Proving that German automakers can't resist playing in each other's sandboxes, Mercedes-Benz is jumping into the oddball "SUV coupe" segment with its new GLE Coupe.
This all-new model is a direct competitor to BMW's equally odd X6. Both models have sleek, coupe-like profiles, but sit high like the midsize SUVs on which they're based. BMW's model is now in its second generation and its small but profitable sales numbers have not escaped Mercedes' attention.
So Mercedes has created the GLE 450 AMG Coupe. It's based on the brand's normal ML class of SUVs, which will soon change their name to GLE.
The new Coupe has a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel-drive. The engine makes 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque.
The AMG in this GLE 450's name hints at its sporting proclivities. There are five drive modes, an available sport-tuned air suspension, and 21-inch or 22-inch wheels wrapped in aggressive tires.
The GLE Coupe's profile also hints at its sporting ways. The steeply raked hatchback gives up cargo room (and probably headroom in the back seats) in favor of sleek aesthetics. The horizontal taillights mimic those on Mercedes' grand S-Class Coupe and the naughty AMG GT coupe.
Up front, a bold grille and front bumper design tease what the refreshed regular GLE will look like when it debuts sometime in 2015, probably at April's New York Auto Show.
Pricing hasn't been announced for the GLE 450 Coupe, though it will almost certainly play in the same space as BMW's X6, which starts at $60,000. The Mercedes model will go on sale late next summer.