Mercedes-Benz coupifies an SUV

BMW's X6 must be popular enough, as Mercedes-Benz unveils the 2016 GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe to compete in the small SUV-coupe segment.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé

I wouldn't have thought that BMW's X6 was all that popular, but Mercedes-Benz has decided to take a bite of the SUV-coupe market share. Today the company released photos and specifications for its latest, the GLE Coupe, which follows on the Concept Coupe shown off last April.

If the GLE model doesn't sound familiar, that's because Mercedes-Benz recently shook up its naming structure. The GLE used to be the M-class , seen on dealer lots in the US as the ML.

The new model announced for the US goes by the somewhat strained name of the GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe. The AMG part of that name is a little confusing, as Mercedes-Benz also announced a new brand this year, Mercedes-AMG . This new SUV-coupe will come under the standard Mercedes-Benz brand, although the press release notes that a Mercedes-AMG version will likely be announced next year.

Mercedes-Benz presents the GLE Coupe SUV (pictures)

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So what we have is an SUV with four doors and a fastback design, taking off some of the cargo area in favor of a sportier look. It sits on big 21-inch wheels, with 22-inch wheels optional. A twin turbo 3-liter V-6 engine sits under the hood, similar in format to the engine in the current ML400 SUV. However, where that engine only makes 329 horsepower, Mercedes-Benz tunes it up to 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque in the GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe.

That engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. A dial on the console changes drive modes between Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. The latter mode will let drivers save specific settings for suspension, throttle and steering.

Aiding ride comfort and handling, the GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe comes with an adaptive air suspension and all-wheel drive, which defaults to a 40:60 front rear torque split. Mercedes-Benz's Active Curve System uses the adaptive suspension to maintain stability in the turns, and actively bank the car for passenger comfort.

The new model comes standard with LED headlights and will offer Mercedes-Benz's impressive roster of driver assistance features, including its Steering Assist system, which can keep the car in its lane in slow traffic without driver input.

The Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe goes on sale in summer of next year as a 2016 model.