Putting the “sport” in sport utility with the Mercedes-Benz GLE 350d 4MATIC 2016 Coupe

Autos Apr 01, 2016 by Rob Beintema Oshawa This Week

Individuality is sometimes the first casualty of success.

Mercedes-Benz, for example, was once known for rather eclectic vehicles that were unique in style and content, rarely spotted on the road, seemingly owned only by well-to-do eccentrics who tended to shun domestic offerings.

You could argue that the modern lineup has now become so broad and varied that when a Mercedes rolls by these days, nobody really seems to notice.

“Well, I’m pretty sure they’ll notice you in this,” Anthony, Mercedes-Benz Canada’s fleet wrangler, told me with a grin.

Enter the 2016 GLE 350 Coupe.

When Daimler debuted the latest evolution of what used to be called the ML or M-Class, they not only rebadged it with the new GLE name to harmonize with the E-Class content it represents, they also added a coupe derivative.

It’s a less boxy, sportier version with rounded, sleeker proportions, AMG styling cues, an arching roofline, big wheels, a dynamic stance and real sport coupe performance abilities.

The GLE 350 Coupe is a bit of a different-looking duck, but think of it as a vehicle designed to blend the best qualities of two polar opposite niches, mixing the performance and agility of a sports coupe with the robust strength, raised vantage point and presence of an SUV.

If you want to make a comparison, this hybridization is similar to what BMW did with the X6 adaption of their X5 SAV.

Now, nitpickers and purists might argue that a proper coupe has always been classically defined by two-door architecture but car companies have shifted to a looser definition lately, based more on the shape, style and spirit of these so-called “four-door coupes”.

Or, as Mercedes literature puts it, “what defines a Mercedes-Benz coupe is not just its body, but its soul”.

The sporty side of the equation may seem dubious at first, given a 2,250 kg, almost 5,000 lb, curb weight, but the GLE 350 Coupe bases its performance DNA on three powertrain choices - the GLE 350d 4MATIC Coupe ($72,300) powered by a 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine (249 hp, 457 lb/ft), the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe ($77,600) with a 3.0-litre Bi-Turbo gasoline motor (362 hp, 384 lb/ft) or the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC Coupe ($116,500), topping out with a 5.5-litre Bi-Turbo V8 engine (577 hp, 561 lb/ft).

As you can tell from the badging above, all of the models in Canada come with 4MATIC full-time all-wheel-drive systems.

Tested here, we have the GLE 350d diesel version, dipped in Polar White with Pearl Black Nappa sport leather upholstery, tastefully tarted up with scattered metallic highlights and Anthracite Poplar wood trim.

And, yes, definitely a head-turner, especially when it comes to current Mercedes owners who haven’t quite seen its like before. Teens were waving thumbs-up at me and, at one set of lights, I was trading a look-over with a seemingly perplexed BMW X6 owner.

Nobody’s saying that Mercedes blatantly copied the X6 style but while there are as many similarities as differences between the two, the GLE 350d strikes a particularly aggressive stance with its power-domed hood, wide grille and the swooping lines that flow back to muscular haunches.

Our GLE 350d is the base model with the base diesel engine, if you can consider anything over $70K as being “base”.

But don’t let the 249 hp rating fool you. The stump-pulling twist of 457 lb/ft of peak torque jumps you off the line nicely.

The diesel engine is quiet and civilized, almost unnoticeable except during cold start-ups or when idling through the drive-thru lane. It settles into a subtle background hum as it lopes around at just above 1,500 rpm in town or in the top gear of the nine-speed automatic on highway runs.

Fuel economy is rated at 10.4/8.2L/100km (city/hwy) and my personal results averaged out to 9.7L/100km (comb) with an assist from the ECO Start/Stop system. Other standard technologies and content include the DYNAMIC SELECT system with pre-selected Comfort, Sport and Slippery mode settings, the COMAND system with an 8.0-inch colour readout that handles the audio, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free calling and a variety of apps.

The list of dynamic and safety techs is too long to list here and our tester was pimped out further with $12,850 worth of special packages and options (some details in specs below).

The GLE 350d Coupe is longer, lower, wider and more expensive (+$9,100) than the regular GLE 350 sport Ute and as you’d expect, the fastback design actually compromises both second row passenger room and cargo space.

But practicality doesn’t really come into it because this is more about form than function.

You don’t buy a GLE 350d Coupe because you need it. You buy it because you want it.

