According to Mercedes-Benz’s new naming convention, their M-Class SUV will now be known as the GLE; but instead of presenting the all-new GLE, the German carmaker went on to introduce the sportier and more athletic sibling first, called the GLE Coupé.

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QUICK FACTS

NameMercedes-Benz GLE 350 d 4MATICMercedes-Benz GLE 400 4MATICMercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC
Drive TypePermanent all-wheel drive (4MATIC)
Engine2,987 cc V6 diesel turbo2,996 cc V6 twin-turbo2,996 cc V6 twin-turbo
Transmission9G-TRONIC 9-speed Automatic9G-TRONIC 9-speed Automatic9G-TRONIC 9-speed Automatic
Max Power258 hp @ 3,600 rpm333 hp @ 5,500 rpm367 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Max Torque620 Nm @ 1,600 – 2,400 rpm480 Nm @ 1,400 – 4,000 rpm520 Nm @ 1,400 – 4,000 rpm

 

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The GLE measures 4,900 mm long, 2,003 mm wide, and 1,731mm tall with a wheelbase measuring 2,915 mm. However the GLE is still based on the current W166 M-Class. From these official pictures, it’s pretty obvious that the GLE is set to go head-to-head with that particular SAV from its direct German competitor.

EXTERIOR

The GLE Coupé takes the cues from the other Mercedes Coupés such as the CLA and the S-Class Coupé. The muscular front has a very short overhang, while the nose-mounted three-pointed star fills up the grille and the bonnet bulges with twin power domes and even has a pair of mean-looking vents at the top.

Like the CLA, the GLE’s side profile features a low sloping roofline but unlike the CLA, the GLE adopts a simpler character lines running along the sides. Depending on the variant, Mercedes offers up to 22-inch wheels to fill up the huge wheel arches.

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The high belt line rises up at the end of the low side windows, leading to a rear that’s heavily influenced by the S-Class Coupé with the slim rear lights and bumper-mounted number plate. To complete the SUV look, the lower part of the body is finished with black plastic trim and chrome-plated underride guard for the front and rear bumpers.

INTERIOR

The interior is lifted from the existing M-Class but has been given a refresh with a new display screen and a new steering wheel. Like any other Mercedes, the GLE has the COMAND controller with touchpad on the center console. Next to the COMAND controller is a rotary knob for the new DYNAMIC SELECT variable dynamic control system with five modes: INDIVIDUAL, COMFORT, SLIPPERY, SPORT and SPORT+.

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The GLE seats five, and the maximum cargo volume is 1,650 litres with the rear seats folded down. The refreshed cabin should make its way on the upcoming full-size GLE as well.

PERFORMANCE

Three variants of the GLE were announced, and neither of them a slouch by any standards. The GLE 350 d comes with a 3.0-litre turbodiesel V6, the GLE 400 with a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, and the GLE 450 AMG with a more powerful 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6. The GLE 450 AMG is not a full-fledged AMG variant, but it fits snugly between the lesser trims and the proper AMG variant.

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The oil burning GLE 350 d produces the most amount of torque in the model range – 258 hp and 620 Nm of torque, while the petrol GLE 400 develops 333 hp and 480Nm of torque. The range-topping GLE 450 AMG dishes out a thumping 367 hp and 520 Nm of torque. We’re keen to see more numbers on paper, but that’s about all Mercedes is giving us, so no mandatory century sprint and top speed figures here, unfortunately.

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All GLE models are paired with the 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission, permanently driving all four wheels via the brand’s 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system. On the GLE 350 d and the GLE 400, the torque is split 50:50 front to rear, but the GLE 450 AMG gets a more rear biased configuration at 40:60. The AIRMATIC Air Suspension and the infinitely variable Adaptive Damping System (ADS Plus) are optional, but comes as standard on the GLE 450 AMG.

WHAT ELSE?

Standard equipment on the GLE includes the Audio 20 CD system with eight loudspeakers, powered Easy-Pack tailgate, reverse camera with guide lines, and the Dynamic Select handling control system. Numerous options can be specified on the GLE, such as the panoramic glass roof, rear seat entertainment system with remote control as well as Bang & Olufsen Sound AMG sound system.

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The model in which the GLE is based on, the W166 M-Class 350 is offered here in Malaysia at a price of RM570,888 (OTR without insurance), so it’s safe to assume that it’s only a matter of time before the GLE arrives on our shores.

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IMAGE GALLERY