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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - GLE Coupe

First look: Mercedes unveils its X6 fighter

Chop top: Mercedes-Benz’s GLE Coupe is based on the facelifted ML large SUV due next year.

Benz GLE Coupe to put new slant on Mercedes’ ML-Class SUV range from mid-2015

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Mercedes-Benz logo10 Dec 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

MERCEDES-BENZ has formally revealed its BMW X6 fighter, the GLE Coupe, ahead of its Detroit motor show unveiling in January and 2015 global roll-out that will include Australia about the middle of next year.

The sloped-backed wagon – a first for the three-pointed star brand – also previews a makeover for the ML-Class SUV that will not only share the new look but also the GLE badge under Mercedes’ new naming system when it arrives around same time as the coupe.

Sitting on the same third-generation SUV platform as the current ML, the GLE Coupe will be built for the world in Alabama alongside the GLE wagon.

Mercedes-Benz says the GLE Coupe combines the sporty character of a coupe with the robust characteristics of an SUV.

Officially, powertrains include six-cylinder diesel and petrol, including an AMG flagship, the 270kW bi-turbo V6 GLE 450 AMG Coupe. However, Mercedes sources say a four-cylinder diesel is also possible, but unlike the current ML, there is no mention of an AMG V8.

4Matic all-wheel drive and nine-speed automatic transmission will be standard on all variants.

Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific public relations, product and corporate communications senior manager David McCarthy confirmed the GLE Coupe would land in Australian showrooms about the middle of next year, armed with similar powertrain choices as the ML (GLE).

He said the petrol and diesel six-cylinder and AMG variants were a lock for Australian release, but a four-cylinder diesel was still a subject of discussion.

Mr McCarthy confirmed the coupe would carry a price premium to the GLE, but said it would be “not huge”.

BMW’s recently refreshed X6 range starts at $115,400 plus on-road costs. The petrol 3.0-litre xDrive35i X6 carries a $13,770 premium over the similarly powered X5.

Unlike the X6, the GLE Coupe appears to get no V8 alternative, at least for now.

Mercedes describes the GLE Coupe as a trailblazer for the versatile vehicle class, designed to win new customers to Mercedes.

According to the official press release, the range starts with the diesel GLE350 d powered by a 190kW/620Nm V6.

The entry level petrol model is the GLE400, loaded with a 245kW/480Nm version of the bi-turbo V6.

Both models get 20-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels as standard, with 21-inch items optional.

And like most Benz models these days, the multi-mode Dynamic Select system offers a range of driving modes, from comfort to sports (with Sports+ on the AMG variant).

The GLE450 AMG Coupe gets the AMG-enhanced version of the 3.0-litre petrol V6, producing 270kW of power and 520Nm of torque.

The 4Matic all-wheel-drive system puts the grunt to the tarmac via a 40:60 bias to the rear on the AMG version, but 50:50 on the less powerful variants.

Apart from AMG body styling, the sportiest GLE Coupe gets 21-inch alloys with fatter 315/40 rubber at the rear, along with air suspension (the latter is optional on other variants).

Mercedes claims the five-seat interior of the GLE has the widest back seat in its class, along with the biggest – “world record for coupes” – luggage space of 1650 litres.

Towing capacity is a claimed 3.5 tonnes, putting it up there with the hairy-chested utes.

Eleven paint finishes will be available, with seven of those metallic.

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