This is the Mercedes GLE Coupe, an SUV/coupe crossover thing. Clearly, Mercedes has seen the success of the BMW X6 and decided it wants to get in on the act.
The GLE Coupe shares much with the upcoming GLE (formerly ML) SUV, but has been re-engineered for extra sleekness and sportiness.
Obviously, the biggest change over the GLE is that curving roofline, leading down to a rear end that borrows heavily from the S-Class Coupe.
The chassis and running gear have been tuned to give a comfortable yet vigorous driving experience. Central to that is the Dynamic Select system, with focussed Sport and Sport+ modes, to go with the usual Comfort setting.
The various modes alter the ‘hard’ points of the drivetrain – engine, suspension, gearbox – and ‘soft’ points, including the engine noise and instrument display.
At launch, the GLE Coupe comes with a choice of three engines, headed by the GLE450 AMG. This is the first in the new line of ‘AMG sports’ models, similar to BMW’s M Performance and Audi’s ‘S’ ranges.
The GLE450 is powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, producing 362bhp and 383lb/ft of torque. A 328bhp, 354lb/ft version of the same engine powers the GLE400.
The volume seller will be the 254bhp, 457lb/ft GLE350d. All engines are mated to 4MATIC four-wheel-drive and 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic gearboxes.
A 40:60 rearward torque bias should enliven the GLE450’s handling; the other models get a straight 50:50 split. Performance and economy numbers haven’t been announced yet.
In due course, a full-fat Mercedes-AMG GLE63 Coupe, powered by a 500+bhp 5.5-litre, twin-turbo V8, will join the range.
Steel suspension is standard, while Airmatic air suspension with ADS Plus adaptive dampers is optional. Wheel sizes start at 20-inches, with a set of 22’s on the options list.
As you’d expect, multitudinous safety systems are available that theoretically mean the GLE Coupe can drive itself. Curve Dynamic Assist, Crosswind Assist and Collision Prevention Assist Plus (that’s a lot of assist) come as standard.
Other standard kit includes an electric tailgate, reversing camera and LED headlights. The options list can turn it into a mobile office/home cinema.
The GLE Coupe is quite a lot more practical than the X6, with proper seating for five, up to 1,650 litres of bootspace and a 3.5 ton towing capacity. Which is useful.
Mercedes expects the GLE Coupe to attract younger buyers to its SUVs, particularly in China. The extra practicality makes it easier to justify over here, but it will probably be just as controversial with the neighbours as an X6.
Still, if it floats your boat, you’ll be able to buy one from next summer. Prices are expected to be around £10,000 over the equivalent GLE.