And while customers with the cash to play in this league will probably be tempted to knock a few seconds off the 0-100 km/h time with one of the AMG versions, any one of the three different GLE 350 Coupe models will offer a unique way of bumping up the “sport” side of the sport utility equation.


MERCEDES-BENZ GLE 350D 4MATIC COUPE 2016 AT A GLANCE

BODY STYLE: Five-door luxury SUV coupe.

DRIVE METHOD: 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive.

ENGINE: 3.0-litre turbodiesel six-cylinder (259 hp, 457 lb/ft of torque) with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

CARGO CAPACITY: 650 litres, 1,720 litres with second row folded.

FUEL ECONOMY: 10.4/8.2L/100km (city/hwy); as tested 9.7L/100km (comb).

TOW RATING: 3,265 kg

PRICE: $72,300; As tested $85,125 incl. Sport Pkg. ($2,600), Interior Sport Pkg. ($2,600), Premium Pkg ($4,250), Intelligent Drive Pkg. ($2,700), Trailer Hitch ($675).

WEB SITE: HYPERLINK www.mercedes-benz.ca

WHAT’S BEST: Unique style, impressively powerful and frugal diesel, Mercedes style qualities inside and out.

WHAT’S WORST: Price premium for some reduced functionality. But if you really want one, who cares?

WHAT’S INTERESTING: Having three distinct powertrain choices in such a small segment offering. Mercedes is obviously counting on the continued crossover craze.

Rob Beintema is an automotive journalist for Metroland Media

Putting the “sport” in sport utility with the Mercedes-Benz GLE 350d 4MATIC 2016 Coupe

Autos Apr 01, 2016 by Rob Beintema Oshawa This Week

Individuality is sometimes the first casualty of success.

Mercedes-Benz, for example, was once known for rather eclectic vehicles that were unique in style and content, rarely spotted on the road, seemingly owned only by well-to-do eccentrics who tended to shun domestic offerings.

You could argue that the modern lineup has now become so broad and varied that when a Mercedes rolls by these days, nobody really seems to notice.

“Well, I’m pretty sure they’ll notice you in this,” Anthony, Mercedes-Benz Canada’s fleet wrangler, told me with a grin.

Enter the 2016 GLE 350 Coupe.

When Daimler debuted the latest evolution of what used to be called the ML or M-Class, they not only rebadged it with the new GLE name to harmonize with the E-Class content it represents, they also added a coupe derivative.

It’s a less boxy, sportier version with rounded, sleeker proportions, AMG styling cues, an arching roofline, big wheels, a dynamic stance and real sport coupe performance abilities.

The GLE 350 Coupe is a bit of a different-looking duck, but think of it as a vehicle designed to blend the best qualities of two polar opposite niches, mixing the performance and agility of a sports coupe with the robust strength, raised vantage point and presence of an SUV.

If you want to make a comparison, this hybridization is similar to what BMW did with the X6 adaption of their X5 SAV.

Now, nitpickers and purists might argue that a proper coupe has always been classically defined by two-door architecture but car companies have shifted to a looser definition lately, based more on the shape, style and spirit of these so-called “four-door coupes”.

Or, as Mercedes literature puts it, “what defines a Mercedes-Benz coupe is not just its body, but its soul”.

The sporty side of the equation may seem dubious at first, given a 2,250 kg, almost 5,000 lb, curb weight, but the GLE 350 Coupe bases its performance DNA on three powertrain choices - the GLE 350d 4MATIC Coupe ($72,300) powered by a 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine (249 hp, 457 lb/ft), the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe ($77,600) with a 3.0-litre Bi-Turbo gasoline motor (362 hp, 384 lb/ft) or the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC Coupe ($116,500), topping out with a 5.5-litre Bi-Turbo V8 engine (577 hp, 561 lb/ft).

As you can tell from the badging above, all of the models in Canada come with 4MATIC full-time all-wheel-drive systems.

Tested here, we have the GLE 350d diesel version, dipped in Polar White with Pearl Black Nappa sport leather upholstery, tastefully tarted up with scattered metallic highlights and Anthracite Poplar wood trim.

And, yes, definitely a head-turner, especially when it comes to current Mercedes owners who haven’t quite seen its like before. Teens were waving thumbs-up at me and, at one set of lights, I was trading a look-over with a seemingly perplexed BMW X6 owner.

