Mercedes GLE Coupe review
The Mercedes GLE Coupe is a sleeker, sloping-roofed version of the GLE. It’s quick and comfy, but also more expensive and has less space for rear passengers
What's not so good
Find out more about the Mercedes GLE Coupe
Owning the Mercedes GLE Coupe is a bit like owning a fountain pen. There are cheaper and more practical pens available, but you’re happy to go for the one that helps you stand out from the crowd, even if it’s more awkward and costs more
That said, the coupe SUV contingent is becoming quite a crowd itself these days – the GLE Coupe has the Audi Q8, BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne Coupe to try and tempt buyers away from.
You wouldn’t confuse it for these alternatives, mind. The front is similar to the standard GLE with its distinct grille with horizontal slats and large Mercedes badge, but the Coupe’s thinner headlights, swooping roofline, wider stance and shorter length between its wheels set it apart.
Inside, things haven’t changed as much, although the GLE’s interior is lovely to look at regardless. You’re faced by a huge wall of glass housing two screens, while ambient lighting and lashings of leather surfaces and chrome trim helps create a classy look and feel, even if a Q8’s dashboard feels slightly sturdier.
Mercedes’ infotainment system is visually stunning and easy to navigate via touch, voice or using a touchpad and menu shortcut buttons between the front seats. Adding a destination on the sat-nav is simple, and so too is adding waypoints, although you’ll ultimately prefer using the navigation apps on your smartphone via the GLE Coupe’s standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Mercedes GLE Coupe requires giving up a bit of the GLE’s outright space and practicality, and you’ll need to like the looks, but it’s a very good large SUV nonetheless
The driver gets a hugely adjustable driving position and two tall adults in the front seats won’t have any complaints about space. In the back, there’s very good knee room for a couple more adults, although those over six-foot will find their head brushing the ceiling – the price you pay for those sleeker looks over the standard GLE. The Coupe’s boot, though, is slightly larger, although also shallower in shape, so less practical with it.
Eventually, there will be five different engines to choose from. The range starts with a plug-in diesel-electric hybrid, which with its 62-mile EV range and low CO2 emissions is perfect for company car buyers or those who drive mainly in town.
Most, though, will be better off with one of the two six-cylinder diesels, both of which are extremely strong yet impressively smooth and quiet. At the top of the range will sit two petrol performance models by AMG – the six-cylinder 53 and V8 63 – which we’ll review separately.
The GLE Coupe is large car and feels it in town, especially given its sloping rear roofline and thick rear pillars can get in the way when parking. Still, its steering is light at low speeds and a host of sensors and cameras bring confidence and standard air suspension does a decent job of keeping bumps to a minimum.
On country roads, the GLE Coupe’s wider stance helps it feel sharper and more upright through corners than the standard GLE, although never as agile as a Porsche Cayenne Coupe, even in its most aggressive driving modes. It does excel on the motorway, though, where it’s extremely planted, quiet and comfortable.
The Mercedes GLE Coupe is good to drive, then, comfortable, full of great tech and has a stunning interior. You’ll just need to be taken by its looks and accept that they mean it has less rear space and a more awkward boot than the car on which it’s based.
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The Mercedes GLE Coupe will seat a couple of kids in the back no problem and its boot is a good size. It’s also quite shallow, though, and tall adults will find headroom a little tight
Every Mercedes GLE Coupe comes with electric front seats and the steering wheel adjusts for height and reach, so you’ll be able to find a comfortable driving position easily.
You’ll find there’s ample head and legroom in the front of the Mercedes GLE Coupe. The same goes for the row behind in terms of knee room, where tall adults will find the front seats are nowhere near there legs. However, tall adults will find their heads brush the ceiling and three adults side-by-side is a bit of a squeeze.
Of course, two or three kids will be much better off, and Isofix points are standard on the outside rear seats.
It’s all good news when it comes to storage space. Both of the GLE Coupe’s front door bins easily take a large water bottle, while beneath a sliding cover in front of the infotainment system’s control pad you’ll find two decent cup holders and a further small cubby for keys or a phone.
Then, beneath the central armrest that pops open at the push of a button, you’ll find a wide, deep cubby. The GLE Coupe’s glovebox is also a decent size, but if you pick the optional built-in air freshener a perfume dispenser occupies quite a bit of space.
Finally, both rear door bins are also a good size, while there are a couple of sturdy pockets on the front seats backs for storing slimmer items. There’s also a pair of USB C ports between the front seats and a folding rear armrest with two built-in cupholders.
The Mercedes GLE has 655 litres of boot space which is slightly more than you get in an Audi Q8, BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne Coupe.
It’ll easily swallow two large suitcases, a couple of pushchairs or a set of golf clubs. It also has no loading lip, is a good square shape and comes with hooks and nets that make securing smaller items a doddle. There’s also a little extra space under the boot floor for hiding away a few soft bags.
The only real issue is the GLE Coupe’s sloping rear roofline, which might look great, but does eat into the boot’s height. That means loading taller items inside is more of a struggle than in the standard GLE.
The Mercedes GLE Coupe has strong engines, is comfy to drive and wonderfully quiet. It isn’t as sporty to drive as it looks, though, and there are no sensible petrol options
As long as you take things relatively steady, the GLE Coupe is a lovely way to get around. Grab it by the scruff of the neck, and it starts to feel a little less assured
Eventually, there will be five different engines to choose from. The range starts with the 350de plug-in diesel-electric hybrid, which with its 62-mile EV range and low CO2 emissions is perfect for company car buyers or those who drive mainly in town.
You can charge is up to 80% in just 20 minutes with a fast charger, or fully charge it in 30 minutes. Used correctly, you could easily commute every day on electricity alone, leaving the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine to help on those longer journeys at the weekend.
Most, though, will be better off with one of the two 3.0-litre turbocharged six-cylinder diesels, the 350d and 400d, both of which are extremely strong yet impressively smooth and quiet. They’re also pretty fuel-efficient despite their power, thanks to clever 48-volt energy-recouping technology, with 40mpg possible if driven sensibly.
At the top of the range will sit two petrol AMG performance models – the 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo AMG 53 and 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 AMG 63 – which we’ll review separately. However, it’d be nice to see a cheaper sensible petrol option further down the range for those who don’t want a diesel.
The GLE Coupe is large car and feels it in town, especially given its sloping rear roofline and thick rear pillars can get in the way when parking. Still, its steering is light at low speeds and a whole host of sensors and cameras bring confidence and standard air suspension does a decent job of keeping bumps to a minimum.
On country roads, the GLE Coupe’s wider stance helps it feel sharper and more upright through corners than the standard GLE, although never as agile as a Porsche Cayenne Coupe, even in its most aggressive driving modes.
It does excel on the motorway, though, where it’s extremely planted, quiet and comfortable.
The Mercedes GLE Coupe has a great infotainment system and its interior is wonderful to look at, even if some parts lower down feel a little cheap
Mercedes GLE Coupe colours
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.