Mercedes’ swoopy, deceptively named GLE Coupe targets BMW’s X6

They say anything is possible, and that apparently includes calling a four-door SUV a “coupe.” BMW has proven this to be a business as profitable as it is oxymoronic, leading Mercedes-Benz to concoct a version of its own.

Previewed by the Concept Coupe SUV unveiled earlier this year at the Beijing Motor Show, the 2016 Mercedes GLE Coupe follows the same formula as the BMW X6, draping a low roofline over an existing SUV platform, in this the M-Class, which is now the GLE-Class under Mercedes’ new naming scheme.

The production version’s styling is pretty close to the concept’s and that’s a good thing. The swoopy roofline is matched by a front end that seems inspired by the smaller GLA-Class, giving the GLE Coupe a more dynamic and more-appealing look than its Bavarian rival.

2016 Mercedes GLE Coupe

Underneath the sheetmetal, the GLE Coupe will be the first Mercedes model to get the new AMG Sport treatment, a milder alternative to the full-bore, limited edition AMG models. There will be one of those for the GLE Coupe lineup too, though.

So instead of a big V8, the GLE450 AMG features a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 producing 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. It’s teamed with Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission.

Those items are standard on all GLE Coupe models, but the 450 AMG gets a rearward torque bias, as well as standard air suspension, five driving modes with a high degree of adjustability, and its own amped-up styling.

If that’s not enough, there will likely be a more intense GLE63 AMG Coupe further down the line.

The other GLE Coupe models at launch will be the GLE400 4Matic with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 333 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, and the GLE350d, which has a turbodiesel engine that produces 258 hp and 457 lb-ft.

The GLE450 AMG and GLE400 seem like a lock for the U.S., but the GLE350d will likely be offered in Europe only.

2016 Mercedes GLE Coupe

On the inside, the GLE Coupe resembles many recent Mercedes models, down to the new touchpad controller for the COMAND infotainment system. The display screen is a fixed unit, but it’s better integrated than the tacked-on screens of some Mercedes models.

There’s also a full array of electronic driver aids, including Distronic Plus with steering assist and pedestrian detection, a parking assist with 360-degree camera view, and “Magic Vision Control” adaptive windshield wipers.

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe will make its public debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show in January, followed by a U.S. launch later next year. Pricing and additional details will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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