Test-drive Mercedes-Benz GLE CoupeFebruary 22, 2020
New engines, a spacious interior, sensors and three touchpads – we check in the Tyrolean mountains how much the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe has changed and what new it can offer esthetic clients
Innsbruck Austria is a great place not only to test your vestibular apparatus on mountain streamers. Here you can also verify the off-road qualities of the second generation GLE Coupe, but you do not want to do this at all. The car fascinates with the beauty and quality of the finish, so I want to ride it sedately and with pleasure.
Instead, one has to read the dry pages of a technical presentation, from which it follows that the overall length of the car compared to its predecessor increased by almost 39 mm, and the width increased by a slight 7 mm. The wheelbase was added another 20 mm, but it still turned out 60 mm shorter than the standard new generation GLE.
In addition, engineers improved the aerodynamics of the car with the same frontal area, reduced the coefficient of air resistance by 9% compared to the previous version. The models got new diesel engines and a slightly more spacious interior, and the total volume of storage compartments grew to 40 liters.
These dry numbers sound like a compulsory prelude to impressions that are hard to put into words. The main one is a beautiful sloping roof line, which gives the crossover a greater resemblance to a coupe. And yet – a wide bend of the sidewall under the rear pillar, an exciting area around the rear lamp. According to the brand’s designers, this element gives the coupe the look of a beast ready to jump.
The trunk of the compartment was already rather big, but now it has as much as 665 liters, and the folding and removable curtain is fixed to the magnets. And if you fold the back row of seats, it is already released up to 1790 liters – 70 more than its predecessor, and more than its competitors. Wheel sizes range from 19 to 22 inches.
Salon compartment almost completely repeats the interior of a conventional GLE. The panel and doors are covered in leather and decorated with wooden inserts, but the coupe originally relies on sports seats and a new steering wheel. There are impressive illuminated handrails as a reminder of off-road capabilities.
The AMG versions made it even more elegant – they differ in nameplates, suede trim and a special stitching of materials. Landing is thought out to the smallest detail, and you can adjust the controls and the driver’s seat not just individually, but almost perfectly – the steering wheel and seat automatically adjust to the driver’s height. To do this, just specify the desired number in the menu of the main screen. Fortunately, the interface is familiar here – the car has an infotainment complex MBUX with two 12.3-inch screens and a voice control function.
In statics, the car seems like a real Klondike for fans to play on touchpads and sensors, but in motion all this touch control no longer seems very convenient. Touchpads and buttons on the steering wheel are sensitive, and if the car is in motion, you can easily press and reconfigure something with your hands. The touchpad on the steering wheel on the left controls the driver’s dashboard, and you can crawl on the center screen menu on the steering wheel, on the screen itself and through the large touchpad on the panel between the seats.
The coupe-crossover by default is equipped with 4Matic all-wheel drive and a spring suspension with tighter settings. An optional air suspension is also offered, with a sports bias too. But on the other hand, it maintains the same level of the body, regardless of the degree of vehicle load, and adapts to the roadway.
Together with it, it will not hurt to take the very impressive E-Active Body Control system, which is able not only to individually regulate the stiffness of the springs and the strength of the shock absorbers, but also to fight against rolls, pecks and body buildup. Moreover, the system is capable of rocking the car itself, if necessary in order to get out of the snow or sand. It turns out a series of jumps synchronized with the longitudinal movements of the car as if several people were pushing the car.
In total, the GLE Coupe has seven driving modes: “Slippery”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport +”, “Individual”, “Ground / Track” and “Sand”. In sports modes, ground clearance is always reduced by 15 mm. The car will fall by the same amount in Comfort mode when it reaches a speed of 120 km per hour. On bad roads, the clearance can be increased with the button right while driving as much as 55 mm. But only if the speed does not exceed 70 km per hour.
Serpentines are not the best places for a weighty SUV with good ground clearance, even taking into account the unique suspension. And it’s not even that comfortable with any of the GLE Coupe suspensions is trying to rock passengers. There is absolutely nowhere to accelerate, although I really want to on such a machine.
GLE AMG 53 version with 435 liter engine with., an instant set of speed and easy switching of the 9-speed gearbox, it mumbles sadly with each set of gas after exiting the turn and very much asks for an even clean road. The diesel version of the coupe looks much more harmonious here – albeit not so elegant, but more sedate and predictable in the mountain suburbs.
It is clear that the electronics will insure the driver, because the GLE Coupe is equipped with a whole set of collision avoidance systems. There is also a system for maintaining a safe distance with speed control according to the navigation system and road signs. In fact, the coupe can go almost autonomously along the markings, independently speeding up in signs and slowing down before turns and traffic jams. And in the traffic jam itself – it stops and resumes movement if no more than one minute has passed since the stop.
Car prices will be announced only at the beginning of next year, so for now you can focus only on the cost of competitors.
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