Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe-  What you never knew you wanted   car For a few years now there has perhaps been a small, misunderstood niche of wealthy car buyers who have been left wanting. Before the BMW X6 was launched, they didn’t even know that they wanted a sporty SUV with the road manners of a (fast) car and the looks of a coupe. And even when the X6 did venture onto our roads, there was a smaller niche who now knew they wanted such a vehicle, but were full-blown Merc fans who couldn’t bring themselves to switch allegiance. Well, if that little group of people ever actually existed, their deepest desires have now been satisfied by the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. (If you were wondering why it has to be specified that this is the GLE Coupe and not just the GLE, the GLE un-coupe will be making its appearance in SA shortly).   500 Sexy, sporty, classy, opulent, luxurious and expensive, the GLE Coupe is an interesting beast that will certainly make a stir on our roads. Like the BMW X6 whose sales it was no doubt created to target, the GLE Coupe is an SUV more in name and swagger than in reality, but Mercedes South Africa showed us just how capable it can be offroad at the launch near Knysna, where we ventured further up slippery, rocky roads than any GLE Coupe owner would ever be tempted to go. Even with the standard tyres, the result was impressive, as much for the lack of fuss with which the vehicle dealt with the obstacles as with the incredibly comfortable ride. On tar it is similarly capable – not quite as dynamically astute as the X6, but a little more comfortable.     car2 Three models are available locally, starting with the sensible GLE 350d, a 3-litre V6 turbodiesel that produces 190kW and 620Nm. Next in line is the GLE 450 AMG, which produces 270kW/520Nm from its turbocharged V6 petrol engine. On the top rung of the GLE ladder is the 5.5-litre V8 biturbo GLE 63 S AMG, with 430kW and 760Nm on hand. While the 350d is the most practical, the most affordable and will probably be the best seller, and the GLE 63 S AMG is the most dramatic and extreme, the GLE 450 AMG is no doubt the pick of the litter. It doesn’t feel much slower than the 63, sounds brilliant, and is over R750 000 cheaper than the 63. Also, whereas the 63 gets a seven-speed automatic gearbox (complete with paddleshifts), the other two models get nine-speed boxes, also with paddles.   car3 All models come with the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system, while the two petrol models get air suspension as standard – this is optional on the diesel. Inside it’s everything you expect a Mercedes to be, opulent and packed with technology. The prices are R999 900 for the GLE 350d, R1 099 900 for the GLE 450 AMG and an eye-watering R 1 859 900 for the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S. Now all you need to decide is which side of the SUV Coupe niche you fall on – BMW or Mercedes. PS: The Mercedes 4×4 lineup is receiving an overhaul, complete with new names that mirror the stable’s sedan ranges. The ML and GL will be disappearing, to be replaced by the GLE (with the addition of the GLE Coupe) and GLS respectively. At some stage the GLC will also arrive, to fit in between the GLA and GLE. Fact File Model: Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Coupé Price: R1 099 900 Engine: 3-litre, V6 turbopetrol Power: 270kW Torque: 520Nm Transmission: 9-speed auto Maintenance Plan: 6-year/100 000 km


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