The 2996cc twin turbo petrol unit under the hood of the GLE coupe is a collection of some of Merc’s best high-tech features, all roped in to create one fine package. It is a reduced capacity iteration of Merc’s old 3.5-litre V6 which did duty in the E350. The engine’s bore and stroke have changed from 92.6 x 86.0mm to 88.0 x 82.1mm. This motor features variable valve timing, direct injection and two turbochargers. It uses third generation piezo injectors from Bosch and they can open five times per firing cycle and are precisely controlled to burn only the exact amount of fuel required according to the throttle position, gear position, engine and road speed. Making 362bhp and 520Nm of torque from as low 2000rpm this motor delivers instant responses.
Step on the accelerator and the motor feels smooth and well-balanced. There is loads of grunt from the word go and the motor makes light work of the 2270kg kerb weight. At full throttle the motor comes in its own and it pushes you back in the well padded seats as it gains speed in a linear manner. Take-off is very strong and thanks to the 315 section rear tyres traction is unbelievable. As a result, performance figures are more than impressive. Acceleration from rest takes you to 100kph in one seamless rush and it just takes 6.02 seconds. Keep the throttle pinned down another seven seconds and you’ll snarl past 150kph! What makes all this power so accessible is that the new 9-speed automatic works well with this motor. It shifts seamlessly in comfort mode and the gearshifts become fast enough in sport mode for spirited driving.
With all that power, what’s also impressive is that stability around long corners is fantastic too. The long wheelbase, wide stance and wide tyres give it huge amounts of grip, and there’s almost no shifting around, even at really high speeds. The Coupe also has the ability to sit calmly on the road even with the speedo wound all the way around. In the tighter stuff all that girth can get a bit unnerving initially. But with more time behind the wheel you realise that this Merc is quite adept in this environment too. Of course, there’s no getting away from all that mass, especially when it comes to successive corners and the brakes take a hammering too if you drive it hard for a considerable period of time. So while this is no Porsche Macan, it surprisingly still is a fun car to drive hard.