Why are vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Coupe so popular? Essentially it’s an SUV but with the styling of a sleek 4-door sedan. Four-door sedan and SUV normally don’t go together and yet, these types of vehicles are becoming more and more popular. Why?
Engine – The Mercedes GLE 450 Coupe is powered by the same engine that powers its true SUV brother; the GLE 450. It is a 3.0L inline-6 cylinder engine with 362 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque (270 kW & 500 Nm). For something that tips the scales at 2,310 kg (5,092 lbs), Mercedes-Benz claims a 0-100 km/h time of 5.7 seconds. Pretty brisk for such a large vehicle. Styling aside, this is one of my favorite engines out there. Not only because it is a smooth inline-6 engine but also because it is powerful and fuel efficient.
It is aided by a 48-volt mild-hybrid system which Mercedes calls EQ-Boost. The electric motor can provide an additional 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque (15.6 kW & 250 Nm) for brief periods while accelerating. Because of this system, the engine is very responsive. From rpms as low as 1,700 to near the redline, this engine feels relentless in getting the big SUV up to speed.
Fuel Economy – But this mild-hybrid system is also clever. It will shut off the engine just before arriving at a complete stop to save that extra bit of fuel. As well, if you drive the SUV in Eco mode, it will shut off the engine for brief periods while coasting. This not only saves fuel but because there is no engine braking to slow the GLE 450 down, you can coast for a little bit longer which will add up over the course of a fuel tank. The engine will immediately turn back on once you touch the throttle pedal or apply enough braking.
As a result of this technology, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Coupe 4Matic is rated for 11.7 L/100km (20.1 MPG) in a city and 9.2 L/100km (25.5 MPG) on a highway. During my time with the Coupe SUV, I averaged 11.4 L/100km (20.6 MPG).
Transmission – This inline-6 engine is paired with a smooth shifting 9-speed automatic transmission. 98% of the time, you will not feel the transmission change gears. The other 2% is only during downshifts when the transmission doesn’t downshift as quickly as it was expecting you to slow down. However, most of the time you won’t notice this. You can also change gears yourself via the paddle shifters but there is a bit of a delay from the time you pull on the paddle to the time the transmission shifts. It’s minor but it’s there if you pay attention. Either way, most of the time the SUV will remain in normal automatic mode.
Braking – This particular model of the GLE doesn’t have any fancy 6-piston brakes of its more sporty AMG cousins. But the braking force is still strong. On cold days, the brake pedal may be a tad on the sensitive side for some. But after a few uses, the brakes warm up and it becomes easier to slow down smoothly.
Handling – The 2022 GLE 450 Coupe is a heavy SUV and it feels that way if you go too quickly around a corner. While this particular demo vehicle does not have the air suspension and E-Active body control systems, it does have standard adaptive dampers. These do limit some of the body roll through corners in Sport mode but you can still feel a bit of leaning. However it’s the steering that feels a little on the numb side. There’s almost no feel on center but that does improve as you begin to rotate the steering wheel. It doesn’t drive around corners with as much zest as its 63 AMG brother but then again, this isn’t the sporty trim level.
Ride Comfort – Although this vehicle wasn’t optioned with the air suspension, the ride is still compliant in most situations. It does feel a little bit firmer than a GLE that has been optioned with the air suspension but the car will still provide a comfortable ride during daily commutes or road trips.
Interior Space – In the front seats, there is plenty of space whether you’re as tall as myself at 6’4”, or taller, or if you’re shorter. As well, even with the front seats in their lowest position, you still sit quite high up. Visibility is good out the front and side but not so much out the back due to that sloping roof. Also, getting into the front (or back) is a bit annoying due to the side steps. For my height at least, they sit at almost the same height as the floor so I never use them. But they make the gap between the floor and the ground much wider so it always feels as though I’m jumping onto the seat rather than casually laying in it.
