Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe Review

Edmunds expert review

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe boasts the sizable dimensions and curb weight of its regular GLE-Class sibling but without its generous cargo and rear seat space. The GLE Coupe is more distinctive-looking, but we're not convinced that the trade-off makes sense.




What's new for 2016

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe is an all-new model, though it shares many components with the previous M-Class SUV.

Vehicle overview

In 1824, English writer Charles Caleb Colton wrote that, "imitation is the sincerest (form) of flattery," effectively giving generations of people and companies a carte blanche retort when accused of ripping something off. Well, hopefully BMW is feeling pretty darn flattered, because the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe is a mighty fine imitation of its Bavarian rival's X6 "sport activity coupe."

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe has a much more rakish shape than its regular GLE-Class sibling.

The GLE-Class Coupe is based on Mercedes' new midsize SUV, the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, (a.k.a., the old M-Class). From there, Mercedes slices off a good portion of the cargo area to create a coupelike profile (hence the name), contributing to the creation of a sleeker, more distinctive-looking vehicle than the comparatively anodyne GLE. Unfortunately, in the process, cargo space and rear seat headroom are significantly reduced, essentially removing the "U" from SUV.

Just as with the BMW X6, it's a concept we don't entirely comprehend, especially since the GLE Coupe is far from what we'd consider attractive enough to seemingly warrant a form-over-function purchase. And yet, the X6 has apparently found enough takers to merit a second generation and a flattering imitator, so let's consider those aspects that may be deemed appealing.

Like the regular GLE, the Coupe boasts a beautifully made cabin with high-quality materials and an attractive design that can be augmented further by Mercedes' special-order "designo" customization range. It also gets the latest Mercedes COMAND interface along with most of the high-end comfort, convenience and entertainment features it controls. Then there's the impressive array of standard and optional safety features.

Unlike the regular GLE, though, the Coupe is only available with the most powerful engines available in the confusingly named duo of GLE450 AMG and AMG GLE 63 S. Essentially, the former one is an "AMG Lite" model pulling in some styling and mechanical elements from Mercedes' high-performance wing without the full, high-calorie AMG experience provided by the GLE 63 S. Power is abundant, but a less bonkers (and less expensive) version probably wouldn't be a bad idea.

If you want a sleekly styled SUV but aren't enamored of the GLE Coupe, the BMW X6 is probably the best place to start — and perhaps end. It's the more dynamically gifted of the two, though as both are so big and heavy, neither is what we'd consider a true sporting alternative to a real coupe, sedan or even smaller SUV. Otherwise, comparatively normal sport-tuned SUVs like the Range Rover Sport and Porsche's Macan and Cayenne would be good to consider, along with the non-coupe BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE-Class. They may not be as stylish (we suppose), but in the long run, we think shoppers will likely consider them to be wiser choices.




Trim levels & features

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe is a five-passenger midsize SUV offered in two styles: GLE450 AMG and AMG GLE 63 S.

The GLE450 AMG comes standard with 21-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive air suspension, full LED exterior lighting (adaptive headlights, running lights, taillights), automatic wipers, rear privacy glass, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, and a power liftgate. Inside, you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, wood trim, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated 10-way power front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment, driver memory settings, MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, an 8-inch central display, a rearview camera, the COMAND electronics interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a navigation system, voice controls and an eight-speaker audio system with HD and satellite radios, a CD player and a USB port.

The GLE450's Premium package adds a panoramic sunroof, a blind-spot warning system, a lane-departure warning and intervention system, keyless ignition and entry, a rear center pass-through, a 110-volt household-style power outlet and a 13-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. The Parking Assist package adds front and rear parking sensors, an automated parallel parking system and a surround-view parking camera.

Every 2016 GLE-Class Coupe is associated with the AMG performance brand, though it's more of an aesthetic thing with the GLE450.

The AMG GLE 63 S includes the Premium and Parking Assist packages and further adds 22-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, sport exhaust, sport-tuned steering and adaptive air suspension, "Active Curve System" variable stabilizer bars (optional on GLE450), upgraded leather upholstery and interior trim, more aggressively bolstered seats, ventilated front seats and a sport steering wheel.

