Mercedes-Benz might once have had a staid reputation, but in the last decade the company has issued a steady stream of hot rods that are all about rakish style and pugnacious fun. Customers can choose between sober and raucous. The respectable E-series sedan, for instance, can also be had in the form of the immortally swoopy CLS, a much-imitated, Italian-looking four-door coupe.
Now we have the new GLE Coupe, a breathtaking brawler of a sport-ute. Its streamlined roof demands that you duck your head while entering, but once you’re behind the wheel, it’s all leathery refinement from the tech-world school of interior design. The four-seat GLE might seem to be all about aggressive good looks, but it does ply the roads with savoir-faire. Handling and braking are quick and sharp for such a hulk. The GLE450 AMG version that I drove put 362 horses to the ground, and that seemed plenty good. (The “S” version throws down 577 hp.) A snarly exhaust adds one more note of exhilaration.
The base price is $65,000, but before you secure financing on that amount, have a look at the extensive options list. Nothing would be appreciated more than the Blind Spot Assist, which puts a wonderful bird’s-eye view of the car on your dash screen, thereby easing otherwise ominous parking-lot situations. It is part of a great array of electronic guardian angels hovering over the vehicle.
Is this Mercedes right for you? Well, if you’re more about hauling, or if the rear passengers need more space, the more wagon-like GLE SUV is the way to go. For similarly striking lines but in an agile, compact body, check out the Mercedes GLA class. But somebody’s going to like the GLE Coupe just as it is. Take one look at the powerful, bad-ass SUVs now patrolling the Post Road and it’s clear Mercedes has aimed this ferocious thing right at the heart of Fairfield County. Folks will surely know when you’ve arrived.
Mercedes-Benz GLE450 AMG Coupe
Base Price: $65,000
Price as Tested: $89,605
Drivetrain: 3.0-liter, turbocharged, 362-hp all-wheel drive
EPA Mileage: 17 city/23 highway