It’s in the back seats and trunk that see the biggest changes when compared to the standard GLE SUV. The wheelbase of the coupe GLE 450 is shorter which means that legroom is noticeably less. Behind my driving position, my knees don’t feel squished per se but another inch or two of legroom would be nice. Headroom is Ok because of the indentation in the roof but again, it’s less than the standard GLE SUV. However, it is dark back there. Even with the white leather seats, the black roof liner and sloping rear roof can make the back sets feel claustrophobic to some.
As for trunk space, it’s not what I was expecting. On paper, the GLE Coupe has slightly more cargo space than the regular GLE SUV. There’s 655 L (23.1 cu-ft) with the seats up in the Coupe and 630 L (22.2 cu-ft) in the regular GLE. But fold those seats down and the regular GLE has significantly more cargo volume; 2,055 L (72.6 cu-ft) vs 1,790 L (63.2 cu-ft) for the Coupe. Just be aware, there are no rear seat latch releases in the trunk. You have to walk to the side to fold the seats.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Sitting inside the GLE 450, you feel very insulated from the outside world. Wind and road noise, even at highway speeds, are well subdued inside the cabin. Hearing the engine is also a bit of a struggle because it’s so well insulated from the cabin. It’s a bit of a shame though because at higher rpms, the engine makes a pleasing noise.
Odds and Ends
Pricing – The 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Coupe 4Matic does not come cheap. It has a starting price that is $6,000 CAD more than the regular GLE 450. It will set you back $86,600 CAD before you add any options to it. This particular demo vehicle is far from being fully loaded and yet it costs $96,700 CAD. For the 2022 model year, the GLE 450 Coupe is not available in the United States, only the GLE 53 AMG.
Gadgets – For the starting price, you’re getting the standard luxury features. Heated seats, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, leather upholstery, heated & chilled front cupholders, navigation, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto integration, and dual 10.25” infotainment & driver display screens. It’s enough gadgets to get you by however the only package and option you should consider adding on is the Premium package and the Nappa leather option. The standard leather is too coarse and not soft to the touch. As well, the Premium package gives you keyless go, the Burmester surround sound system, foot activated tailgate, heated armrests in the front, heated 2nd row seats, and 360 camera. It does increase the price by almost $7,000 CAD but I think it’s worth it if you plan on leasing the GLE 450 Coupe for a long period.
Interior Design – The interior of the Mercedes GLE 450 Coupe doesn’t see any differences between it and the standard GLE SUV. It has the same dual 10.25” screens, same rectangular air vents beneath the screens along with physical climate controls, same touchpad control for the infotainment system, and same steering wheel design. Unfortunately, for the 2023 mid-cycle update, the steering wheel will most likely be updated to the new E53 AMG design with capacitive touch controls that are finicky and a distraction to use while driving. The current Blackberry style touchpads and physical button controls work much better.
Exterior Design – Now we arrive at the elephant outside the room. The coupe SUV has a simple design philosophy. Put a sleek 4-door body onto an SUV chassis. But it doesn’t work in my eyes. It looks bulbous and disproportionate. The coupe design cuts into the utility of the SUV and the fact that it’s as big as an SUV means that it doesn’t drive as well as a 4-door sedan. The ideal stylish and utilitarian vehicle is the station wagon like the E450. Or if you want something with a bit more spice, there’s the E63 AMG wagon. Wagons are cool again.
Warranty – Just like every other Mercedes-Benz vehicle, the 2022 GLE 450 Coupe comes with a 4 year / 80,000 km new vehicle warranty. It also comes with 4 years / unlimited km roadside assistance, 4 year / 80,000 km surface corrosion, and 8 year / 130,000 km warranty for certain emission parts. For more information on Canadian warranty, click here. For U.S.A. warranty information, click here.
Conclusion – While I understand the concept behind a Coupe SUV, it doesn’t really work. It’s a compromise of utility and a compromise of looks. As a piece of engineering, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Coupe is fantastic. But the standard GLE 450 SUV offers more practicality. If you do want something stylish and practical, what’s wrong with a wagon?
Thank you to Mercedes-Benz Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Mercedes-Benz.ca