The picture displayed above is of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG, the newest member to the SUV based coupé segment in the auto industry, which now has two members, it and the BMW X6. The formula to create this automotive oddity is very simple, first you develop and design a proper, family oriented SUV which has ample room to carry five people in luxury and their cargo behind them. Then, to complete this Frankenstein transformation, chop off the roof above the cargo area, replace it with a sleeker, coupe-like roof line, make it less practical and finally sell it to consumers for more money than the standard, proper roofed cousin, in this case the redesigned and renamed Mercedes-Benz M class.
This formula was first used by BMW seven years ago, when they introduced the revolutionary X6, a coupé based on the standard X5. Compared to the X5, the X6 was uglier, heavier, and less practical, as shown in the picture to the left. But, this did not stop BMW from selling it to few wealthy consumers who did not mind standing out among the crowd. By selling it, BMW not only created a new segment in the automobile industry, but also generated healthy profits for themselves.
After watching BMW reap the benefits of being the only one offering a SUV based coupé for the past seven years, Mercedes-Benz is finally introducing its own version of the SUV based coupé in the form of the 2016 GLE 450 AMG. When it launches in the U.S. sometime next year, it will be available in only two trims, the “standard” GLE 450 AMG Sport and the more powerful GLE 63 AMG. The GLE 450 AMG is powered by a twin-turbo 3.5 liter V6 which produces a healthy 362 horsepower and 384 lb. ft, of torque. The GLE 63 AMG will be powered by the hand-built, twin-turbo 5.5 liter V8 which should make more than 500 horsepower and close to 600 lb.ft of torque.
The Europeans and the rest of the world will also receive two additional models on top of the two versions mentioned above. The GLE 400 will be powered by a twin-turbo, 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine, powerful enough to generate 329 horsepower and close to 360 lb.ft of torque. The GLE 350d will be powered by a 3.0 liter, twin-turbo, diesel V6 which should produce 255 horsepower and more than 400 lb. ft. of torque.
Regardless of the trim level and engine displacement, the entire GLE lineup will come standard with All Wheel Drive, a 40/60 torque split between the front and rear axles and a new, nine-speed automatic transmission. In the GLE 450 AMG, the peak torque output is between 1400 and 4000 RPM and the nine-speed transmission should keep the engine in the ideal torque range.
When launched in the States, the GLE 450 AMG will offer both 21 and 22 inch diameter rims. Regardless of the rim size, the rubber on the rear axle will be wider compared to the front axle. The standard 21 inch rims on the car comes with 275 mm front tires and 315 mm rear tires. By ticking the option list for the 22 inch rims, the car is fitted with 285 mm front tires and 325 mm rear tires (so, do not expect a spare tire in the trunk of the GLE). By offering wide and staggered tires on the entire GLE model range, Mercedes-Benz anticipates its owners to drive them in a more spirited manner while highlighting the capabilities of the chassis.
Speaking of the chassis, the GLE model range will come standard with five adjustable driving modes. The modes consist of comfort, slippery, sport and sport + for the steering, suspension and engine response. There is an additional individual mode which allows the driver to choose the ideal setup for their driving experience.
The entire GLE lineup will come standard with the latest active and passive safety features and a COMMAND infotainment system with a 8.0 inch display screen. Optional features include Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, rear seat entertainment system, a panoramic roof and leather interior with many color options.
Compared to the BMW X6 range, the new Mercedes-Benz GLE range looks more attractive and better executed both inside and out, but the success of this model shall be determined by the consumer’s wallet and the general automobile industry. The GLE 450 AMG and the GLE 63 AMG will debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show and in the meantime, checkout the images of the forthcoming GLE below.
Images and Information sourced from Mercedes-Benz.