Mercedes is entering the growing coupé-crossover ranks by announcing the new GLE – a direct competitor to BMW’s all-conquering X6.
Look at it and you can immediately see what thought has gone in, from the front it’s the E-Class coupé, it gains the S-coupé’s rear end and sits on an SUV platform.
That means sleek lines along the top combined with the high riding position and four doors of a 4×4.
Mercedes will no doubt be hoping to capitalise on a niche discovered by BMW with their opinion splitting X6, a car so popular it spawned a baby brother X4 this year.
It’s an aggressive look, the front is almost the definition of muscular with big flared air intakes, muscular arches and a hard shoulder line which continues into the stubby rear end.
The AMG gets even more beefed up styling with a flick up bootlid to add more downforce and enormous 21-inch alloys coupled with low-profile rubber.
Mercedes are targeting the sport end of the market, hoping to reach those who want a 4×4 but don’t want to feel like all they own is a big tank despite the GLE being almost five metres long.
To add to that muscle it will launch in three guises, the GLE 350d, Gle 400 and a top-of-the range GLE 450 AMG arriving straight out of the box.
Mercedes are calling the 450 AMG the first of a new range, describing it as an AMG Sports car, and to be honest, we can’t truly tell you what that means.
Under the bonnet all three get six-cylinder motors. The lone diesel sits in the 350d and is a turbocharged V6 3.0litre unit producing 258bhp and a mighty 620nm of torque.
Petrol options are both 3.0litre biturbo V6s. The GLE 400 produces 333bhp and 480nm of torque while that headline 450 AMG will add another 34bhp and 40nm.
While the two standard Coupés get a 50:50 torque distribution through their 4MATIC systems the AMG model will push 60% of its power to the rear wheels for a more sporty feel. If you feel really up for it there is AMG’s DYNAMIC SELECT system so you can change how aggressive the handling is.
Inside the AMG model gets beefy sports seats, a sporty steering wheel and carbon fibre scattered across the dash.
The rest of the range benefits from a powered tailgate, reversing camera and emergency braking systems.
This is another step in the rebranding of Mercedes SUVs. Following the GLA and GLE coupe will be a GLC, replacing the GLK, the GLE, a renaming of the old ML, and the GLS, which takes the mantle from the GL.
Expect more specs, including prices, closer to the GLE Coupe’s 2015 launch.