It wasn't all that long ago when SUVs were SUVs and coupes were coupes, but then the BMW X6 came around and changed all that. It wasn't completely accepted, but it proved so successful that many manufacturers have followed by introducing their own coupe-like crossover SUVs--including Mercedes-Benz. So how does the BMW X6 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE match up?
Unlike the BMW, the GLE is available in standard and coupe versions, so we'll stick here with the GLE 43 and GLE 63 S models as they're much more in keeping with the flavor of the X6. The standard GLE models are smart enough, but the coupe-like interpretations are seriously good-looking crossovers with a very sporty stance aimed squarely at the on-road environment. If there's any class of SUV that has styling at the top of its list of important priorities, it's got to be this one. The X6 has taken the winning formula of the X5 and given it a sleeker, sportier, more fluid look. It's not quite a tall 6-Series, but it's definitely along those lines. Both options are impressive to see, but we'll give this one to BMW for sheer audacity at inventing the look itself.
Engines & Performance
The standard engine in the GLE is a 3.5-liter V-6, but things can get as extreme as 5.5-liter handcrafted V-8 developing 577 horsepower in the AMG® GLE 63 S. That means a 0 to 60 mph time as low as 4.1 seconds, although the 3.0-liter V-6 in the AMG® GLE 43 is also pretty swift with 60 mph coming up from a standing start in just 5.6 seconds. It's fair to say the BMW X6 runs those numbers pretty close, with an available uprated V-8 that puts out 567 horsepower and delivers a similar 0 to 60 mph time to the AMG® GLE 63 S. The base engine is a 3.0-liter inline-six, but there's also an available 4.4-liter V-8 offering 445 horsepower. A smidge of an edge here for the Mercedes-Benz, which offers some extra horsepower.
Mercedes-Benz has seen fit to effectively split the GLE into the SUV versions and the coupes, which is a good idea when you think about the considerable differences. The lineup starts with the GLE 350, and from there it goes upwards to the GLE 350 4MATIC®, the GLE 400 4MATIC® and then the plug-in hybrid GLE 550e 4MATIC®. Then of course, we have the coupes in the shape of the AMG® GLE 43 and the AMG® GLE 63 S. There's a little less choice in the X6 family, which starts with the two-wheel drive sDrive35i and then goes upwards to the xDrive35i, the xDrive50i and then the performance focused X6 M. More choice and the option of a plug-in hybrid version of the GLE means this round definitely goes to the GLE.
There's no such thing as a Spartan GLE, with even entry models coming with: power adjustable heated front seats, Bluetooth®, a power sunroof and power liftgate, leatherette upholstery, dual-zone climate control, 19-inch wheels, keyless ignition, a rearview camera and an eight-inch display. From there, the sky really is the limit as you go up through the trims. You'll also find the X6 very well equipped too, but there's also an incredible array of tempting wheel, trim and interior upgrades available that you will want when you see them next to a standard model. Everything you could possibly want is in there somewhere, but picking up the car you want from stock could be a problem so it's another win for the Mercedes.
These two models are incredibly similar, which shouldn't be too much of a surprise at this level and especially as this is a relatively new segment. However, what might come as a bit of a shock to some is the fact the BMW X6 is considerably more expensive than the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE. That fact, combined with engine options and more trim levels, makes the GLE your best bet.