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BMW X6 v Mercedes GLE Coupe

By raccars Published

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Has the BMW X6 found its rival in the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe?

There is a distinct resemblance between the BMW X6 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. In a dim light you'd need to have a good squint at the badges to work out which is which. Both are large, powerful-looking SUVs styled as coupes and given a high end finish. And presumably each manufacturer would claim their version offers the better ride.

The GLE Coupe

The Merc made its debut in production format at last year's Detroit Motor Show before reaching the market in summer 2015 with prices starting at about £60,000. The GLE is an evolution of the standard SUV GLE. This might make more sense if you remember that, prior to the revised naming structure at Mercedes, this was previously known as the ML. The GLE Coupe made an impressive first public appearance in the Hollywood blockbuster 'Jurassic World', alongside its stablemate the G-Class.

The GLE Coupe is rather more athletic looking than the standard GLE, with uprated suspension and a sportier gearing ratio. Drivers can choose from five different driving modes: Comfort, Individual, Slippery, Sport and Sport+. These adjust the way in which the engine, chassis, suspension and steering are set up to allow for a softer or sportier driving experience.

All models come with four wheel drive, with a high performance Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 model included in the range. The next model down is the GLE 450 AMG Sport, which uses a petrol-fuelled 362bhp twin turbo 3.0 litre V6. Below this is the GLE 400, using the same engine but de-tuned to produce 328bhp. The lynchpin of the line-up is a GLE 350d, the only diesel on offer and returning 254bhp from its turbocharged 3.0 litre V6. Buyers have access to an extensive options list, including Airmatic suspension, carbon fibre trim, 22 inch alloys as opposed to the standard 20 inch units and leather sports seating.

The BMW X6

BMW, however, may still order a DNA test to see if these two SUVs were separated at birth. The X6 has been around for a while longer, released in 2008 as one of the first SUVs to feature the characteristic coupe roofline applied to the boxy SUV format. It featured some advanced technology, debuting the Dynamic Performance Control traction regulation system.

Like the GLE, the majority of the engine range is made up of petrol units, but extra diesel options were added over the years. The X6 was the first all-wheel drive BMW to get the M Division treatment, together with the X5, while BMW also made an ActiveHybrid variant.

In 2014 a second generation version of the X6 was released, offering extra luggage space and an eight speed automatic gearbox, plus a power output boost.

The Marmite factor

The SUV market sector has changed beyond all recognition in recent years, and the swoopy SUV slash coupe styling no longer looks quite so unconventional. Even so, this is not a style which appeals to everyone, with some finding the melding of two completely different styles of car awkward and unattractive, resembling a mullet haircut.

It seems most unlikely that the design team at Mercedes-Benz has so desperately run out of ideas that it had to blatantly plagiarise its rival's work, but the similarity between the two cars probably suggests that there's little room for creativity within the limits of such a specific market category.

Nor is this the first time that Mercedes-Benz and BMW have butted heads, as Merc originally had the name 'M-Class' in mind for its SUV range, until BMW called in its legal team to demonstrate ownership of the 'M' designation, thanks to its M-Power line.

Ultimately brand loyalty is likely to be the deciding factor between these twin set German rivals.

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