It’s been some time now since Mercedes-Benz rebranded their SUV line, the much-loved M-Class turning into the GLE back in 2015. The German luxury automaker also introduced a Coupé variant at the same time, which is now in its second generation representing a sportier choice for buyers.
“The GLE Coupé blends the imposing power of an off-road vehicle with the emotively appealing sportiness and elegance of a coupé,” said Gorden Wagener, Chief design officer of Daimler AG, in a news release. “The sensuous, reduced design idiom in combination with the extreme proportions creates a unique design statement.”
The vehicle looks more imposing thanks to dimensions that are 39 millimetres longer and seven millimetres wider than the outgoing model. Compared to the standard crossover, the wheelbase is 60 millimetres shorter providing a sharper handling experience. Other differences between the two include a flatter-angled windshield complementing the sloping rear roof — a by-product of the latter creating a sliver of a rear window — and fatter rear fenders.
Inside the cabin is pretty standard contemporary Mercedes-Benz fare with the two large 12.3-inch MBUX infotainment screens and comfortable, supportive seating. Our tester was upholstered in the Macchiato Beige ARTICO vegan leather that looked nice but felt hard and artificial to the touch. Same goes for the entry-level feeling steering wheel with matching black plastic paddle shifters.
Fortunately, cargo space hasn’t been compromised by the fastback form factor like on some competitor offerings. There’s a generous 655 litres available, opening up to 1,790 litres when the second row is folded — an improvement of 70 litres.
The 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder motor has some serious get-up-and-go developing 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The friskiness is due in part to the EQ Boost mild hybrid system featuring an onboard 48-volt Integrated Starter Generator (ISG) unit, capable of supplying a burst of enhanced performance in the form of 21 horsepower and a whopping 184 lb-ft of torque, which helps bridge the acceleration gap as the turbocharger is spooling up.
It also enables “gliding” under low load where the engine is actually automatically switched off and electric propulsion kicks in. Kinetic energy is recuperated and sent back to the battery during deceleration.
Another quirky feature of the ISG is to supply power to the optional AIRMATIC Air Suspension. The springs and dampeners can be individually adjusted at each wheel allowing for a handful of neat functions. For example, when activated CURVE leans the GLE into the direction of a turn to counteract body roll and minimize occupant discomfort. When off-roading, a rocking mode causes the entire mid-size crossover to bounce up and down to increase traction.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4MATIC+ Coupé starts at $86,600.