Mercedes GLE Coupe vs BMW X6 & Range Rover Sport
We pitch Mercedes’ trendy new coupé-SUV against established rivals from BMW and Range Rover
If you want to get noticed in the crowded premium SUV class, you’ve got to be daring. This explains the arrival of the bold Mercedes GLE Coupé, which mixes SUV underpinnings with a five-door coupé-style body.
First seen at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year, the newcomer uses the same underpinnings as the standard GLE, which can trace its roots back to the M-Class SUV that made its debut in 2012.
Yet while the mechanicals are familiar, the GLE promises to offer a mixture of upmarket desirability and family-friendly practicality, with a reasonable sprinkling of off-road ability thrown in as well.
This unlikely combination of talents was initially pioneered by the BMW X6 in 2008, and the second-generation high-riding coupé offers more pace, efficiency and sharper dynamics than ever. It’s also well equipped and attractively priced.
The Range Rover Sport can’t match the Mercedes and BMW for swoopy styling, but it’s handsome, practical, good to drive and comes with an unrivalled image.
Click the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which trendy SUV comes out on top...
Head to head
Look beneath the sleek exteriors of our trio, and you’ll discover rugged SUV underpinnings. Yet the X6’s off-road extras are limited to a four-wheel-drive system and hill descent control. The Mercedes and Range Rover add air-suspension to this tally, but only the latter comes with a dual-range transmission and customisable traction control.
The X6 is the most cost-effective choice for business and private buyers. Not only is it cheaper to buy and tax, it’s available with an excellent £525 five-year service pack. With CO2 emissions of 185g/km and a £61,950 price tag, the Range Rover is the most expensive car to own.
At 489 litres, the Range Rover Sport’s boot is the smallest here, yet it has a flat load lip, plus the suspension can be lowered for even better access. Furthermore, the more upright tailgate and higher roof mean more space with the rear seats folded down.
1st place: Range Rover Sport
It’s not cheap to buy or run, but the Range Rover feels a cut above its competitors here. While the upright styling isn’t as deliberately eye-catching, the Sport is a handsome and imposing machine with a solid-gold image. Further highlights include a spacious and luxurious cabin, top-notch refinement and composed driving dynamics. It’s also unstoppable off-road.
2nd place: BMW X6
The car that kick-started the high-riding coupé class is fast, refined and surprisingly cost-effective to run. The aggressive looks won’t be to all tastes, but the classy cabin is up there with the best. It also undercuts the Mercedes and Range Rover on price, yet lacks nothing in standard equipment. However, it’s neither as practical nor as good to drive as the Range Rover.
3rd place: Mercedes GLE Coupe
Strong refinement, a punchy diesel engine and excellent nine-speed transmission mark the GLE out as an effortless cruiser. It also benefits from a spacious and beautifully finished cabin. Yet the Mercedes looks too similar to the X6, and it’s seriously undermined by its unresolved handling and inconsistent ride. Furthermore, it’s costly to buy and run.
Other options in this category...
Porsche Cayenne Diesel
Price: £50,791 Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 258bhp
The Cayenne still sets the bar for engaging driving dynamics – no other large SUV is as poised and agile. Yet, while it’s well priced, you’ll have to spend on extras to match the GLE’s kit count.
Price: £56,450 Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl, 255bhp
It’s smaller than its rivals here, but the XD3’s performance, visual drama and exclusivity mean it deserves serious consideration. The straight-six diesel delivers blistering acceleration, while an uprated chassis makes for surprising agility.
|Range Rover Sport SDV6||BMW X6 xDrive30d||Mercedes GLE Coupe 350d|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£61,950/£61,950||£56,315/£59,765||£60,680/£68,865|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£34,444/55.6%||£26,355/46.8%||£29,308/48.3%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£4,413/£8,826||£3,253/£6,505||£4,209/£8,419|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,955/£3,258||£1,829/£3,049||£1,869/£3,116|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||43/£568/J/£265||42/£659/G/£180||48/N/A/J/£265|
|Servicing costs||£699 (5yrs)||£525 (5yrs/50k)||N/A|
|Peak power||302/4,000 bhp/rpm||255/4,000 bhp/rpm||255/3,400 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||700/1,500 Nm/rpm||560/1,500 Nm/rpm||620/1,600 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||8-spd auto/4wd||8-spd auto/4wd||9-spd auto/4wd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||89 litres/space saver||85 litres/run-flat||93 litres/sealant|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||489/1,761 litres||580/1,525 litres||650/1,720 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||12.3 metres/0.34Cd||12.8 metres/0.32Cd||11.8 metres/N/A|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs||3yrs (unltd)/3yrs||3yrs (unltd)/4yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||Variable/130||Variable/153||Variable/136|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||24th/29th||23rd/14th||21st/11th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./points||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|0-60/30-70mph||7.5/6.9 secs||6.3/6.4 secs||7.1/7.2 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||2.8/3.5 secs||3.0/3.9 secs||2.9/3.3 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th/9th||4.9/6.6/8.2/13.4/N/A||4.2/5.6/7.5/11.7/N/A||4.8/5.4/6.7/9.7/18.1|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||130mph/1,600rpm||143mph/1,700rpm||140mph/1,450rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||60/45/59/66dB||59/56/57/71dB||65/40/57/65dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||30.7/6.8/601 miles||32.8/7.2/613 miles||32.1/7.1/657 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||247/185g/km/35%||231/159g/km/29%||236/187g/km/35%|
|Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes||Yes/yes/yes|
|Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go||Yes/no/yes||Yes/£1,495/yes||Yes/yes/yes|