Debuting at the 2015 NYIAS today are a couple of niche entries from Mercedes-Benz to take BMW head on at its own game. The GLE Class and GLE Coupe, both of which will have their own lunatic AMG versions as well.
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The GLE Class replaces the M Class as Mercedes’ X5 fighter, while the GLE Coupe has been designed to take on the X6. With one diesel engine and two V6s available, the GLE should match up with the X5 quite well. The GLE300d will come with a 2.1 liter four-cylinder diesel engine, producing 201 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The GLE350 will feature a naturally aspirated 3.5 liter V6, making 302 hp and the top of the line GLE400 will have a 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 producing 329 hp and 354 lb-ft.
Them there’s the psychotic AMGs version which will pack 550 hp and 516 lb-ft from a 5.5 liter twin-turbo V8, carried over from the previous ML63 AMG. The GLE63 AMGs will rocket to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, compared to the 4.0 flat 0-60 time of the X5/X6M.
The interior features rich, comfortable leather seats with a sporty three-spoke steering wheel and a massive COMMAND Screen on the dash. Many people seem to complain about the massive screen, claiming it looks cheap, like it’s just been stuck to the dash. Some also claim it’s too big. Sitting in the car, the screen looks just right. It’s the right size for such a big, spacious interior and it looks and feels high-quality. Nothing cheap there.
The seats both AMG and non-AMG models are supremely comfortable and supportive. The leather and alcantara are top-notch, as well as all of the soft-touch plastics and wood trim. The AMG model I sat in featured an unfinished, open-pore wood trim which looked and felt fantastic. A truly high-quality item.
The exterior looks are a bit underwhelming, not changing much from the previous M Class aside from a bit of a facelift. That being said, the new face is a looker, with the bulging three-pointed star and chunky headlights. It looks more aggressive than the M Class’ and more expensive. Aside from the new face, though, it’s really standard M Class all around.
The GLE Coupe is the new addition, and looks great. It’s aggressive and sporty with a nicely tapered roofline towards the back. Proportionally, it’s very similar to the X6, with the X6 looking even more aggressive, though. The GLE63 AMGs Coupe looks very good, and a bit more understated than the X6 M. The interior of the AMG also get a bit more luxurious that the X6 M, which leans more to the sporty side.
Overall, the new GLE Class and GLE Coupe, both standard and AMG models, are fine entries to the Mercedes-Benz stable and worthy competitors to the X5 and X6.