Revised styling, new tech, and a sleeker profile

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe is a version of the fourth-generation GLE, introduced in 2019. The second generation of the coupe-style SUV, the 2020 GLE Coupe boasts a brand-new design, rides on a new platform, and features improved and new technology.

It’s also equipped with new engines that deliver better performance. Aimed initially at the BMW X6, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe also competes against recently introduced nameplates like the Audi Q8 and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe. Let’s find out more about it and see how it compares to its rivals in the review below.

Exterior

  • Based on regular GLE
  • New front fascia design
  • Sportier bumpers
  • Sleeker roofline
  • No longer features a hunchback rear end
  • LED lights standard
  • A big bigger than the old model
  • Longer wheelbase
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Exterior
- image 858008
The front fascia boasts a diamond grille borrowed from coupe versions of the E-Class and S-Class.

The new GLE Coupe is obviously based on the regular GLE, so it borrows almost every single feature from the boxier SUV. Up front, we can see larger headlamps that are almost rectangular and a grille that’s wider at the center. The grille is a notable change from the regular GLE, as the standard mesh was replaced with a diamond unit. This dotted grille is usually featured on coupe models and Mercedes is using it here to emphasize on the coupe styling of this SUV.

Down below we can see the already traditional A-shaped bumper with big vents on the sides and a thin opening just above the splitter. Sadly, most of the grille panels are closed off and the plastic looks a bit cheap. The headlamps are fitted with LED technology as standard on all trims.

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The windshield also has a steeper angle toward the back compared to the regular GLE.

The profile of the GLE Coupe remains familiar with only a handful of changes made compared to the old model. The main upgrade is the new beltline. Moved higher, just below the windows, it’s also more prominent. It’s now on the same level with the line of the engine hood and runs higher toward the back, making contact with the upper edge of the taillights. The character line on the doors seems similar to the old model, but the side skirts are new and can be fitted with optional running boards.

The fender wheel arches feature thicker cladding that’s black as standard and body-colored with the optional AMG Line package. As before, you can choose from a wide variety of wheel designs measuring from 19 to 22 inches. The roof also looks a bit different than before, with a more noticeable slope toward the rear. But the big change is that the tailgate extends to the tip of the decklid, where it forms an integrated spoiler. This element adds sportiness but also eliminates the flat decklid of the previous model, which gave the GLE Coupe its hunchback stance. I don’t know about you, but I hate the profile of the old SUV. The new GLE Coupe, on the other hand, looks much better. The windshield also has a steeper angle toward the back compared to the regular GLE. This detail provides a more dynamic look and it’s a better match to the sloping roofline.

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The rear end of the GLE Coupe is way sexier than before thanks to the new design features borrowed from the regular GLE. The slim, elongated taillights are wider toward the fenders and thinner inside the tailgate, a design that works great with the arched spoiler design.

The center fascia is almost clean, but the lower section is shaped around the black bumper that mimics the shape of a larger diffuser. Down below, an aluminum-look element incorporates small vertical blades and trapezoidal exhaust pipes at the corner.

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At 194.4 inches long, the new GLE Coupe is 1.5 inches longer than its predecessor. The SUV is 79.1 inches wide, only 0.3 inches wider than the old model. The wheelbase is also 0.8 inches longer than before, which translates into a bit of extra room inside the cabin.

But despite being longer than its forerunner, the GLE Coupe remains shorter than the standard GLE. Specifically, its wheelbase is 2.4 inches shorter. Mercedes claims that the more compact size enables sportier handling compared to the regular GLE.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe vs 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe exterior dimensions
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe
Wheelbase 117.9 117.1
Length 194.4 192.9
Width 79.1 78.9
Height 70.7 68.1
Track (front / rear) 66.10 / 66.77 65.3 / 67.9

Interior

  • Borrowed from standard GLE
  • Big infotainment display
  • Digital instrument cluster
  • Sporty seats standard
  • Premium upholstery
  • MBUX infotainment system
  • Better legroom
  • Decent trunk vs the competition
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Interior
- image 858017
The upper dash is wrapped in Artico leather as standard, so you get a luxurious interior no matter the trim.

Just like the exterior, the interior of the GLE Coupe is an almost exact copy of the regular GLE SUV, which in turns borrows some cues from the E-Class sedan. As seen on recently introduced Mercs, the digital instrument cluster and the infotainment display are set next to each other and form a massive display that runs over half the length of the dashboard. In reality, there are two separate 12.3-inch screens. The rest of the dashboard looks clean overall, with a smooth passenger side and a glossy center stripe that houses four rectangular A/C vents. Just below the vents there’s a thin console with controls for the air conditioning system.

The upper dash in wrapped in Artico leather as standard, so you get a luxurious interior no matter the trim. Also, every model comes with sporty seats as standard, so you’ll enjoy good lateral support. The seats are also wrapped in Artico leather, while the steering wheel features Nappa leather.

The center console is very SUV specific. Not only tall and wide, it also includes grab handles. The design is identical to the GLE, as are the door panels. But unlike the regular GLE, you can order the GLE Coupe with an exclusive upholstery that combines Nappa leather seat covers and door panels in Classic Red and black.