Nobody’s saying that Mercedes blatantly copied the X6 style but while there are as many similarities as differences between the two, the GLE 350d strikes a particularly aggressive stance with its power-domed hood, wide grille and the swooping lines that flow back to muscular haunches.

Our GLE 350d is the base model with the base diesel engine, if you can consider anything over $70K as being “base”.

But don’t let the 249 hp rating fool you. The stump-pulling twist of 457 lb/ft of peak torque jumps you off the line nicely.

The diesel engine is quiet and civilized, almost unnoticeable except during cold start-ups or when idling through the drive-thru lane. It settles into a subtle background hum as it lopes around at just above 1,500 rpm in town or in the top gear of the nine-speed automatic on highway runs.

Fuel economy is rated at 10.4/8.2L/100km (city/hwy) and my personal results averaged out to 9.7L/100km (comb) with an assist from the ECO Start/Stop system. Other standard technologies and content include the DYNAMIC SELECT system with pre-selected Comfort, Sport and Slippery mode settings, the COMAND system with an 8.0-inch colour readout that handles the audio, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free calling and a variety of apps.

The list of dynamic and safety techs is too long to list here and our tester was pimped out further with $12,850 worth of special packages and options (some details in specs below).

The GLE 350d Coupe is longer, lower, wider and more expensive (+$9,100) than the regular GLE 350 sport Ute and as you’d expect, the fastback design actually compromises both second row passenger room and cargo space.

But practicality doesn’t really come into it because this is more about form than function.

You don’t buy a GLE 350d Coupe because you need it. You buy it because you want it.

And while customers with the cash to play in this league will probably be tempted to knock a few seconds off the 0-100 km/h time with one of the AMG versions, any one of the three different GLE 350 Coupe models will offer a unique way of bumping up the “sport” side of the sport utility equation.


MERCEDES-BENZ GLE 350D 4MATIC COUPE 2016 AT A GLANCE

BODY STYLE: Five-door luxury SUV coupe.

DRIVE METHOD: 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive.

ENGINE: 3.0-litre turbodiesel six-cylinder (259 hp, 457 lb/ft of torque) with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

CARGO CAPACITY: 650 litres, 1,720 litres with second row folded.

FUEL ECONOMY: 10.4/8.2L/100km (city/hwy); as tested 9.7L/100km (comb).

TOW RATING: 3,265 kg

PRICE: $72,300; As tested $85,125 incl. Sport Pkg. ($2,600), Interior Sport Pkg. ($2,600), Premium Pkg ($4,250), Intelligent Drive Pkg. ($2,700), Trailer Hitch ($675).

WEB SITE: HYPERLINK www.mercedes-benz.ca

WHAT’S BEST: Unique style, impressively powerful and frugal diesel, Mercedes style qualities inside and out.

WHAT’S WORST: Price premium for some reduced functionality. But if you really want one, who cares?

WHAT’S INTERESTING: Having three distinct powertrain choices in such a small segment offering. Mercedes is obviously counting on the continued crossover craze.

Rob Beintema is an automotive journalist for Metroland Media

Putting the “sport” in sport utility with the Mercedes-Benz GLE 350d 4MATIC 2016 Coupe

Autos Apr 01, 2016 by Rob Beintema Oshawa This Week

Individuality is sometimes the first casualty of success.

Mercedes-Benz, for example, was once known for rather eclectic vehicles that were unique in style and content, rarely spotted on the road, seemingly owned only by well-to-do eccentrics who tended to shun domestic offerings.

You could argue that the modern lineup has now become so broad and varied that when a Mercedes rolls by these days, nobody really seems to notice.

“Well, I’m pretty sure they’ll notice you in this,” Anthony, Mercedes-Benz Canada’s fleet wrangler, told me with a grin.

Enter the 2016 GLE 350 Coupe.

When Daimler debuted the latest evolution of what used to be called the ML or M-Class, they not only rebadged it with the new GLE name to harmonize with the E-Class content it represents, they also added a coupe derivative.

It’s a less boxy, sportier version with rounded, sleeker proportions, AMG styling cues, an arching roofline, big wheels, a dynamic stance and real sport coupe performance abilities.

The GLE 350 Coupe is a bit of a different-looking duck, but think of it as a vehicle designed to blend the best qualities of two polar opposite niches, mixing the performance and agility of a sports coupe with the robust strength, raised vantage point and presence of an SUV.

If you want to make a comparison, this hybridization is similar to what BMW did with the X6 adaption of their X5 SAV.

