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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.

Best SUVs to buy now

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.

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Mercedes GLE Coupe review

BMW X6 review

Range Rover Sport review

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Click the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which trendy SUV comes out on top...

Head to head

Off-road

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.

Running costs

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.

Boot space

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.

Verdict

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

Porsche Cayenne - front tracking

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.

Alpina XD3

Price: £56,450 Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl, 255bhp

Alpina XD3 - front cornering

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.

Key specs:

 Range Rover Sport SDV6BMW X6 xDrive30dMercedes 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%
Depreciation£27,506£29,960£31,372
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/cost43/£568/J/£26542/£659/G/£18048/N/A/J/£265
Servicing costs£699 (5yrs)£525 (5yrs/50k)N/A
    
Length/wheelbase4,850/2,923mm4,909/2,933mm4,978/2,915mm
Height/width1,780/2,073mm1,702/1,989mm1,731/2,003mm
EngineV6/2,993cc6cyl in-line/2,993ccV6/2,987cc
Peak power302/4,000 bhp/rpm255/4,000 bhp/rpm255/3,400 bhp/rpm
Peak torque700/1,500 Nm/rpm560/1,500 Nm/rpm620/1,600 Nm/rpm
Transmission8-spd auto/4wd8-spd auto/4wd9-spd auto/4wd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel89 litres/space saver85 litres/run-flat93 litres/sealant
Boot capacity (seats up/down)489/1,761 litres580/1,525 litres650/1,720 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight2,184/885/3,500kg2,140/640/3,500kg2,250/650/2,900kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient12.3 metres/0.34Cd12.8 metres/0.32Cd11.8 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unltd)/3yrs3yrs (unltd)/3yrs3yrs (unltd)/4yrs
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/130Variable/153Variable/136
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.24th/29th23rd/14th21st/11th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./pointsN/AN/AN/A
    
0-60/30-70mph7.5/6.9 secs6.3/6.4 secs7.1/7.2 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th2.8/3.5 secs3.0/3.9 secs2.9/3.3 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th/8th/9th4.9/6.6/8.2/13.4/N/A4.2/5.6/7.5/11.7/N/A4.8/5.4/6.7/9.7/18.1   
Top speed/rpm at 70mph130mph/1,600rpm143mph/1,700rpm140mph/1,450rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph53.6/36.8/9.9m47.0/34.3/8.5m48.5/37.3/9.2m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph60/45/59/66dB59/56/57/71dB65/40/57/65dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range30.7/6.8/601 miles32.8/7.2/613 miles32.1/7.1/657 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined35.8/44.1/40.4mpg42.2/51.4/47.1mpg35.8/42.8/39.2mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined7.9/9.7/8.9mpl9.1/11.1/10.4mpl7.9/9.4/8.6mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket247/185g/km/35%231/159g/km/29%236/187g/km/35%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/yesSix/yes/yes/£375Six/yes/yes/yes
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise controlYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless goYes/no/yesYes/£1,495/yesYes/yes/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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