The gloves are off with Merc’s G-force
Mercedes Benz GLE and GLE Coupe International Launch
This could be billed as a bigger bout than Conor McGregor v Chad Mendes at the MGM in Las Vegas.
Mercedes is a-bout to take on its closest German rival – BMW – and it’s looking to knock them for ‘six’ with the introduction of its new GLE coupe.
This week Motormouths got behind the wheel of the latest addition to the Mercedes Benz ever-growing fleet in the amazing Austrian Alps.
On first impressions, there is something very familiar looking about the new GLE Coupe. There is no doubt in my mind Mercedes has taken some of its design cues from BMW’s X6 SUV.
If you put the two models side by side, you would certainly notice some similar-looking features, although the new Merc is definitely much more aggressive looking at the front end.
There is an American-style theme going on and it is little wonder why, as most of the sales will be aimed at both the massive U.S. and Asian markets. A bit like the digit game going on in Bavaria with BMW re-badging its coupes with even numbers, Mercedes is doing a bit of name changing too, replacing the M-Class with the renamed GLE and all-new GLE coupe.
First up was the GLE coupe which, to say the least, is one of the best road-holding cars I’ve driven to date. It is due in Ireland this August with prices rumoured to be in line with BMW’s X6 at just north of €80,000 for the 350 diesel.
There will also be a 400 petrol version arriving, but I can’t see even one of these being sold here. The core of the sales will come from the 350 three-litre 258bhp all-wheel drive 4MATIC diesel which I put through its paces in Austria.
At motorway speeds, the GLE coupe feels powerful and cuts up the tarmac like a scalding knife through butter. But it’s only when you get it off the main roads that you realise just how good the dynamics and traction really are.
The GLE coupe slalomed through the mountain corners like a professional Alpine skier would in this part of the world and the grip was just phenomenal. For me, it’s up there, if not better than the X6 – and that’s saying something!
If money is no object, then you could always splash the cash on one of the AMG versions available – the GLE 450 367bhp V6 or the mind-blowing 5.5-litre GLE 63 S V8 with a whopping 585bhp.
At the other end of the spectrum though, the premium German brand is also introducing a GLE 500e plug-in hybrid, which I tested on day two.
Although I can’t see many of these shifting from our Irish forecourts, the results were highly impressive.
We travelled 60 kilometres in normal everyday driving conditions to our stop-off point using just 24km of that with the conventional three-litre V6 petrol engine.
But for the Irish market, the standard GLE SUV, which replaces the old M-Class has been tweaked with fresher looks and now comes with new transmission, better dynamics and a claimed 17 per cent saving on fuel.
The core sales will still come from the 250 2.2-litre 204bhp model which will hopefully arrive on these shores in September, and it is rumoured it will be priced in the early €70s.
Meanwhile, both the GLE and GLE coupe come with all the latest Mercedes safety, comfort and driver assistance equipment – some of it standard and some optional features.
Although I was highly impressed with the GLE, the all-new coupe is the pick of the bunch for me.