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2015 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe revealed

New BMW X6-rivalling Mercedes GLE Coupe SUV breaks cover.

Mercedes-Benz has taken the wraps of its first SUV-come-coupe model, the GLE Coupe.

Based on the ML SUV (which will soon be renamed ‘GLE’), the new model is aimed directly at the BMW X6 which has – until now – had the ‘sports activity coupe’ segment all to itself.

Shown in concept form at this year’s Beijing motor show, the production model hasn’t strayed far from the show car’s unique and futuristic design. 

The GLE Coupe features a long sloping roofline and stubby rear-end combined with the more simplistic swooshing character lines seen on recent Benz products - including the S-Class Coupe which also shares a similar taillight design with the GLE.

The interior design is clearly derivative of the current ML SUV, with the GLE Coupe using the same dashboard and centre console design with a steering-column mounted gear selector. 

The steering wheel is new however, and similar to the tiller found on the new C-Class sedan and AMG GT sports car.

With the rear seats folded, the cargo area totals a segment-best 1650-litres, though a seats-up figure isn’t quoted.

Powered by a range of petrol and diesel engines connected to the German brand’s new 9-speed torque converter automatic transmission - first seen in the E350 Bluetec sedan available overseas – all GLE Coupe models come standard with the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system.

The GLE 350 d employs a 190kW/620Nm turbodiesel unit, while stepping up to the GLE 400 brings the 245kW/480Nm bi-turbo V6 petrol engine.

The range-topping GLE 450 AMG is Mercedes’ first ‘AMG Sport’ model which is a semi-performance grade in the same mold as Audi’s ‘S’ models and BMW’s M Performance cars such as the M235i and X6 M50d.

Powered by a 270kW/520Nm bi-turbo V6, the GLE 450 features unique AMG styling with more aggressive front and rear bumpers along with standard 21-inch alloy wheels. The torque-split of the performance model has also been changed from the standard 50:50 front-rear to a more tail-happy 40:60.

The AMG Sport model also gets sports seats, sports steering wheel and alumimium pedals, while carbon fibre or piano black interior highlights are available as options.

Eventually a full AMG-developed GLE63 will be available, likely sporting the performance division’s 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 producing at least 386kW.

All GLE models can be optioned with Mercedes’ new-generation Airmatic air suspension which is available for the first time with continuously variable dampers. This new setup is said to give the best possible ride comfort with the best possible dynamics, while also allowing the driver to choose between the usual Comfort, Sport and Sport+ drive settings.

In Sport and Sport+ modes, the new Active Curve System activates and uses the car’s electronic front and rear anti-roll bars to compensate for one-sided wheel impacts caused by potholes which can agitate a car when it’s cornering aggressively.

The standard suspension fitted to GLE Coupe 350 d and 400 models is a conventional steel spring setup with switchable adaptive dampers. 

A segment-first electrically extendable and retractable tow bar is also available as an option, and European GLE Coupe models have been rated to tow up to 3500kg (braked).

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe is expected to arrive in Australia in the second half of 2015, carrying a price premium over the more conventional ML SUV range.