Emphasis here is on style, design and sporting feel
What is it?
The Mercedes-Benz GLE450 AMG Coupe is Benz’s answer to the BMW X6. Benz’s old ML is now called GLE and the Coupe is the ML/GLE with — you guessed it — more of a coupe body. The GLE450’s name reflects Benz’s recent nomenclature reorg, conceptually linked to the E-Class, mechanically with the ML: All Benz crossovers are now GLs and have a letter telling us where they sit in relation to the cars. So the GLE occupies roughly the same spot in the SUV hierarchy that the E-Class occupies on the car side.
So basically, the GLE450 AMG Coupe is more emotional than rational. The emphasis is on style, design and sporting feel. To that end, the Coupe is significantly restyled front and rear and, most obviously, through its sloping roof and raked pillars.
Anyway, we get two versions, the GLE 450 AMG Coupe and the big-dog AMG GLE 63 S Coupe.
Like the C450 AMG 4Matic we drove last week, the GLE 450 AMG Coupe gets its juice from Benz’s 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, delivering 362 hp and 384 lb-ft paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission — the only powertrain offered at launch. 4Matic all-wheel drive is standard, as is Airmatic suspension and Benz’s Active Curve System. We haven’t driven the 63 S yet, but — with 577 hp on tap — we sure want to!
The 450 has five driving modes, each potentially more dynamic than the last: comfort, slippery (for snow and ice), sport, sport-plus and individual. The modes are selected with a knob on the center console.
The GLE450 AMG gets the standard Mercedes cabin with a scroll wheel for controlling the main screen, buttons for the rest.
What’s it like to drive?
Well, it’s a Benz, so generally speaking it’s quiet, smooth and solid. The steering is quicker and generally firmer; we say “generally” because it depends on the mode. Ditto the suspension rates.
The Lite AMG treatment means it’s fast and grippy, but as expected you do feel the height more than in the C450 — though we must say body roll is controlled particularly in sport or sport-plus.
Those mode names speak for themselves: Sport and sport-plus turn the 450 Coupe into a more dynamic vehicle with a nice pop! exhaust and quicker shifts, though the ride suffers a bit. Comfort is the other end: comfortable and relaxed. Slippery, well, you can probably guess. Individual allows you to program and store personal preferences in the control algorithms.
Do I want it?
As crossovers go, it’s composed and offers better performance than most, and with all-wheel drive you can drive it year ’round.
Hmmmm. Could be a hit.