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Mercedes has trained its crosshairs on BMW’s performance-coupe-SUV. Meet the X6 M’s arch nemesis, the new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe.

If you need a recap, the GLE Coupe is a slinkier (everything being relative, of course) version of the Mercedes ML, itself renamed GLE. Today in Detroit, we get our first glimpse of AMG’s performance-minded GLE. It’s not small.

As is the way in AMG-land these days, there are two versions. A ‘base’ AMG comes with a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine churning out 549bhp and 516lb ft, enough to ensure it hits 62mph in a no doubt G-force-rich 4.3 seconds.

Atop that is the AMG S, which uses a similar engine, but upped to 577bhp and 560lb ft, cutting a tenth off the 0-62 time. Both hit an electronic buffer at 155mph.

A seven-speed paddleshift gearbox is standard fit, and refinement fans will be pleased to know it comes with a ‘speed-sensitive centrifugal pendulum’ to keep changes smooth. Phew.

The GLE 63 is, as you’d expect, four-wheel driven. The 4MATIC system comes with a rearward bias, 60 per cent of that prodigious power going to the back axle. There’s the predictable plethora of electronic trickery too; air suspension, active roll stabilisation and something called ‘Sports Direct-Steer’, which has more to do with a variable steering ratio than it does unfeasibly cheap trainers.

All the ingredients add up to a portly performance car that should go and steer with way more aplomb than physics would like it to.

As an arch-rival to the X6 M, expect prices to kick off at around £90,000 when sales begin later in 2015. Yay or nay, internet?

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