First Drive: Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe
SECTOR Premium SUV PRICE From €56,550–€106,450 approx FUEL 7.2l/100km CO2 187g/km
At a glance, the GLE bears a strong resemblance to a BMW X6 and I’m sure that is no accident, but it’s debatable how much further the comparison stands up. Despite the coupe roofline, suggesting a crossover type chassis, the GLE coupe is M-Class underneath and it feels like it. So if you like comfort above all else and go for the Merc’s rakish looks, this car is for you, if your budget will run to it.
Launched last year, the GLE Coupe is available with a range of powertrain options including the 258hp 3.0-litre V6 350d equipped with 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission fitted to our test car. It’s an excellent gearbox and complements the car’s relaxed, comfortable nature. More powerful options come in the shape of the 367hp 450 AMG and 585hp AMG GLE 63. There are also GLE 400 and GLE 500 models in the range producing 328hp and 449hp respectively. Not all power options are available in all markets, so it is advisable to check what is available for you.
Given that the 350d engine offers the lowest CO2 emissions at 197g/km, this variant is likely to be more popular with fleets, but with a starting price around €56,500, drivers are less likely to be so concerned about emissions and fuel consumption.
4Matic permanent four-wheel-drive comes as standard, although the settings vary according to model. Torque is split 50/50 for the diesel but 40/60 front/rear on some more powerful models. Our UK specification GLE Coupe came with Airmatic air suspension as standard and adaptive damping permitting drivers to choose between comfort and sport settings, while a self-levelling function would be welcomed by those choosing the GLE Coupe for towing. Additional standard equipment included Active Parking Assist, Keyless-Go starting, a powered tailgate, reversing camera and LED intelligent lighting. Check the specification for your particular market.
Part of the GLE’s appeal will be in the high driving position. The driver gets a good all-round view of the road and passengers enjoy plenty of space. At around 2.25 tonnes empty, it’s a heavy car although 258hp can push it to 100km/h in 7.0 seconds, so it has good performance. But it’s not designed to provide the last word in handling.
The Dynamic Select drive mode provides a setting for slippery surfaces and individual tailoring so it should provide added traction for towing horseboxes or caravans off-road. We didn’t have the opportunity to drive off-road or with a trailer, but the weight and four-wheel-drive combination should ensure useful performance for both.
It comes with a long list of standard equipment, which might be expected for the price. Perhaps more importantly for fleet customers, it’s a Mercedes-Benz and that means it comes with a long list of standard safety equipment. On our test car this included Active Bonnet to protect pedestrians in an impact, Collision Prevention Assist Plus which will intervene if the car is too close to the vehicle in front and Crosswind Assist to prevent the car being blown sideways when exposed to strong winds.
The GLE Coupe is a car for those who make comfort a priority and need a car with good towing capacity, combined with sporty looks.