Mercedes GLE 63 AMG Coupe seen in final testing phase

Look out BMW X6 – Mercedes’ new coupe-SUV looks almost ready for showrooms

The new Mercedes GLE Coupe has been spied in the final stages of pre-reveal testing, sporting disguise over its front and rear but leaving the side profile exposed.

It’s believed this particular car is the high-performance AMG variant: the GLE 63 AMG Coupe. Besides the enormous 21-inch alloy wheels, we can see outlines of the AMG-spec ‘wing-front bumper and twin oblong tailpipes under the white sheeting.

The GLE Coupe ushers in a new naming convention for Mercedes SUVs, which Auto Express previously reported on here. The GLE Coupe is essentially a rakish four-door hatchback version of the existing ML-Class, which will be rebranded as a GLE when it’s facelifted in 2015. With the gargantuan GL becoming the GLS, the larger 4x4s will sit more comfortably in the range with the A-Class based GLA and new GLC, a mid-sized BMW X3 and Audi Q5 rival which replaces the outgoing GLK.

The GLE Coupe, which was previewed by the Concept Coupe design study in 2013, is reportedly 57mm lower than the boxy ML, and a staggering 118mm wider, to give an intimidating coupe-like stance.

As the GLE Coupe is based heavily on an existing model (just as BMW’s rivalling X6 riffs off the X5), the GLE 63 Coupe is not expected to use AMG’s new 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 engine, which will feature in the new C63 saloon and estate, plus the GT AMG sports car.

Instead, Mercedes will tweak the drivetrain of the current ML63 AMG, which uses a 518bhp twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8, a seven-speed automatic gearbox, and all-wheel drive. Expect power to rise to over 550bhp for the new ‘coupe’ and its refreshed sister-car, in order to see off the new 542bhp Range Rover Sport SVR and facelifted Porsche Cayenne Turbo – which is soon to spawn a 560bhp-plus Cayenne Turbo S variant.

Diesel versions will be the big money-spinners in Europe, and Mercedes will even offer a plug-in hybrid version to fight the Range Rover Sport Hybrid and Tesla Model X crossover. The GLE Coupe is thought to be heading for a debut early in 2015, possibly as soon as the Detroit Motor Show in January.

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