Now, nitpickers and purists might argue that a proper coupe has always been classically defined by two-door architecture but car companies have shifted to a looser definition lately, based more on the shape, style and spirit of these so-called “four-door coupes”.

Or, as Mercedes literature puts it, “what defines a Mercedes-Benz coupe is not just its body, but its soul”.

The sporty side of the equation may seem dubious at first, given a 2,250 kg, almost 5,000 lb, curb weight, but the GLE 350 Coupe bases its performance DNA on three powertrain choices - the GLE 350d 4MATIC Coupe ($72,300) powered by a 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine (249 hp, 457 lb/ft), the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe ($77,600) with a 3.0-litre Bi-Turbo gasoline motor (362 hp, 384 lb/ft) or the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4MATIC Coupe ($116,500), topping out with a 5.5-litre Bi-Turbo V8 engine (577 hp, 561 lb/ft).

As you can tell from the badging above, all of the models in Canada come with 4MATIC full-time all-wheel-drive systems.

Tested here, we have the GLE 350d diesel version, dipped in Polar White with Pearl Black Nappa sport leather upholstery, tastefully tarted up with scattered metallic highlights and Anthracite Poplar wood trim.

And, yes, definitely a head-turner, especially when it comes to current Mercedes owners who haven’t quite seen its like before. Teens were waving thumbs-up at me and, at one set of lights, I was trading a look-over with a seemingly perplexed BMW X6 owner.

Nobody’s saying that Mercedes blatantly copied the X6 style but while there are as many similarities as differences between the two, the GLE 350d strikes a particularly aggressive stance with its power-domed hood, wide grille and the swooping lines that flow back to muscular haunches.

Our GLE 350d is the base model with the base diesel engine, if you can consider anything over $70K as being “base”.

But don’t let the 249 hp rating fool you. The stump-pulling twist of 457 lb/ft of peak torque jumps you off the line nicely.

The diesel engine is quiet and civilized, almost unnoticeable except during cold start-ups or when idling through the drive-thru lane. It settles into a subtle background hum as it lopes around at just above 1,500 rpm in town or in the top gear of the nine-speed automatic on highway runs.

Fuel economy is rated at 10.4/8.2L/100km (city/hwy) and my personal results averaged out to 9.7L/100km (comb) with an assist from the ECO Start/Stop system. Other standard technologies and content include the DYNAMIC SELECT system with pre-selected Comfort, Sport and Slippery mode settings, the COMAND system with an 8.0-inch colour readout that handles the audio, navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free calling and a variety of apps.

The list of dynamic and safety techs is too long to list here and our tester was pimped out further with $12,850 worth of special packages and options (some details in specs below).

The GLE 350d Coupe is longer, lower, wider and more expensive (+$9,100) than the regular GLE 350 sport Ute and as you’d expect, the fastback design actually compromises both second row passenger room and cargo space.

But practicality doesn’t really come into it because this is more about form than function.

You don’t buy a GLE 350d Coupe because you need it. You buy it because you want it.

And while customers with the cash to play in this league will probably be tempted to knock a few seconds off the 0-100 km/h time with one of the AMG versions, any one of the three different GLE 350 Coupe models will offer a unique way of bumping up the “sport” side of the sport utility equation.


MERCEDES-BENZ GLE 350D 4MATIC COUPE 2016 AT A GLANCE

BODY STYLE: Five-door luxury SUV coupe.

DRIVE METHOD: 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive.

ENGINE: 3.0-litre turbodiesel six-cylinder (259 hp, 457 lb/ft of torque) with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

CARGO CAPACITY: 650 litres, 1,720 litres with second row folded.

FUEL ECONOMY: 10.4/8.2L/100km (city/hwy); as tested 9.7L/100km (comb).

TOW RATING: 3,265 kg

PRICE: $72,300; As tested $85,125 incl. Sport Pkg. ($2,600), Interior Sport Pkg. ($2,600), Premium Pkg ($4,250), Intelligent Drive Pkg. ($2,700), Trailer Hitch ($675).

WEB SITE: HYPERLINK www.mercedes-benz.ca

WHAT’S BEST: Unique style, impressively powerful and frugal diesel, Mercedes style qualities inside and out.

WHAT’S WORST: Price premium for some reduced functionality. But if you really want one, who cares?

WHAT’S INTERESTING: Having three distinct powertrain choices in such a small segment offering. Mercedes is obviously counting on the continued crossover craze.

Rob Beintema is an automotive journalist for Metroland Media