Meet Merc’s X6: it’s the GLE Coupe

Well, it took six years, but BMW’s coupe-SUV X6 finally has a direct rival. It comes, unsurprisingly, from Mercedes, and it’s called the GLE Coupe. Why does the world need another brand of not-as-practical-as-you’d-expect 4x4? BMW shifting 250,000 first-gen X6s is a money-spinning clue.

Looking unfortunately similar to a gym-lapsed CLA on 22-inch (yes, twenty-two) alloys, the GLE Coupe is in fact a spin-off of the ML-Class SUV, which has been renamed ‘GLE’ as of 2015, in line with a raft of Mercedes SUV name changes.

The GLE Coupe’s interior, which combines familiar touch-sensitive infotainment controls and fussy telephone buttons with a new eight-inch screen, gives an idea of what to expect inside the facelifted GLE when it arrives in 2015.

Speaking of inside, the GLE Coupe offers seating for five. Once, that’d have been a crucial deal-breaker for buyers dithering over that X6 deposit, but no longer - the BM’s ditched its four-seater set-up. That said, the GLE Coupe’s ruthlessly sloped roofline means rear space won’t be a patch on the ML - sorry, GLE’s - and boot space is sacrificed too - 1600 litres in the GLE Coupe plays 2010 litres in the GLE.

Amusingly, Mercedes argues its svelte new battletank holds the world record for boot space in a coupe. Step away from the logical black hole, guys. Step away.

Is anyone salivating over the prospect of the GLE Coupe worried about practicality? More likely you’ll be interested in its range of get-out-of-my-way engines.

There’s a few more months to wait until Mercedes unleashes its AMG GLE 63 complete with the full compliment of bi-turbo V8 political incorrectness, so, in the meantime, the GLE Coupe is the first new Mercedes to spawn an AMG Sport model - a halfway house of lukewarm Mercs inbetween cooking models and the lairy AMG flagships. Think BMW’s M Performance range, or Audi’s ‘S’ cars.

So the GLE 450 AMG brandishes a 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6, churning out 362bhp and 383lb ft to the car’s standard-fit nine-speed automatic gearbox. The AMG Sport model gets a bespoke torque split: 60 per cent hits the rear rubber in normal driving, compared to an even 50:50 in the other versions.

You can have a lesser GLE 400 with 328bhp, using the same 3.0-litre V6. And yes, Europeans, there’s a diesel version: the GLE 350d’s V6 manages 255bhp and 457lb ft. Fuel consumption figures haven’t yet been disclosed, probably because Mercedes knows full well prospective buyers couldn’t give a flying monkeys.

Typically for a modern German machine, everything is adjustable. You can tinker with the standard-fit air suspension, gearbox behaviour, engine sound, traction and stability control and the steering response, thanks to Merc’s ‘Dynamic Select’ gadget. You want options? Have five of ‘em: Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual modes for the road, and a ‘Slippery’ setting for snow, ice and off-roading.

The other official figures Mercedes is keeping close to its chest are prices. Expect a diesel GLE Coupe to set you back around £55,000, and the paid-up nutter of an AMG model the thick end of £90k.

We may regret asking this, but go on, hit us: what do you think?