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MBUX features voice control that recognizes and understands all commands related to infotainment and vehicle control.

As far as tech goes, the package comes from the regular GLE, so the GLE Coupe includes the MBUX infotainment system too. Now offered in all Mercs, MBUX is smarter than ever and includes more features than any infotainment system from the past. It features voice control that recognizes and understands all commands related to infotainment and vehicle control, as well as gesture control, so you can now access various features without having to press on the screen.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Interior
- image 858019

Moving over to passenger room, the slightly longer wheelbase creates more legroom for rear-seat passengers. Mercedes-Benz doesn’t say how much more legroom there is compared to the old model, but it’s safe to assume that the difference is minor, probably around an inch or so. But the Germans did say that entering the SUV is now easier thanks to an extra 1.4 inches of room. The new GLE Coupe also offers a total of 1.4 cubic feet of stowage space in the cabin.

The trunk has enough space for 23.1 cubic feet of luggage, which is similar to the outgoing model. As you might have already guessed, the coupe layout makes the trunk smaller than the regular GLE, which offers 29.1 cubic feet.

With the rear seats folded flat, trunk capacity increases to 63.2 cubic feet. That’s 2.5 cubic feet more than the old model, but a 9.4-cubic-foot decrease compared to the regular GLE.

Mercedes-Benz claims that the GLE Coupe offers best-in-segment trunk space behind the first-row seats. But is this true?

Looking at the competition, we can see that Mercedes isn’t lying. The BMW X6 offers 59.6 cubic feet, the Audi Q8 comes with 62 cubic feet, while the Porsche Cayenne Coupe boasts 54.4 cubic feet. So the GLE Coupe wins by 3.6, 1.2, and 8.8 cubic feet, respectively.

But when it comes to space behind the second row, the GLE Coupe offers less room than the BMW X6. Specifically, the X6 offers 27.4 cubic feet, 4.3 more than the GLE Coupe. On the other hand, the GLE Coupe is a bit more spacious than the Audi Q8 and Porsche Cayenne Coupe, rated at 21.4 and 21.2 cubic feet respectively. That’s an extra 1.7 and 1.9 cubic feet for the GLE Coupe.

Drivetrain

  • New gas engines
  • Diesel options in Europe
  • Nine-speed automatic
  • 4Matic all-wheel drive
  • Up to 483 horsepower
  • Up to 516 pound-feet of torque
  • On par with the competition
  • AMG versions to follow
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Exterior
- image 858010

The GLE Coupe was launched with a couple of diesel choices. That’s because it debuted in Europe.

First up is the GLE Coupe 350 d, powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six oil burner that cranks out 268 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. A more powerful version called the GLE 400 d features the same engine, but rated at 326 horses and 516 pound-feet of twist

. Both these engines comply with the Euro 6 standard for diesels thanks to an additional selective catalytic reduction converter with an ammonia slip catalyst in the exhaust tract.

Merecedes-Benz GLE Coupe - diesel lineup
GLE 350 d 4MATIC Coupé GLE 400 d 4MATIC Coupé
Number of cylinders/arrangement 6/in-line 6/in-line
Displacement 2925 2925
Rated output 268 HP 326 HP
at engine speed 3200-4600 3600-4200
Rated torque 443 LB-FT 516 LB-FT
at engine speed 1200-3000 1200-3200
Compression ratio 15.5: 1 15.5: 1
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (seconds) 6.6 5.7
Top speed (km/h) 226 240

These oil burners enable the GLE Coupe to compete with similar offerings from BMW. The X6 is available in xDrive30d trim with 261 horses and 457 pound-feet and in M50d trim with 394 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of twist. Audi also offers a couple of diesels with the Q8. There’s the 45 TDI with 228 horsepower and 369 pound-feet and the 50 TDI with 282 horsepower and 443 pound-feet.

In the U.S., the GLE Coupe could arrive with three gasoline engines, not including the AMG models.

The base model will be called the GLE 350 and feature a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 255 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Next up, the GLE 450 will deliver 362 horses and 369 pound-feet from a 3.0-liter inline six engine and an EQ Boost system. The GLE 580 will generate even more oomph thanks to a 4.0-liter V-8 engine that cranks out 483 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe gasoline lineup
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450
Engine Type 2.0L Inline-4 3.0L Inline-6 with EQ Boost
Engine Material Aluminum-Alloy Aluminum-Alloy
Valvetrain / Arrangement DOHC, 4-valves per cylinder DOHC, 4-valves per cylinder
Displacement (cc) 1,991 2,999
Bore (in / mm) 3.27 / 83.0 3.27 / 83.0
Stroke (in / mm) 3.62 / 92.0 3.64 / 92.4
Compression Ratio 10.5 : 1 10.5 : 1
Horsepower @ rpm 255 @ 5,800 – 6,100 362 @ 5,500 – 6,100
Torque @ rpm 273 @ 1,800 – 4,000 369 @ 1,600 – 4,000
Redline (rpm) 6,500 6,800
0-60 mph (seconds) 7.0 est. (4MATIC: 7.1 est.) 5.5 est.
Top Speed (mph) 130 (electronically limited) 130 (electronically limited)
Mercedes-Benz GLE 580 specifications
Engine 4.0L V8 biturbo engine with EQ Boost
Horsepower 483 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque 516 lb-ft @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
EQ Boost HP 21 HP
EQ Boost Torque 184 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds

All these powertrains provide good alternatives to the competition. The BMW X6, for instance, features a 3.0-liter rated at 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet in the xDrive40i, while the Audi Q8 comes with a 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet in the 55 TFSI model.

