Today's unveiling also brings the first model in the new Mercedes-AMG Sport line, teased late last month alongside the expected C 450 AMG.
Shown here is the special GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe - but, despite its triple-digits badge, the new sports model will slot in below an eventual Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe hero.
"The GLE 450 AMG Coupe is our first sports model, and further highly emotional and performance-oriented models will follow in the near future," AMG boss Tobias Moers said.
"The new product line from Mercedes-AMG has allowed us to make true sports car technology and the fascination of motorsports more accessible. Every vehicle from Affalterbach honors the brand promise of Driving Performance."
The GLE Coupe range is scheduled to make its Australian debut in the second half of 2015, although specific models are still to be defined.
Mercedes-Benz Australia has confirmed with TMR however that the GLE 450 AMG is under consideration for a local berth.
First-Ever GLE Coupe: Merc's BMW X6 Rival
The niche-making X6 has, perhaps unexpectedly, proven a runaway sales success for BMW.
Smashing sales expectations in its first year on the global stage back in 2008, the X6 has been a strong performer since and is now into its second generation.
This, then, is Mercedes-Benz's response. The GLE Coupe, a more lifestyle-oriented SUV that brings a tapered roof and fast looks to its seat next to the M-Class SUV - which will soon also wear the GLE badge.
Today's unveiling reveals that the new SUV’s styling has not differed dramatically from the ‘Concept Coupe’ that first teased its coming back in April.
Styling at the front and through the profile is largely unchanged, while at the rear, new individual lamps hug each corner of the GLE Coupe’s tail, doing away with the glowing LED strip that connected the concept’s lights.
In the cabin there's a familiar Mercedes-Benz look, with the broad upright dash dominated by large air vents, a giant tablet-like centre display and a wide console between the seats.
The GLE Coupe measures in at 4900mm long, making it nearly 100mm longer than its M-Class sibling. It it around 50mm shorter top-to-bottom however, but around 60mm wider through the middle.
Its wheelbase is slightly longer, at 2933mm against the ML's 2916mm.
By comparison, BMW's X6 is 9mm longer, 14mm narrower and rides on an 18mm longer wheelbase than the GLE Coupe. Crucially, the X6 is also 42mm shorter top-to-bottom, giving the Bimmer a slightly more sporting profile.
The GLE Coupe's extra width and height help its interior space however, with Mercedes claiming a rear storage capacity up to 1650 litres - compared to 1525 litres in the X6.
GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe
Headlining the GLE Coupe range is the GLE 450 AMG 4Matic Coupe, driven by a 270kW and 520Nm turbocharged 3.0 litre six-cylinder petrol engine.
Mercedes says it has just about eradicated turbo lag, with peak torque available from a low 1400rpm.
Power is sent to the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system through the new 9G-Tronic nine-speed auto, with torque distributed over a fixed and enthusiast-focused 40-front and 60-rear ratio.
Boosting the GLE 450 AMG Coupe's sporting credentials is the addition of more selectable Dynamic Select driving modes, which include Individual, Comfort, Slippery, and the all-important Sport and Sport+ modes.
As with other models offering similar systems, the Dynamic Select setup allows special adjustment to the chassis, steering, powertrain and suspension settings, while also tweaking engine and exhaust note, instrument display and the driving lights.
Engage Sport+ mode, and the large central dash display "visualises the longitudinal and lateral acceleration plus the steering angle with a photo-realistic motorsports graphic." Those sorts of tricks.
Other special features include Airmatic suspension with continuously variable damping via the ADS Plus system - its first use with the Airmatic tech - along with Active Roll Stabilisation, Active Curve System and Sports Direct-Steer with a 17.4:1 ratio.
And then there's...
A less powerful version of that six-cylinder engine has already debuted elsewhere in the Mercedes-Benz family, and it will also appear in the next-step-down GLE 400, offering 245kW and 480Nm.
On the diesel front, there's the GLE 350 d Coupe (note the BMW-like approach to signifying diesel, rather than '350 Bluetec' or '350 CDI'), driven by a 3.0 litre turbodiesel V6 delivering 189kW and a meaty 619Nm of torque.
In these models, both also equipped with 4Matic all-wheel-drive, torque is distributed 50/50 across the front and rear axles.
Both also utilise the same 9G-Tronic nine-speed auto.
Other powertrains are still to be detailed, although we can likely expect the GLE 350 d to be joined by a petrol-powered GLE 350 at some point.
Expect the range to be topped by an AMG GLE 63 Coupe model in the coming year, which will likely feature AMG's 5.5 litre turbo V8 with around 385kW on tap.
The GLE Coupe is expected to make its official debut at next month’s Detroit Motor Show, with its more practical companion the M-Class likely to be renamed GLE around the same time.
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