RELATED READING
See all Detroit Auto Show articles

RESEARCH DETROIT AUTO SHOW BY YEAR

RESEARCH BY LOCATION

Auto Show:  2015 Detroit Auto Show

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Sport Coupe 4MATIC Among 3 New AMGs: Detroit Auto Show


author photo by Colin Ryan January 2015

What Is It?

The first of the three AMGs revealed in Detroit is the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Sport Coupe 4MATIC. Within that lengthy name lurks two essential pieces of new information.

We'll start with the GLE part: The initials G and L denote a Mercedes-Benz SUV (think GL, GLK and the G-Wagen), while the E tells us that this vehicle is based on the E-Class executive sedan. What differentiates it from the company's other SUVs and crossovers is its sloping roof. The GLE is a direct rival for the similarly shaped 2015 BMW X6, and its roofline is the reason Mercedes-Benz feels brave enough to call this 4-door machine a coupe. There's also a noncoupe GLE on the way, to replace the M-Class.

The second piece of information is the AMG Sport. This is not a bona-fide AMG version, the high-performance division of the 3-pointed star. Those models will be identified as Mercedes-AMG. Instead, the AMG Sport has a decent amount of power combined with some of the cosmetic treatments that come with an AMG package, just as Audi's S line and BMW's M Performance models enhance a car but don't take it all the way to the hottest available version.

A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 makes 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque that drives all the wheels via a 9-speed automatic transmission (that's the 4MATIC bit). For a predominantly rear-drive feel, the torque split is 40/60 front to rear in normal driving conditions.

The second AMG revealed is the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S Coupe 4MATIC. This model is the enthusiast's choice, and not just for the massive 577 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque conjured up by its twin-turbo, 5.5-liter, hand-built V8 engine. AMG also retunes the suspension settings, beefs up the brakes, adjusts the 7-speed automatic transmission and adds its own alloy wheels and aerodynamic parts for a complete, cohesive driver's machine. The sprint from standstill to 60 miles per hour takes just 4.2 seconds.

To put that in perspective, a 2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale, a dedicated, lightweight supercar, is only 1.3 seconds faster. The GLE63 will also fit the kids and the dog. Naturally, its center of gravity is higher than a Ferrari's, so there are electronic driver aids, such as active roll stabilization, to keep everything right-side up. All the wheels receive drive, too, as indicated by the 4MATIC reference.

Because these GLE coupes come from a luxury brand, they naturally feature cutting-edge driver assistance systems and safety equipment, plus many comfort and convenience options. There aren't many high-speed machines with a power liftgate as standard.

Now to third and latest AMG sedan: the 2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG 4MATIC. This car might cause some confusion for those who think the highest-performance version of the C-Class is the rip-roaring, 503-hp C63 S. They're right, of course, but that car now comes under the sub-brand of Mercedes-AMG, as explained above.

The C450 is a milder version, an entry-level AMG car with a still-respectable 362 hp and 384 lb-ft cooked up by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6, the same engine as in the GLE 450. And like that vehicle, this one has the AMG look inside and out, along with an adaptive sports suspension, selectable driving modes, all-wheel drive (with 67 percent of torque going to the back axle for a rear-drive feel) and a 7-speed automatic transmission programmed for ultrafast shift times.

When Can You Get It?

Later this year.

How Much? 

Mercedes has said nothing official yet on any of these. For a ballpark figure on the GLE 450, a 2015 BMW X6 starts at $59,600. For the GLE63, don't expect much change from $100,000, if any. The C450 could be around $50,000.

Add It to Your Shopping List Because...

For a high driving position, all-wheel drive, luxury appointments and sleek looks, take a look at these AMGs. Chances are the 2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 4MATIC Coupe is going to be wonderful to drive. It won't feel like a lumbering all-wheel-drive SUV, despite its size and weight. The bar has already been set high by the BMW X6 M, so the newly minted Mercedes-AMG sub-brand will not want to come second.

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG 4MATIC still has plenty of on-road presence and more than enough power. The car also has lots of electronic systems to prevent or at least mitigate any trouble.

Other Cars to Consider

BMW X6 -- Until other manufacturers come into play, it's a 2-horse race between the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Sport Coupe 4MATIC and the X6. A new generation has debuted for the 2015 model year. This generation is based on the popular and incredibly capable 2015 BMW X5 but comes with less headroom for rear passengers and a smaller cargo area.

BMW X5/X6 M -- The X5 M comes with the same 500-hp-plus machinery as the X6, along with more space.

Audi S4 -- The S4 rivals the C450 AMG with 333 hp and all-wheel drive.

Used BMW M3 -- The M3, the benchmark for sport sedans (and coupes before the M4 came on the scene), gives an unforgettable driving experience.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 AMG Sport Coupe 4MATIC Among 3 New AMGs: Detroit Auto Show - Autotrader