One of our favorite SUVs is now also available with a Coupe body style. The GLE Coupe is being build in Tuscaloosa for the entire world along with the regular GLE and GLS models. On launch the available engine variants are limited to the 350d, 400d, AMG 53 4Matic and the plug-in hybrid 350de. We put three of them to the test.
Based on the new GLE, the new GLE Coupe looks a lot sleeker than the predecessor. The muscular front continues along the side with a strong shoulder line. The rear looks a lot better than the predecessor but is still not quite my thing. The triangular shaped rear lights look a bit out of place and the overall rear look is a bit boring.
The GLE Coupe has a 60mm shorter wheelbase than the normale GLE. This adds to better handling and a sportier character. And it has to be said, during our test drive from Innsbruck to the mountain village of Kühtai the GLE Coupe feels lighter and nimbler than you would expect from a car this size and weight. Even though the winter tires put a dampening effect on the car’s true driving dynamics it is clear that the GLE Coupe is among the sportiest SUVs out there.
Inside a modern cockpit awaits. The optional contour seats provide excellent support and comfort. The two large MBUX screens can be controlled with the touch pad in the center console – which I still need to get used to – or the two touchpads on the steering wheel. The car is packed with comfort, connectivity and convenience options. The only thing that really annoys me is the low position of the start/stop button as this is exactly where my right knee is.
Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe 400d
The Mercedes-Benz GLE 400d comes with a 2.9 liter inline six-cylinder engine internally known as OM 656. It is paired with a 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox. The R6 engine produces 330hp and no-less than 700Nm of torque. The torque is available from as low as 1,200 rpm which allows for effortless overtaking and a sprint from 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds. Top speed is limited to 240 km/h.
The GLE Coupe 400d is the only model available at the moment with the excellent new E-Active Body Control suspension system. That alone should be a reason to consider the 400d variant of the GLE Coupe.
Mercedes-Benz GLE 350de
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 de
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The 350de combines a small 4 cylinder diesel engine with a electric powertrain with a capacity of 31,2 kWh. According to the NEDC emission cycle this is good for 106 full electric kilometers. Combined the 350de delivers 320hp and 700Nm of torque. 0-100 km/h sprint is done in 6.9 seconds. 80% charge is reached in 20 minutes.
The normal GLE plug-in hybrid was the first hybrid with more than 100 kilometers range and the GLE Coupe is the first car in this segment with such a significant all electric range. Thanks to its exceptional fuel economy and low CO2 emissions the GLE Coupe 350de will be an attractive buy in many European countries with high CO2 taxes.
Mercedes-AMG GLE Coupe 53 4Matic
Brilliant Blue Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 Coupe
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The sportiest GLE Coupe available from launch is the AMG GLE Coupe 53 4Matic. The 3.0 six-cylinder petrol engine packs 435hp and 520Nm with an additional 22hp and 250Nm of boost thanks to the 48V mild-hybrid system. 0-100 km/h is done in 5.3 seconds and the GLE Coupe 53 AMG has a top speed of 250 km/h. In Sport Plus the GLE Coupe 53 AMG provides some audible drama with enhanced engine sound in the cabin and some pops and bangs from the exhaust. Not as loud as a 63 model but still entertaining.
The suspension is firmer and the panamericana grill along with wider wheel arches, AMG sideskirts and an AMG exhaust express the sportiness of this AMG model that fills the gap between the regular line-up and the upcoming GLE Coupe 63 AMG. Inside you can find AMG specific trim and MBUX has been expanded with a AMG track pace function, even though I doubt many customers will use that in their GLE Coupes.
What to Spec?
Thanks to the new WLTP emission certification process there is are a lot less individual options for customers to chose when speccing their car. Because the weight and emission effects of all optional extras have to be calculated most car manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz grouped individual options in packages to significantly reduce the number of possible configurations. But there is still something to chose so here are our recommended things to spec on your new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe:
E-Active Body Control – Full active suspension system which recognized bumps and holes in the road and adjusts the suspension so that you don’t feel a thing. Nice gimmick is the ‘Curve’ setting which leans the car into the corner like a boat or skier. This suspension system is what sets the GLE truly apart from the competition.
Driver Assistance Package Plus – This package includes the most important safety and driver assistance systems including the latest version of Mercedes-Benz’s Adaptive cruise control with speed limit recognition and adaption, traffic jam assist and lane assist.
Energizing Package Plus – This includes the best seats Mercedes-Benz offers today including seat heating, seat cooling and massage function.
Keyless-Go Comfort Package – Once you had this in your car you never want to go back to using the key to open and close your car.
Parking Package with 360 degree camera – Due to the sheer size of the GLE Coupe and sloping roof line with a larger than usual black spot the 360 degree camera is a big help in narrow parking garages and inner-city streets.
The new GLE Coupe is a very attractive car. The coupe-style body gives it a sporty appearance but obviously limits its practicality compared to the normal GLE. The optional E-Active Body Control suspension is only available on the 400d but adds a whole new dimension to comfort and driving fun which makes it an engine variant worth considering. We are obviously eager to try the upcoming GLE 63 AMG but the GLE 53 AMG provides a good alternative for people with a somewhat smaller budget that still looking for fun. The GLE 350de with 100km full-electric range is very attractive for people looking for a car to commute in.