can opt for a 360-degree view wide-angle camera at 868.70 euro. One super point is scored by the headroom for the rear passengers and the better shaped bench. Better than that of the X6, all thanks to the less plunging line of the rooftop.
AMG – not just a name apendix
But everything fades away the moment you push the smart engine ignition button. Because, you know, you don’t get an AMG to look for flaws in the boot or in the rear seats. The ignition purl is the one signaling that the driver will come face to face with a horsepower show. There are 367 of those on board, all tamed by a supercharged 3-liter V6. It is quite true that, in the Comfort Mode, it feels like you made a dash with the wrong stud, as the response of the automobile is pretty soft, in a low key, perfect to set for long, otherwise boring drives. But things significantly tune up once you switch to Sport, or better Sport+ Mode. The pneumatic adaptive suspension with variable ride height (standard for GLE 450 AMG Coupe) gets more prepared for sharp driving and so does the steering one, while the exhaust, otherwise really steady, swiftly turns vocal. That is where the AMG world begins!
We got tired of the Comfort Mode pretty fast. We got its use along the long-distance and boring drive, but one we stepped into the wild, we shifted the magical cog into Sport+ Mode. It is the only driving mode that lowers the road clearance, for enhanced dynamics and for reeling reduction, otherwise imposibile to counter for a 2,200-kilogram behemoth… For 3,748.50 euros you can also get the Active Curve System with adaptive stabilizer bars.
- Refined engine, instantly responsive
- Generous rear room
- Agile road-holding relative to the weight
- Superb steering
- Serene comfort with the Airmatic standard suspension
- Attractive price for an AMG model
MAX vs MIN
- Relatively high driving position
- Comand System leaves room for improvement
The 520-Nm torque is fully available at 1,800 rpm and the automatic 9G-TRONIC transmission shifts quite zippy, even in the Drive Mode (there are still few delays and indecisions, but none to distress). For extra fun, I prescribe the M manual mode, mainly while downshifting (and not only), the vocal exhaust bewitches you with some back-kick trills that gets your driver-wannabe alter ego all puffed up.
Despite the overweight gauge, mainly for an AMG mode, with a 2,003 mm width, a 1,700 mm height and a 2,250 kg weight, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe is quite agile, despite the load shifting and the brakes constantly reminding you that you are in a well-built SUV. The 315 mm tyres that fit the rear wheels guarantee an outstanding contact with the ground and a enviable road grip even for the smaller high-flying sporty cars.
The GLE 450 AMG Coupe is sporty in a sense not many Mercedes-Benz were capable of being not long ago, and this is a hugely positive aspect and comes to complement the trend of the new line-up of the three-pointed star, that wishes to be sportier and youthful. Since we mentioned that, in the Sport+ Mode, the road clearence gets automatically lowered, for all the rest there is an extra lifting option.
Theoretically, this drill is useful in the off-road. Virtually, honestly speaking, I have no idea if, with this setup, with its good-looking 21-inch AMG wheels, you will be willing to wallow the chubby among rocks.
Best of versions? I say so!
I was saying from the very into that I found the sweet spot of the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe range. Maybe many would dash into reminding me that a 258 HP GLE 350 d Coupe would be way more practical. I disagree. If you really want a diesel, at any cost, you buy the GLE SUV. For the Coupe, in the name of wishing for a model of refinement, a classic Benz, a big petrol engine would seem to be the best of choices. Then why not a 63 AMG? Because, for its 557 HP, you must pay 50% more (the price of the 450 AMG Coupe starts at 75,803 euros, while the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe requires minimum 115,251.50 euros).
It is true that the power gap is significant, but by the way it behaves, even when it comes to sporty driving, I believe it makes no point; otherwise, a 50% price difference is, from any perspective, pretty big.
Of course, there is no doubt there will be people willing to get the top version, the 585 HP Mercedes-AMG 63 S. Are they making a mistake? Not at all! Are they realistic and rational? Not really… Therefore, I am sticking to my belief, that in the hands of a proficient driver, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Coupe is more than enough.
And the fact that we had nothing to call down on it during the test, not from the dynamic, nor from the comfort point of view (once the Sport or the Sport+ modes were cut off), should not bring too much enthusiasm into the Mercedes-Benz offices, but more of an anxiety to those of BMW (I thought of that, too, when I realized I enjoyed the steering setting of the GLE Coupe more than that of a non-M BMW X6).
VerdictThe overtly imposing silhouette of the Coupe version of the Mercedes-Benz GLE is massively sweetened in AMG clothing. Dynamically speaking too, because this is where your thought flows to when you add he AMG into the equation, the expectations were rewarded. The 367 HP on tap are more than enough for this niche with the glorious engine note striking that small but perceptible win in therms of artistic impression.
|Model||GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe|
|Max. power/revs (HP/rpm)||367/5,500|
|Max. torque/revs (Nm/rpm)||520/1.800-4.000|
|Gearbox||automatic, 9 gears|
|Boot volume (l)||650-1,720|
|Kerb weight (kg)||2,220|
|Top speed (km/h)||250|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)||5.7|
|Fuel mixt consumption (l/100 km)||8.9|
|CO2 emissions (g/km)||209|
|Price (euro with VAT, GER)||75,803|