All engines mate to the already familiar 9G-Tronic, nine-speed automatic transmission, which features a transfer case with an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch

.

When paired with 4Matic all-wheel drive, it allows a variable transfer of drive torque from zero to 100 percent between the front and rear axles.

Chassis and suspension

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Exterior
- image 858050
The suspension is obviously taken from the regular GLE. The coupe-style SUV comes with the same steel suspension chassis as standard.

It’s stiffer than the old model, it features improved geometry, and provides better shielding from vibrations coming from the road surface. Optionally, you can go for the AirMatic suspension with adaptive adjustable damping, a sportier setup, and the self-leveling feature.

Mercedes-Benz also offers an E-Active Body Control option, which can individually control spring and damping rated at each wheel to reduce body roll, pitching, and squat. Combined with Road Surface Scan and the curve inclination function, E-Active Body Control improves ride comfort on just about any surface as well as dynamics at high speeds in highway driving conditions.

Prices

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Exterior
- image 858015

Pricing for the new-generation GLE Coupe is not yet available, because Mercedes-Benz is still selling the old model in the United States. The outgoing coupe starts from $71,350, but that’s because the range starts with the AMG GLE 43 model. The new-gen GLE Coupe should arrive with a non-AMG version in base trim that should be a bit more affordable. The entry-level SUV should start from around $65,000.

Competition

BMW X6

2020 BMW X6 - Driven Exterior
- image 881968

The vehicle that established this niche back in 2007, the X6 is now in its third generation, fresh for the 2020 model year. Sportier than before on the outside, the X6 is packed with state-of-the-art technology. Like before, it borrows most of its interior, features, and technology from the BMW X5. The X6 is available with a variety of engines globally. On the gasoline front, the xDrive40i comes with a 3.0-liter inline-six engine rated at 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Move higher on the trim ladder and you’ll find the M50i, powered by a 4.4-liter V-8 good for 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of twist. BMW also offers two diesel mills: here’s the xDrive30d with a 3.0-liter inline-six rated at 261 horses and 457 pound-feet and the M50d with a quad-turbo inline-six that cranks out 394 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of twist. The X6 is available with gasoline engines only in the United States and retails from $64,300.

Read our full review of the 2020 BMW X6

Audi Q8

Unlike the GLE Coupe and the X6, the Q8 is a new nameplate. Audi joined the coupe SUV market a few years later, as the Q8 went in production only a couple of years ago, in 2018. Although it’s based on the Q7, it looks notably different thanks to a much more aggressive front fascia, a sleek rear end, and a profile that pays tribute to the iconic Audi Quattro of the 1980s.

The engine lineup is obviously borrowed from the Q7, starting with the 3.0-liter V-6 in the 55 TFSI model. This engine cranks out 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. On the diesel front, you can pick between the 45 TDI, powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 with 228 horses and 369 pound-feet, and the 50 TDI, powered by the same engine but rated at 282 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of twist. Just like the BMW X6, the Audi Q8 is only available with gasoline engines in the United States. Pricing starts from $68,200.

Read our full story on the 2020 Audi Q8

Porsche Cayenne Coupe

2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe
- image 833110

Porsche launched the first coupe version of the Cayenne during the third generation. It’s essentially identical to the standard Cayenne, but with a sleeker rear section and overall it looks a bit better than the competition thanks to its 911-inspired elements. Drivetrains are obviously shared with the standard Cayenne, so the base model comes with a 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Porsche also offers an S version with a twin-turbo, 2.9-liter V-6 that delivers 434 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of twist. There’s also a Turbo and a Turbo S E-Hybrid, but these variants are more suited to compete against Mercedes-AMG, BMW M, and Audi RS competitors. The Cayenne Coupe retails from $75,300 in the United States.

Read our full review of the 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe

Conclusion

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe Exterior
- image 858014

The GLE Coupe came to be in 2015 as the first true competitor for the BMW X6. But the Merc wasn’t as popular as the Bimmer, which had far more years on the market and looked a bit better. The new-generation GLE Coupe fixes many of the old model’s design issues and adds enough technology to put the SUV on par with the competition. While it might not look as good as the Audi Q8 — yes, I’m being subjective here — it’s a cool option to the BMW X6 now that the hunchback rear end was replaced with a more organic and sporty design. The GLE Coupe is equally solid in the drivetrain compartment and will be followed by AMG versions, so BMW has plenty of things to worry about.

  • Leave it
    • The Audi Q8 looks better
    • Do we really need this niche?
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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