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Driven: Mercedes’ GLE Coupe blasts in

Baby got back: Mercedes’ GLE Coupe is clearly targeting the BMW X6, but the car-maker says it will add volume to overall GLE sales Down Under.

Benz is late to the SUV coupe party but says GLE will bring volume gains

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Mercedes-Benz logo23 Sep 2015

By STUART MARTIN

MERCEDES-BENZ has finally launched its BMW X6-chasing GLE Coupe in Australia, and the company is expecting sales gains across its GLE range thanks to the swoopy newcomer.

The German car-maker says the new GLE Coupe range possesses the “sporty nature of a coupe” with the characteristics of an SUV, and is using the tag-line “Make the best of every ground” in promoting its latest addition.

Mercedes-Benz Australia senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy said he is anticipating some volume gains for the revamped GLE range, compared with the outgoing ML-Class.

“We're expecting about one in five or six is estimated to be a coupe,” he said at the media launch in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. “The coupe will add some extra volume but there will be a little bit of substitution, but there will be a net gain.

“I reckon 20 per cent of the volume will be Coupe over time, possibly more, it's hard to judge. You can compare to the BMW X5 and X6. The (GLE63) AMG will be pretty popular, as will the 450,” he said.

The all-wheel drive GLE Coupe weighs an extra 75kg and is 72mm longer than its revamped and renamed GLE SUV sibling, as well as being 68mm wider and 65mm lower.

Benz claims a slight reduction in headroom (between 30 and 40mm), while boot capacity of 650 litres with seats up and 1650 litres folded for the coupe is 40 litres/360 litres less than the more traditional GLE.

Among the new GLE five-seater coupe's claims is the widest rear bench in its class and it can also be equipped with another segment first, an electric trailer coupling, with the towed vehicle under the stability control system's trailer stabilisation function.

The standard safety fare of the GLE Coupe includes nine airbags, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and Stop and Go Pilot, PreSafe braking and PreSafe Plus, Crosswind Assist, active blind spot and lane keeping assistance, LED lighting with adaptive automatic high beam.

The entry variant shares the GLE SUV's mid-range drivetrain – the 190kW/620Nm six-cylinder GLE350d 4Matic, priced from $121,900 plus on-roads and equipped with the nine-speed automatic transmission.

Mercedes says it consumes 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, a sprint from zero to 100km/h in seven seconds, and it has a standard equipment list that includes the AMG bodykit, the Dynamic Select drivetrain system, all-wheel drive, air suspension, 21-inch AMG alloy wheels, LED intelligent lighting, satellite navigation, an automatic powered tailgate, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system, Nappa leather trim and power-adjustable heated AMG sports front seats.

Priced from $141,900, there is now an intermediate AMG model arriving alongside the full-tilt AMG flagship – the GLE450 AMG 4Matic Coupe sits neatly between the BMW X6 xDrive40d at $128,400 and the X6 xDrive50i at $151,210.

Powered by the 270kW/520Nm (the latter between 1800rpm and 4000rpm) twin-turbo V6, the 450 lays claim to a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.7 seconds and a fuel economy figure of 9.4L/100km.

Standard features above the entry variant include 22-inch AMG alloy wheels, tyre pressure monitoring, a sliding panoramic sunroof, the Active Curve Sport Plus adjustable adaptive-damping suspension system (which uses hydraulically split anti-roll bars to fight roll) and the anti-theft package.

The 450 AMG is – unlike the rest of the petrol-powered GLE range – fitted with the nine-speed automatic transmission and it runs a 40/60 front to rear torque split within the all-wheel drive system.

The flagship Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S 4Matic Coupe is priced from $198,900 and is powered by the now-familiar 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 430kW and 760Nm (which can be monitored on the centre display) running the same 40/60 front/rear split as the 450 but the brawny power unit retains the seven-speed auto.

The price paid for the title of most powerful is a small step up over the primary competition – the BMW X6 M at $194,310.

The run to 100km/h is completed in 4.2 seconds and top speed is governed at 280km/h the flagship coupe's features list also includes AMG performance exhaust, the Air-Balance package (which filters and ionises incoming air), digital TV reception, heated and ventilated power-adjustable massaging front seats and AMG Nappa leather trim.

It too sits on 22-inch AMG wheels as standard, covering red AMG brake callipers, with the features list also including soft-close doors and a powered tailgate.

The cabin gets adjustable side bolsters, a chunky AMG Performance steering wheel and heated and cooled cupholders.

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe pricing*
350d (a)$121,900
450 (a)$141,900
AMG 63 S (a)$198,900
*Excludes on-road costs.

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