MERCEDES –BENZ SA has launched the latest model in its burgeoning SUV segment – and it’s a stunner.
The GLE Coupé combines the modern luxury, elegance and sportiness of a coupé with the robustness and technology of the latest large premiumSUV models.
South African customers will initially only have one model available at launch in the spring of 2020: the GLE 400 d 4MATIC Sports Coupe, which offers a powerful 3.0 litre six-cylinder diesel engine that delivers 243 kW and 700 Nm of torque. This results in a brisk 0-100 time of 5.7 seconds at a combined fuel consumption of 7.4-6.9 l/100 km.
The new GLE Coupé is a further example of the Mercedes-Benz objective to address all the requirements of customers in the premium-SUV segment in a targeted manner, says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO for Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa. From a relatively small niche, the SUV coupé segment has developed into a ‘trend within a trend’ in no time.
In all, Mercedes-Benz now offers nine SUV models in the form of the GLA, GLB, GLC, GLC Coupé, GLE, GLE Coupé, the G-Class, GLS and the Mercedes-MaybachGLS.
With currently around one third of sales, the SUVs are a major structural pillar in the Mercedes-Benz product portfolio, and greatly contribute to the growth of the brand. To date, more than six and a half million customers around the world have opted for a Mercedes-Benz SUV.
With the renewal of the premium-SUV family, Mercedes-Benz is also putting the GLE Coupé on a new technical footing, says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.
“The GLE 400d Coupé combines the impressive power of an off-road vehicle with the emotively appealing sportiness and elegance of a coupé,” says Govender. “The sensuous, reduced design idiom, in combination with the extreme proportions creates a unique design statement.”
The new GLE Coupé is 4939 mm long and 2010 mm wide (39 mm longer and 7 mm wider than its predecessor). The proportions emphasise the dynamics of the GLE Coupé, with short overhangs and large, flush-mounted wheels, dynamic greenhouse and a long side-window line exuding high value and exclusivity.
The front view combines the characteristics of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family with clear coupé attributes: the diamond grille with its single horizontal louvre creates association with other Mercedes-Benz coupés, while the openings in the louvre and the high-gloss chrome-plated underguard showcase the SUV character.
The dynamism of the coupé line is especially evident in the rear-end design. A broad muscle in the vehicle flank beneath the C-pillar, that starts in the rear door and envelops the tail lamps, gives the GLE Coupé its powerful, ready-to-pounce appearance.
Together with the elongated tail lamps, it highlights the width of the rear end. The lamps are specific to the coupé, but fit the characteristic day and night design of the Mercedes-Benz SUVs, with their hallmark rounded blocks in a slim outline.
The interior of the new GLE Coupé shares numerous features with the other models in the new premium-SUV family and clearly emphasises the sporty aspect. A familiar sight is the modern cockpit with two large 12.3-inch /31.2 cm screens. The strikingly styled instrument panel, horizontally divided by a trim tier, transitions seamlessly into the door panels. The sporty emphasis comes courtesy of the standard sports seats and the new sports steering wheel with nappa leather trim. The SUV touch, meanwhile, is added by the tall centre console with the dominant grab handles.
The new GLE Coupé offers tangibly more room than its predecessor, giving up to five occupants a comfortable amount of space. Although the wheelbase is 60 mm shorter than on the GLE SUV, it is 20 mm longer than in the previous coupé, and this extra space shows in the seating and legroom of the passengers. The capacity of the interior stowage spaces has grown to a total of 40 litres, and even the panoramic sliding sunroof is bigger than before.
The boot is already generous, with 655 litres in its standard configuration, but the backrest of the rear seats with 40:20:40 folding split increases the boot to up to 1790 litres – 70 litres more than in the predecessor and an outstanding figure in this segment. While the loading sill is inherently higher than on conventional SUVs, the new GLE Coupé is 59 mm lower than the previous model, and when equipped with AIRMATIC, the rear end can be lowered by a further 50 mm at the touch of a button.
The GLE Coupé offers the latest generation of the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system with a host of functions for connectivity, entertainment and operating comfort.
They include intuitive voice control and the learning capability of MBUX, as well as a large range of apps that can be integrated into or controlled with MBUX.
The new GLE Coupé comes with a steel suspension with a sportier and firmer setup than its predecessor. It benefits from firmer mounting points and improved axle geometry, and offers even more precise wheel location and better shielding from vibrations caused by unevenness in the road surface.
AIRMATIC is available as an option and has a sportier set-up than in the GLE SUV. Its adaptive adjustable damping uses highly complex sensor systems and algorithms to adapt the damping characteristics to the road condition and driving situation in real time. In addition, the air suspension keeps the vehicle at the same level irrespective of the load and can also adjust the ground clearance – automatically or at the touch of a button depending on the driving speed and the situation.
The new GLE Coupé has the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems, which results in an especially high level of active safety. As standard, the new GLE Coupé boasts Active Brake Assist, which can help prevent rear-end collisions and collisions with crossing pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.
Some Intelligent Drive functions can be ordered as additional options. They include the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation, which allows the vehicle to react to information from Live Traffic, even before the driver or the radar and camera sensors can perceive a traffic obstruction.
When a traffic tailback is detected, the speed is reduced to approx. 100 km/h as a precaution unless the driver specifically decides otherwise.
Image (The new MB GLE 400 d 4MATIC Sports Coupe edition launched in mzansi).