Mercedes-Benz is expanding its M class with a new name and a new coupe option for 2016. It’s calling it the GLE class and it will feature a brand new sportier option called the GLE Coupe along with the freshened version of the current M class SUV. Competition wise, the Coupe will fall squarely into the same segment as the BMW X6.
“When BMW launched its vehicle we watched, but we had a different focus at the time. Now, we have the opposite, we are doing the GLE Coupe, and other manufacturers are doing vehicles that look a bit like the B class,” says Dieter Kurz, Mercedes-Benz vice president of product group SUVs and sports cars, to Automotive News.
The 2016 GLE SUV will get some tweaks including a restyled front along with new lights on both the front and rear. The Coupe version will basically be a shorter, longer, and skinnier version of the standard SUV. Both cars will ride on a 114.8-inch wheelbase and derive their design from the larger GL crossover which is also receiving the new name of GLS and getting freshened for the 2016.
“For the GLE Coupe, it is logical that we modify the components and not make a completely new dashboard. We did not want to separate the two too much — especially for economical purposes. We found a very cost effective way to make the GLE Coupe,” says Kurtz.
Both models will share a new automatic nine-speed 9G-Tronic Plus transmission. The sportier drive of the coupe is reflected in differing A pillars with the Coupe getting 1 degree more in the angle.
Kurz comments, “The driver seat is even in the same position, but the center of gravity in the Coupe is lower.”
The coupe won’t be available with an off-roading package and will only come as a high performance vehicle in the U.S.
Prices aren’t out yet, however the Coupe will likely start below $66,000 with the GLE450 AMG 4Matic version and hit closer to the $110,000 mark for the AMG GLE63 S 4Matic version. The GLE SUV will likely start around $53,425 with destination in the GLE300d 4Matic diesel version and the AMG GLE63 version will likely start around $108,025.
Both models will arrive dealerships this August.