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2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader May 2017

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe brings that special Mercedes-Benz style to a relatively new niche created by the BMW X6 -- the premium 4-door "coupe" crossover. Both this and the X6 are considered midsize, and just as the X6 is based on the X5, the GLE Coupe is based on the regular GLE. To create a greater distinction, Mercedes-Benz calls that model the GLE SUV, which we have reviewed separately.

Taken on its own merits, this is a stylish machine with a high-class driving experience and an elevated driving position. Both variants are also exclusively in the rarefied air of the AMG level, with sportier equipment and credentials than the regular GLE SUV. As long as buyers don't mind giving up some practicality in the pursuit of design, then this is a great contender.

What's New for 2017?

The GLE 43 replaces the GLE 450 AMG version. Wi-Fi is now standard.

What We Like

Excellent driving experience; good looks; great AMG engines

What We Don't

Not especially practical

How Much?

$70,575-$111,575

Fuel Economy

The GLE 43 has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 generating 362 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and a 9-speed automatic transmission are standard. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 17 miles per gallon in the city, 23 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg in combined driving.

The twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 in the GLE 63 S generates 577 hp and 561 lb-ft. Again, all-wheel drive is standard, but this model has a 7-speed automatic transmission. Consumption is EPA-rated at 13 mpg city/17 mpg hwy/15 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe comes as two differently equipped versions according to the drivetrain.

The 2017 Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 ($70,575) has an adaptive air suspension, 21-inch alloy wheels, a sport exhaust, a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry/ignition, remote start, LED lighting with adaptive headlights, a rearview camera, rain-sensing wipers, heated/power-adjustable front seats with driver's-side memory settings, synthetic leather upholstery (much better than it sounds), a Nappa leather-wrapped/power-adjustable steering wheel, a power lift gate, roof rails, self-dimming rearview and driver's-side mirrors, an 8-in center screen with Mercedes-Benz's proprietary Comand infotainment system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, a 13-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, navigation, HD Radio, a USB port, Crosswind Assist and a driver-drowsiness monitor.

The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S ($111,575) adds 22-in alloy wheels, bigger brakes, active anti-roll bars, sport seats, leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, plus aluminum shift paddles and pedals.

The Premium 3 options package has advanced safety equipment, including adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, active brake assistance with a cross-traffic function, active blind spot monitoring and assistance, steering pilot, a 360-degree camera system and a self-parking feature (this last item is standard in the GLE63 S).

Other options include tri-zone automatic climate control, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a rear-seat entertainment system, a Bang & Olufsen Beosound 14-speaker audio system and massaging front seats.

Cargo space with the rear seats in place is 23 cu ft. When they're folded down, that expands to 60.7 cu ft. If anyone was wondering, the regular GLE SUV enjoys 38.2/80.3 cu ft. The Coupe also has a fairly high lip over which users must lift their luggage or shopping.

Safety

The GLE comes standard with anti-lock brakes, a forward-collision warning system, side-curtain airbags, a driver's-knee airbag, traction and stability control, Crosswind Assist and driver-drowsiness monitoring. Options include a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control with automatic braking, blind spot monitoring and lane-keeping assistance.

Although the GLE has not yet been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the virtually identical (for these purposes) M-Class (regular body shape) earned a 5-star overall rating; the GLE should achieve a similar score.

The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has tested the 2017 GLE SUV and given it its Top Safety Pick+ rating.

Behind the Wheel

There's no getting away from the fact that this vehicle is big and heavy, but the AMG engineers have done their best (which is as good as "best" gets) to impart some real speed and agility. Both models have selectable driving modes that can firm up the air suspension, wake up the steering and bring some more urgency to the throttle response. It's quite easy to scroll between these modes, especially rocking between Comfort and Sport to suit the road and traffic conditions.

The high-performance GLE 63 AMG S is a real competitor for the sportiest rivals, with the highest top speed of the GLE range: 174 mph. This 5,225-lb beast can also sprint from standstill to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. But it costs more than its closest competitor, the BMW X6 M.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 BMW X6/X6 M -- Superb to drive and with its own charm in the looks department. The M version is astonishingly good.

2017 Porsche Cayenne S -- Not a sloping roof in sight, but super-classy and with wonderful dynamics. Straddles the middle ground between the GLE 43 and 63 S with 420 hp and a price in the $77,000 region.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV -- If someone loves the GLE but wants more space for rear passengers and cargo, this conventional SUV version is perfect.

Used Porsche Cayenne Turbo S -- Buy one of these new and it will cost more than $160,000, making the GLE 63 S look almost like a bargain with its seven extra horses. But select a certified pre-owned (CPO) example and you'll have an extreme SUV and still be able to take a vacation.

Autotrader's Advice

The chances of really getting to exercise the 63 S version's 577 hp on public roads are essentially nonexistent. The GLE 43 is quick enough and luxurious enough for most people's needs. Options-wise, it's always smart to have as many safety features as possible.

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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.
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe: New Car Review - Autotrader