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2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE450 AMG is a sports-luxury SUV with an angle (pictures)

Mercedes takes on BMW's quirky X6 with a punchy, high-riding hatchback SUV of its own.

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Chris Paukert
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
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The GLE450 AMG Coupe has a properly aggressive stance, with the corners marked out by large alloys and gaping air intakes.

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An even more aggressive front-end look is offered by the GLE450 AMG Coupe's more powerful brother, the AMG GLE63.

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The GLE450 AMG Coupe's roofline is slightly more accommodating than that of its BMW X6 rival.

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The GLE450 AMG Coupe's cabin is unerringly well finished, and there is a wide range of leathers and woods to choose from.

This particular example is finished in optional Saddle Brown/Black leather ($1,620) and open-pore brown Ash wood trim ($160).

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The GLE450 AMG Coupe's sloped roofline doesn't do wonders for rear three-quarter visibility, but at least blind-spot monitoring is optional to help compensate.

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The dead-on view is this Mercedes' most aggressive -- and most conventional -- view.

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It's here where the GLE450 AMG Coupe looks like a swollen hatchback...because it is.

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Active LED headlamps with curve illumination are standard on the GLE450 AMG.

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"4MATIC" is Mercedes-speak for all-wheel drive, which comes standard on this model.

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These split-spoke 21-inch alloys feature a machine-surfaced face and painted trim. They also show off the model's massive brake discs nicely.

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The engine's exhaust outlets are nicely integrated into the rear bumper's lower-third brightwork.

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These power thrones feature heating and cooling functions, along with massage.

They can be adjusted to be wider and more accommodating for casual driving, or snugged tightly to your body using the adjustable air bladders for more enthusiastic driving.

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The rear seats are more capacious than those of their chief rival, but it's still not a long-distance pleasure cruise back here. At least it has heated surfaces and independent climate control.

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The GLE450's cargo bay is quite long, but it's also rather shallow owing to the sloping backlight.

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The GLE's COMAND system multiway controller knob and finger-swipe pad takes some getting used to, but it will be familiar to recent Mercedes owners.

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This five-mode drive selector truly alters the personality of the GLE450 AMG by tweaking things like the throttle tuning, transmission shift schedule, suspension firmness and steering weight.

Unfortunately, the iconography and writing are too small to be safely manipulated while under way.

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Mercedes still steadfastly holds on to a CD player slot and a numeric keypad for presets and phone number dialing.

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The GLE450 AMG Coupe's air suspension can be raised and lowered as conditions dictate, and the in-cluster screen will tell you what state the system is in.

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The multifunction screen between the speedometer and the tachometer allows you to use the steering-wheel buttons to jockey between music selections without taking your hands off the wheel.

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A striking red-line panel cover distinguishes the GLE450 AMG Coupe's engines from lesser models, but unlike its higher-power GLE63 cousin, its engine is not hand-built and signed by the individual who made it.

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