There has been a bit of confusion surrounding the all-new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, and much of the uncertainty surrounds the name of the crossover. The German automaker first unveiled the upcoming crossover in Detroit today, and although it features a name that hasn’t yet been seen in the lineup, the GLE is not actually a brand-new model. As you may have noticed, the GLE looks oddly familiar.
It shares a number of styling cues with the M-Class, and that is in fact because the GLE Coupe is the M-Class. Well, almost. With the new Mercedes-Benz vehicle naming structure, the M designation has been shed entirely, leaving the more common A, B, C, E and S families to serve as the base for the entire line of luxury vehicles.
Since the M is no longer a thing, and because the GLE is positioned in the middle of the SUV model range, the E has been attached to the name. It makes sense seeing as the E-Class inhabits a similar position smack dab in the middle of the sedan lineup. For once Mercedes is pushing for actual structure in their naming scheme, the changes just happened to take place at the same time that the M-Class was ready for an update.
That is not to say that the M-Class and the GLE Coupe are one of the same, however. Although the new model is based on the M-Class, it’s difficult to distinguish their similarities visually. On the outside, the roofline has been cut back, justifying the addition of “Coupe” to the name—it does, however, have four doors.
The fresh look provides the GLE with a look that closely mirrors the BMW X6, and that comes as no surprise as the reasoning behind the crossover’s facelift has quite a bit to do with more successfully rivaling the Bavarian manufacturer’s offering in the segment.
Another one of the big changes is that none of the M-Class models will transition into the renamed line. They have all been scrapped and replaced by a pair of AMG-tuned offerings to start. Serving as the base model will be the GLE450 AMG Coupe, which takes on a twin-turbocharged V6 that will produce as much as 362 horse, putting it well above the 300-horsepower V6 found in the BMW X6.
Those brave enough to step up to the GLE63S Coupe will be able to take advantage of 577 horsepower, which comes courtesy of the turbocharged 5.5-liter V8. As with all other AMG products, the engines will come built by hand.
Mercedes has also announced that a diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid version of the GLE will be making their way to market around the same time that the couple of AMG variants go on sale.
Seeing as they initial gas-powered models are products of the automaker’s in-house tuning division they are likely to come with some hefty price tags, and if they hope to compete with the X6 price-wise, they will have to keep the base model down to about $60,000, which is roughly how much a new X6 goes for.
We will likely know more about the actual price as we move closer to the official release date of the 2016 GLE Coupe, which Mercedes has already confirmed will arrive later this summer. Around that time we will have a better idea of just how viciously the automaker plans to nip at the heels of their competitor.