2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe: First Look


Competes with: BMW X6 and any other SUV billed as a “coupe”

Looks like: A BMW X6 wearing a Mercedes CLA-Class face mask

Drivetrain: 362-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V-6; nine-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Late summer 2015

Coupe-inspired SUVs aren’t exactly lighting up the sales charts — BMW sold 421 units of the X6 in November — but Mercedes-Benz isn’t letting that keep it from launching the 2016 GLE Coupe. It pains me to call this thing a coupe because it’s an SUV and has four doors, though the coupelike inspiration is there with a sleek fastback profile, and Mercedes is gearing this odd duck for sports-car-like performance rather than off-road prowess.

Related: Mercedes-Benz Renames Much of its Lineup

GLE is Mercedes’ new nomenclature for the former midsize ML-Class SUV, a ‘ute that features two rows of seating and room for five occupants. That configuration carries over to the GLE Coupe. The GLE 450 AMG 4Matic trim level will be the first to debut late next summer with its standard twin-turbocharged V-6, automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

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It’s hard to not see anything but a BMW X6 when looking at the GLE Coupe. The similar roofline profile, taillights and high beltline scream “X6.” Up front, it’s all Mercedes with CLA/C/S-Class-like styling including that massive upright grille. Exterior features include standard full LED headlights and AMG styling enhancements in front and rear. Wheel choices include lightweight AMG alloy 21-inch wheels standard with 275/45R/21 front tires and supercar-wide 315/40R/21 rear tires. Not big enough? The optional 22-inch wheels are 285/40R/22 up front and 325/35R/22 out back.


The GLE Coupe’s interior styling isn’t drastically different than the ML-Class and is injected with a dose of sports-car attitude. Unique gauges change their look depending on the driving mode, while the standard accent package includes aluminum and wood highlights; racy carbon fiber is optional. Perhaps most interesting is the partial floating 8-inch information display in the center console that, unlike the C-Class, doesn’t sit awkwardly on top of the dashboard but instead is integrated into the top of the dash. The GLE Coupe uses a center knob and touchpad for controlling various functions of the multimedia system.

There’s 58 cubic feet of maximum cargo room accessed through a standard power liftgate; the X6 has 53.9 cubic feet of storage space.

Under the Hood

While more variants could be on the way, the sole trim offered at the GLE Coupe’s launch is the GLE Coupe 450 AMG 4Matic with a 362-hp, twin-turbocharged V-6 paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive that splits torque with a rear-bias of 40:60. Despite the AMG moniker, this isn’t the all-out performance version. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a higher-performance GLE Coupe offered down the line, much like BMW’s 555-hp X6 M.

Mercedes’ Dynamic Select modes of Individual, Comfort, Slippery, Sport and Sport+ tailor transmission, suspension and other functions like engine sound and gauges to the various programming. Individual mode is customizable to craft a package of functions to an individual’s liking. The GLE Coupe sits on a standard air suspension and has an active damping system that will automatically lower the car at higher speeds.

Safety Features

Standard safety features include a backup camera with dynamic guidelines and pre-collision warning system and braking assist that provides optimal brake pressure at the sign of a collision. Available safety features include a Driving Assistance Package with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assist.

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Managing Editor Joe Bruzek’s 22 years of automotive experience doesn’t count the lifelong obsession that started as a kid admiring his dad’s 1964 Chevrolet Corvette — and continues to this day. Joe’s been an automotive journalist with for 16 years, writing shopper-focused car reviews, news and research content. As Managing Editor, one of his favorite areas of focus is helping shoppers understand electric cars and how to determine whether going electric is right for them. In his free time, Joe maintains a love-hate relationship with his 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am that he wishes would fix itself. LinkedIn: Email Joe Bruzek

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