- the "coupe" version of the new mercedes-benz gle-class has arrived, sporting a more rakish roofline.
- initially available in the u.s. only as an amg gle53 model, the coupe comes standard with a hybridized inline-six engine making 429 horsepower.
- the 2021 mercedes-amg gle53 coupe will go on sale in the u.s. in mid-2020.
mercedes-benz was late to the crossover "coupe" party. not only did it take the brand almost seven years to come up with an appropriate response to the bmw x6, but the previous-generation gle coupe was an afterthought that only appeared when the base model received its mid-cycle facelift (and new nomenclature).
given how both audi and bmw have gone to considerable lengths to differentiate the q8 and x6 from their more practical q7 and x5 siblings, we find it a bit disappointing how little mercedes has done to set apart its new gle coupe from the regular gle. in fact, there is little that differentiates the two body styles at first glance, even though the wheelbase of the coupe is a full 2.4 inches shorter than that of the regular gle.
combined with the lower roof and and sloping posterior, it makes for a tall, stocky, and powerful appearance that hints at the considerable power hidden under the gle coupe's hood. the taillight contours are reminiscent of the a-class sedan's, and 21-inch wheels on appropriately thick rubber are standard. a set of 22-inch wheels is available, too.
while europeans can order the new gle coupe with torquey and efficient diesel engines, the u.s. market gets only one choice: the amg gle53 coupe. it's powered by the same 3.0-liter inline-six found in other amg 53 models that is fitted with a 48-volt hybrid booster. for short bursts, the system adds a further 21 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque to the gasoline engine, which maxes out at 429 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque.
this powerplant conspires to achieve a claimed zero-to-60-mph sprint in 5.2 seconds, and top speed is an electronically governed 155 mph. down the road, we expect amg to add a gle63 coupe model with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo v-8 that will also offer an even more powerful gle63 s variant.
the amg gle53 coupe's torque is sent to all four wheels through a nine-speed torque-converter automatic transmission, and the performance-tuned chassis can be enhanced with the optional electromechanical active ride control suspension, which aims to reduce body roll.
the interior is available with a wealth of different color and trim options, and the mbux infotainment system offers an amg-specific supersport screen. also serving to underscore the sporting pretensions of the gle53 is an amg track pace option that includes a performance data recorder to track acceleration metrics and racetrack gps data, and it will even record photos and videos.
while amg is touting the gle53 coupe as a track-ready machine, its natural habitat is american suburbia, where it serves to fetch groceries and the kids from soccer practice. so it's good news that the new gle coupe is more practical, too: the doors are larger, there is more legroom inside, and the loading sill of the trunk has been lowered by 2.4 inches.
look for this crossover to arrive at u.s. dealerships by mid-2020, with a starting price somewhere in the low-$70,000 range.