2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Inferno By TopCar
New aftermarket program will be revealed at the 2016 Geneva Motor Showby Kirby Garlitos, on
The 2016 Geneva Motor Show is just around the corner and many automakers and aftermarket companies are in the final preparations for their respective displays at the world’s biggest auto show. Russian tuner Topcar has already announced its attendance in Geneva and its plan to bring three models to the show. Two of these models, the Porsche 991 Turbo S Stinger GTR and Porsche Cayenne Vantage, are the latest iterations in a long line of programs bearing the Stinger and Vantage names. The other one, the Mercedes GLE Coupe Inferno, is new to the family and will make its official debut in Geneva.
Like most of its programs, TopCar enhanced the GLE Coupe with a systematic body kit comprised of close to 20 unique components. That’s old hat for a company known to build some pretty exotic kits in the past. But this one’s different, partly because it’s the first kit TopCar has built for the GLE Coupe. The company has made no such announcements on any performance upgrade, but if its history of programs are any indication, expect one to be installed into the GLE Coupe’s engine, likely the more powerful 3.0-liter V-6. I don’t foresee any surprises coming out of TopCar as far as the engine mods are concerned, at least not to the extent of what fellow Mercedes tuner Brabus did when it presented its own GLE program - the Brabus 850 - at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.
In any event, we’re going to learn more about TopCar’s Inferno program when it hits the showcase floor at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. In the meantime, check out what it did with all those aerodynamic upgrades.
Continue after the jump to read the review.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Inferno By TopCar
There’s a lot to go by here, as is typical of TopCar. On the front, the GLE Coupe received a new front bumper with inserts and integrated LED lights. Just under the bumper is the new front spoiler and front lip while to its sides are fender flares that work similar to enlarged wheel arches. Linings on the front fenders are adorned with TopCar’s unmistakable “shark” logo. The Merc’s old grille and the contrasting hood were also replaced with TopCar-designed versions.
The Merc’s old grille and the contrasting hood were also replaced with TopCar-designed versions.
Moving to the side, TopCar installed four door panels, two in the front and two at the back with the latter also receiving air ducts. The kit also has side skirts and a a pair of rear fender extensions similar to the flares in the front. Then there’s the rear, which has been adorned with a spoiler, a new rear bumper with air intakes, side inserts, and a rear diffuser.
As always, TopCar is offering this kit with or without carbon parts. The non-carbon kit is slightly cheaper than its counterpart, but the latter does come with the benefits of being lighter and more attractive to look at.
In keeping with its intention of not giving too much away, the interior upgrades on the GLE Coupe Inferno are being kept close to the vest at the moment. I fully expect the program to come with a significant amount of interior upgrades because of the nature of it being the first such program for the new Mercedes SUV. The specifics behind these modifications are unclear, but it should come with a generous amounts of upholstered leather, carbon fiber, and Alcantara. Who knows, TopCar might even have something extra special in store for the cabin of the GLE Coupe.
Modifications on the engine are also being kept under wraps, at least until the Geneva Motor Show. Make no mistake though, this program should come with a performance upgrade. I’m optimistic that TopCar already has one, but it’s just keeping it a surprise until the program makes its debut. What I am curious to know is which of the GLE Coupe’s two engines will be eligible for the program. If I were to pick one, the smart money would be on the 3.0-liter V-6 engine. That said, I wouldn’t be opposed to the Russian tuner having separate programs for each engine option available.
For now, pricing should be considered as incomplete because we still don’t know the full spec of this program. Fortunately, TopCar has already released the price list for the aerodynamic kit and it costs a pretty penny. The full body kit, without the carbon parts, costs € 17,080, which is about $19,000 based on current exchange rates. The kit with the carbon fiber parts is more expensive at €20,205. That’s around $22,500.
I did mention the GLE 850 Brabus, right? As of this moment, the German tuner is widely regarded as the preeminent aftermarket firm for anything Mercedes. It’s no surprise then that it was one of the first to offer a tuning kit for the GLE Coupe as soon as the model came out.
Those who know Brabus will understand how comprehensive the German tuner is when it comes to its programs. This one is no different, considering that we get the usual helpings of an aerodynamic kit, a dressed up interior, and an engine upgrade that brings out a whole new level of performance out of the coupe SUV.
As much as I want to be poetic about Brabus’s blacked-out grille and the number of “B” badges adorning the model, I’m going to focus instead on the engine upgrade because it is a doozy and a half. First of all, Brabus bored out the 5.5-liter, twin-turbocharged, V-8 engine all the way up to 6.0 liters. Bigger turbos were fitted and a billet crank, forged rods, and pistons were all added in for good measure. The result is pretty staggering as Brabus was able to coax 850 horsepower and 1,069 pound-feet of torque out of it. The German tuner made no mention of a torque limiter on this particular program, although it is likely that there’s one in there to limit the torque to 848 pound-feet so as not to mess around with the drivetrain. A new stainless steel exhaust system is also part of the kit.
All together, the GLE Coupe 850 is capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.8 seconds to go with a top speed of 200 mph. I don’t know how much of an engine upgrade TopCar has, but I don’t think it’s going to come close to approaching what Brabus has already done to the coupe SUV.
Read our full review here.
I’m going to throw in a little curveball here and line up the GLE Coupe Inferno against a program built by the same people. This is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S Vantage, or at least a previous iteration considering that a new one will make its debut in Geneva alongside the Inferno.
But, this is more of a hat tip to TopCar than anything else. The Russian tuner, after all, has made a career out of building programs like this one and I don’t expect anything to be different when the new Vantage comes out. For now though, let’s look at this previous iteration of the program because if there’s one thing we know about TopCar, it is that it has a proclivity for dressing up the German SUV.
The aero kit itself is made up of the good stuff, including carbon fiber and Kevlar. The front section received a new front bumper with LED lights, a new hood with air intakes, extenders, and new linings on the front fenders. New side skirts are also part of the ticket, as are the linings on the front and rear doors, rear bumper, exhaust tips, and rear spoiler.
It’s admittedly not as extensive as the Inferno kit, but the presence of carbon fiber and Kevlar more than makes up for it. And no, this kit doesn’t have any performance upgrades. Such a shame because one of those bad boys would have really given this program a whole level of appreciation from the likes of me.
Read our full review here.
I’m going to refrain from making any concrete judgments on the program because as far as I can tell, there are still parts of it that TopCar is keeping private. While I do admit to being a little impatient with teases like this one, I understand that the Russian tuner is waiting for the appropriate time to show its cards. The full details about this program will be revealed at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.