Color us impressed. Mercedes themselves are calling the GLE Coupe an “SUV with the heart and soul of a sports car.” While mashups of this type aren’t always successful, we did find that tagline to be uncannily accurate. We ultimately judged the GLE Coupe to be one of the best cars available today. Let’s jump right into a few talking points.

Under the hood

With the GLE Coupe in particular, there are two options, both of them very smart. There’s the smaller (3.0L) V6 biturbo engine, which spits out enough horsepower (436 bhp) and torque (384 lb-ft) to warrant the slick alien mother ship look Mercedes have given it. In celebration of how much power they’ve managed to stick inside, Mercedes styled the engine so there’s just no mistaking it. Whether you’re a new Benz driver or have been proudly seated above and behind an AMG machine before — you’ll know you’re in control of something serious. If you want control of something even more serious, Mercedes (as usual) also have a “wait, are you crazy!?” option available. Test your sanity with a handcrafted AMG 5.5L V8 with 577 bhp and 561 lb-ft of torque. You know, for when you need to set off people’s car alarms just by revving your engine. It’s a mighty, mighty thing to have under the hood. Told you AMG were psychos (and proud of it)!

In muddying the line between SUV and sports car, Mercedes haven’t skimped on the drivetrain either. The transmission allows users to select between five modes, from “sublime comfort” (SUV) all the way to “Sport+” (monster machine). Dialing in your preference activates what Mercedes are calling their AIRMATIC suspension, which instantaneously tunes the adjustable throttle, steering, transmission, exhaust, and other metrics to suit your desired experience. Getting the power down isn’t an issue, even if you skip toying with the sportier settings. The car uses a 40:60 front/rear torque split and is all-wheel drive, so you’re driving quite effectively (and have a thing or two to show those corners) regardless. In tandem with its AMG brakes, suspension, and steering, Mercedes are saying the GLE Coupe might be the most agile SUV on Earth.

How does it look?

Where the performance figures indicate we may be looking at some sprite, zippy Mercedes with an attitude fit for the track and a ride as smooth as a shopping cart full of cinderblocks, we’re not at all. The GLE Coupe is a car that can fit five, handle all your groceries and luggage, and looks as subtle as you’d ever want it to look while doing it.

On the outside, the car’s design is not unlike other Mercedes in the fleet right now. That’s not a dig, either — in a previous piece, we gave Porsche a whole lot of credit for keeping their designs globally recognizable by changing things subtly, not sweepingly. You know what a 911 Turbo looks like whether you were born in Miami, Moscow, or the Moon.

The GLE Coupe has those sleek, angular headlights the Mercedes fleet is famous for, and the body shape is a totally logical one for a car that’s half SUV, half sports car. You can tell right away that the GLE Coupe is a mix of two worlds, but it’s not depressing to look at like some mashups. It’s a mix of the very best of two worlds. To look at, this coupe screams… well, “Mercedes,” and that’s perfectly fine. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

We’re happy about the color selection, too. The car looks good in your usual business colors (as do all Mercedes), but the blues, reds, and other popular sporty colors look great here as well. It’s actually an area we feel the GLE outperforms its cousins, as a few of those come with a limited color pallet.

How about the interior?

As for the interior, it’s extremely sexy. If we hated everything else on the car, we’d still be here talking it up. Mercedes are known for being the sort of company who may employ anywhere between 500-1,000 people just to decide where a speedometer should sit, or how many millimeters the accelerator should be from the driver’s foot. It’s overkill when other companies do it, but art when Mercedes does it just right. With the GLE Coupe, they absolutely have. We’re thrilled.

There’s a huge, clear display in the middle for the computer. A thick leather steering wheel. The center console and controls are crisp and sharp, and slightly futuristic in their design and placement. There’s a cool chrome-on-black effect here, with a mish mash of carbon, wood, and leather all over. The seats themselves look like fat, cushiony leather sofas. One only needs to look at these seats to feel comfortable, and the creature comforts built into them provide the driver with a truly regal experience.

If you’re like me, you’ll wonder why they didn’t make these chairs detachable and deployable into the everyman’s living room — they’re better looking and more comfortable than my actual sitting room furniture. Mercedes, I hope you’re taking notes here.

In conclusion…

The Mercedes 2018 GLE Coupe, simply stated, is a winner. Going by the MSRP, expect to pay anywhere between $70k and $110k. We count that as a bargain considering this model scores big using any metric you can think of. Comfort? The most comfortable. Performance? Any way you want it, just set the dial. Design? Nailed it. It’s one of the better models available from one of the better auto manufacturers out there — this is a steal.

Video courtesy of Mercedes-Benz of Palm Springs