In many ways, cars like the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Coupe 4MATIC are like an answer to a question that was never asked. People have always appreciated the sexy styling and fashion statement of a two-door coupe, and understand that they typically come with a trade-off on practicality. Growing families and those who like to take road trips often gravitate to sport utility vehicles, and while they’re practical, they’re limited on what they can do on styling.
Why Don’t We Have Both?
Just like the classic taco commercial says, somebody at Mercedes-Benz had to have come to this conclusion when deciding to build the GLE Coupe. With its fast roofline, its looks are debatable – some love it, some hate it, but the basic good news is that it’s still reasonably practical. Families with up to two children should be able to do just fine with one of these since the cargo capacity penalty is barely fifteen percent.
Prospective buyers who want more practicality would be better served with the conventional GLE SUV, which has a more upright rear liftgate and can hold quite a bit more cargo. Beyond this, both GLE and GLE Coupe are pretty similar vehicles with just about identical powertrain options – the main difference is that the GLE Coupe is not available with the turbocharged 2.0-litre four cylinder available in the GLE 350.
What’s In A Name?
As the base engine, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Coupe 4MATIC comes with a 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six with mild hybrid electrification. Peak output is 362 horsepower between 5,500 and 6,100 RPM combined with 369 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 and 4,500 RPM. The bottom line is that the healthy torque figure at lower revs means that the GLE 450 can haul ass at any place, at any time. The inline six-cylinder arrangement is smoother than what any V6 can provide, and the mild hybrid adds a touch of an extra kick before the turbocharger comes on and does its business.
For a little extra kick, there’s the AMG GLE 53 4MATIC+ Coupe, which takes the same 3.0-litre mild hybrid and cranks the horsepower and torque up to 429 and 384, respectively. While Canadians get the option of either one, American customers have to make do with only the AMG GLE 53. Both engines get a nine-speed automatic transmission, with the AMG GLE 53’s gearbox receiving a more performance-oriented version.
The conventional SUV GLE 350 and GLE 450 start at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $73,600 and $81,600 (Canadian Dollars before any taxes and fees) respectively. The GLE 450 4MATIC Coupe will be a bit more and will set buyers back at least $86,600. The press demonstrator vehicle from Mercedes-Benz Canada came optioned with aluminum running boards ($750), soft close doors ($550), the Intelligent Drive Package ($3,000), the Premium Package ($3,400), and the Technology Package ($2,400). All in all, the as-tested price came to $96,700.
By comparison, this is pretty close to the GLE 450 Coupe’s main rival – the BMW X6 xDrive40i. Both feature inline six engines with the same displacement, but the BMW makes a little less horsepower (335 versus the GLE 450’s 362). Despite this, the BMW’s 0-100 km/h sprint happens in 5.5 seconds as opposed to the Mercedes’ 5.7. Not a heck of a lot of difference, but the BMW’s powertrain packs a mighty punch more than its numbers suggest and is a bit livelier than the one found in the Mercedes-Benz.
Driving the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Coupe
On the road, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Coupe 4MATIC has a good amount of presence both inside and out. The engine and transmission offer a silky smooth driving experience, and the exhaust note is a pleasant baritone warble. Fuel economy is rated at 11.7 litres per 100 kilometres in the city, and 9.2 litres per 100 kilometres on the highway. Observed consumption split the difference and saw 10.7 litres per 100 kilometres in mixed driving.
The ride of the GLE 450 Coupe is probably one of the more middling aspects of what is otherwise a well-driving car. As seen with other versions of the GLE without the optional AIRMATIC air suspension ($2,450 extra), hitting large bumps or potholes with either the left or right wheels creates unsettled pitching as the suspension compresses and rebounds. Hit a pothole with the left wheels and the car pitches to the right, and vice versa. Although firmness and ride on smooth roads is pretty good, the odd behaviour over rough roads has been noticed over several GLE test cars spanning multiple model years. We’re not the only ones to have noticed this – major publication Motor Trend seems to have noticed it, too.
While the exterior is in the eye of the beholder, the interior is objectively one of the best in today’s midsize luxury SUV segment. The design, materials, and fit and finish are wonderfully good – expect no less from a near six-figure Mercedes. The large, high-resolution digital gauge cluster and infotainment screen work together as centrepieces for the passenger cabin and are complemented by colour-shifting and configurable accent lighting.
The infotainment itself is controlled by either a touch screen or trackpad. Although both are not ideal for avoiding distracted driving when making adjustments, the volume, heating, and cooling controls do use hard buttons and knobs. For smartphone users, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality are both standard equipment.
From an audiophile perspective, the Burmester sound system is better than many mainstream cars but doesn’t quite hold a candle to other vehicles in its own price range. Lexus’ Mark Levinson and Volvo’s Bowers & Wilkins blow the GLE Coupe’s Burmester setup out of the water. Interestingly enough, Mercedes’ higher-end Burmester setups are much better. If you want the good stuff, the Premium Package ($3,400) Burmester isn’t enough – the High-End 3D Surround Sound is $6,900 extra and may not be worth it unless you’re a hardcore audio junkie.
For Dads and Families
Above and beyond the smaller and cheaper GLC Coupe, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 Coupe 4MATIC will be easier to live with every day for parents of babies and teenagers alike. While the fast roofline limits the amount of cargo that can be stacked, the available cargo floor area behind the second row is plentiful for strollers and all of the kit and caboodle that come with kids.
There is also plenty of second-row legroom for adult passengers, which means there’s also enough space for rear-facing child seats without impacting legroom for those sitting up front. The LATCH anchors are easily accessible behind removable plastic covers and can accommodate LATCH-installed seats in the two outboard positions. For parents who need to go three wide, the centre-mounted child seat must be installed with a seatbelt. Fortunately, there are top tether anchor positions for each of the three second-row seating positions.
If you think the 2022 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4MATIC Coupe is a good looker, there’s also a good chance that it will accommodate daily family life for two children – or three in a pinch. The 3.0-litre mild hybrid inline six is a smooth operator that is befitting for a car with this kind of price tag, although the ride quality could stand to be improved.
The interior is a luxurious environment that blends an appealing look while also being quiet and comfortable. Expect the infotainment to have a bit of a steeper learning curve, but there’s certainly worse out there. In most aspects, the BMW X6 does have the upper hand in the midsize luxury SUV coupe segment, so be sure to have a look and test out both before making a decision.