Leather upholstery and ventilated front seats are available on the GLE450. Other options are available for both the GLE450 and AMG GLE 63 S. The Convenience package adds soft-close doors, heated and cooled front cupholders, and an interior air purification system. Going with the Rear Climate package gets you heated rear seats and tri-zone climate control. The Driver Assistance package bundles adaptive cruise control with a variety of extra safety features (see Safety section below).

Notable stand-alone options include upgraded windshield wipers (Magic Vision Control), multicontour front seats with additional adjustments and massage, multicolor interior ambient lighting, a heated steering wheel, a dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system and a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.



Performance & mpg

The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE450 AMG is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 362 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic and "4Matic" all-wheel drive are standard. According to Mercedes, the GLE450 will go from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway).

The 2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S has a turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 good for 577 hp and 561 lb-ft of torque. It also has 4Matic standard as well as an AMG-tuned seven-speed automatic. In Edmunds testing, a GLE 63 S sprinted to 60 mph in an extremely rapid 4.0 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 15 mpg combined (14/18).

Safety

Every 2016 GLE-Class comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags (regular and pelvic protection), a driver knee airbag and full-length side curtain airbags. Also included are a driver inattention warning system (Attention Assist) and a forward collision warning system with automatic braking (Pre-Safe) and rearward collision detection with safety preparation.

The mbrace telematics system includes automatic collision notification, emergency assistance, stolen vehicle location, geo-fencing, alarm notification and remote door lock/unlock.

Optional on the GLE450 and standard on the GLE 63 S are a blind spot monitoring system and lane departure warning and intervention system. The optional Driver Assistance package includes cross-traffic alert, enhanced blind-spot monitoring with intervention and an enhanced forward collision system that can detect pedestrians.

In Edmunds brake testing, a GLE 63 S stopped from 60 mph in 112 feet, a short distance indeed for such a hefty vehicle.

Driving

Unlike the regular GLE, the GLE Coupe comes only in high-performance AMG guises, meaning you have no choice but to revel in their respective abundance and over-abundance of power and torque. These engines are easily capable of motivating the GLE's hefty mass, with the GLE 63 S in particular producing exceptionally swift acceleration. It also does so with an exhaust that emits a pleasing baritone grunt and audible pops when changing gears or abruptly lifting off the throttle. Really, there are equal parts show and go to be found in the GLE Coupe.

Even the "base" 2016 GLE450 AMG Coupe can sprint to 60 mph in a swift 5.6 seconds, per factory estimates.

Handling is stable and surprisingly adept for such a large vehicle, but it is a large vehicle, and no amount of engineering magic can change that. You just can't expect a tight end to go as deep as a wide out, and despite its straight-line thrust, the GLE Coupe is not a legitimate substitute for the driver engagement offered by a sport sedan or (real) coupe. Adjustable drive mode settings accessed through a dial on the center console at least make appreciable differences in driving behavior. This is especially true in regards to the standard adaptive air suspension, which utilizes a variety of sensors to automatically adjust the air springs and dampers to deliver a suitably comfortable or sporty ride depending on your selected setting.

Interior

You may come to the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe for its richly appointed and high-end cabin, but you may leave upon discovering there's not much room to be found in the back. Even if your head isn't grazing the roof, there's a good chance you'll feel a bit claustrophobic relative to other midsize SUVs -- including the regular GLE-Class. At the same time, there are only 23 cubic feet of cargo space behind the backseat (a regular GLE has 38.2) due to the extremely slanted roof line. Lowering the backseat produces only 60.7 cubic feet of space, a number that would be subpar even for compact crossover SUVs. In other words, you get a small SUV interior within a big SUV exterior.

Putting utility, or its lack thereof, aside, the GLE's cabin is quite appealing. Materials quality and workmanship are excellent. Models fitted with any of the available grades of genuine leather, especially the optional "designo" diamond-quilted leather upholstery and genuine burled wood trim, in fact, make the interior seem downright posh. Available multicontour front seats are highly adjustable and add several massage programs to the supremely comfortable thrones.

Like other Mercedes models, the GLE gets the latest COMAND system that consists of updated menus and graphics as well as the familiar large knob now topped with a new redundant touch-sensitive pad for clicking and swiping. Though the seemingly endless number of features and customization possibilities make this revised system overwhelming at first, it ultimately works fairly well and allows the driver to choose his or her own preferred method of control.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.