Its based on the GLE, but has a coupe in its name. To make things simpler, its something on the lines of the BMW X6 – where a performance car meets an SUV. A confluence of sorts; where a big, brawny SUV meets a fast, agile performance car.
There's an uncanny similarity in the body style of this and the X6. With a high, flat hood and a sloping rear, even a layman wont take long to associate it with the weird, quirky body style of the X6. And just like the BMW, theres barely any headroom for the rear passengers. But on the brighter side, an unmistakeable shape and loads of road presence is something that youre guaranteed when you get yourself this, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Coupe.
Despite having an AMG in its name, this doesn't get the full-blown V8, instead gets a smaller 3-litre V6 under its hood. Its good for 364bhp and 520Nm of spin, at max. Enough to propel this 2.2-tonne, four-door coupe to 100kph from standstill in 5.8 seconds, before hitting a top whack of 250kph. The boys at AMG have tuned this engine to make it sporty, responsive and a nice-sounding one for a V6. Theyve also fixed a sports exhaust system that gives loud, sporty crackles at every overrun – only once you shift to Sport+ mode, though. The V6 is mated a new 9-speed auto box, this from the house of Mercedes and not AMG. The nine ratios give it ample flexibility in keeping the engine exactly at the right revs almost all the time.
The GLE Coupes ride quality isnt as stiff as that of the X6s. Yes, its stiffer than the regular GLE, but apart from the really sharp potholes, it cushions out most of the road irregularities. It goes without saying that the GLE Coupe likes to stay comfortably away from the slushy and the rocky bits. The all-wheel drive system is here to give it better control on the road, and not to pull it out of slushy areas. But, if at all you lose your way and happen to get into a place with no tarmac, theres a button to increase the ground clearance to prevent the underbelly from scraping.
On the road, though, it handles very well. You never feel the lack of grip, thanks to the 4MATIC system, which distributes torque at the wheel that needs it the most. With inputs from AMG, Merc has designed the best steering system for this SUV that weve seen in a long time – its sharp, accurate and like a precision tool of sorts. If you speak of body roll, wed like to report that there is a bit of it, courtesy high centre of gravity and 2.2-tonne of mass, but the adaptive suspension keeps things in control.
The point of you going in for the GLE Coupe and not the regular GLE is for the added flamboyance that the new body style adds to the package. But in the bargain, you lose out on rear seat headroom. The AMG-tuned V6 brings fervour to the party, but at a price. The GLE 450 AMG Coupe is yet to hit the showrooms, but we expect it to be priced at Rs 85 lakh (ex-showroom, India), vis-a-vis the GLE 350ds Rs 69.5 lakh.
The GLE Coupe gives you an option of looking at SUVs in different light – not just huge and bulky. It gets you truckloads of road presence and exclusivity, but isnt as practical as conventional SUVs. Sure, it doesn't offer a full-fledged AMG experience, but it isnt supposed to, in any case. At the end, a 2.2-tonne mammoth that sounds nice, goes fast and looks the part, all under a crore, isnt that bad a deal.
Specs\:2996cc, V6, turbo-petrol, 364bhp, 520Nm, 9A, AWD, 0-100kph\: 5.8s, 30-50kph\: 1.3s, 50-70kph\: 1.6s, 80-0kph\: 25.1m; 2.2s, top speed\: 250kph, Price\: Rs 85 lakh (est. ex-showroom, India)
Verdict\:Sportier and quicker than the regular GLE, new body style adds zest to the styling, but isnt as practical.