Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

There are three distinct powerplants providing Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe performance – two ‘conventional’ models, and a single sizzling Mercedes-AMG GLE63 version, covered in a separate review.

Every GLE comes with Dynamic Select, which allows the driver to switch driving modes between Comfort, Slippery and Sport. The car will then adjust the steering, throttle response, gear-change ferocity and suspension settings to suit. The 450 AMG model has a Sport+ mode too, which is even more extreme.

Nine-speed automatic gearbox

Both GLE350d and GLE450 AMG use a nine-speed automatic gearbox which changes gears very quickly and smoothly; though both depend on the driving mode you’re in.

The only problem is that during normal driving it seems to get a little confused, and quite often this results in a push of the throttle followed by a gear change rather than meaningful acceleration. It can become frustrating at times because it never seems able to pre-empt the gear you need, so there’s always work for it to do before the engine comes into play.

Diesel GLE Coupe

The GLE350d makes use of a 3-litre diesel engine.

It produces 255bhp and 620Nm or torque at 1,600rpm, which equates to a 0-62mph sprint in seven seconds and a top speed of 140mph. This engine feels very accomplished on the road, with loads of pulling power on offer. It doesn’t sound particularly lively, but isn’t as noisy as smaller four-cylinder offerings from the firm.

This engine is probably the pick of the bunch for most drivers. We can’t see many plumping for the petrol 450 AMG version, so unless you’re going for the rapid AMG GLE63 model, this is your only option.

Petrol GLE Coupe

The GLE450 AMG is a V6 measuring 3 litres too, but it’s powered by petrol and develops 362bhp along with 520Nm of torque at between 1,800 and 4,000rpm. This version is a good engine, but seems a little difficult to understand. It’s a lively enough thing to drive, with its power delivery gaining momentum as the revs rise to the redline. But since it’s mated to that nine-speed gearbox, any enjoyment you expect is dulled into insignificance.

Switching the Dynamic Select switch to Sport+ (only available on the 450 AMG) unlocks the best Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe performance outside the proper AMG version, and sure enough the exhaust note is noisy (in a sporty way), with pops on downshifts reminiscent of a racing car. It’s just a shame the handling isn’t quite so engaging.

Let’s get one thing straight right at the start: while Mercedes-Benz’s marketing material goes on about the virtues of a coupe as sporty and fun-to-drive, this is a car that weighs over two tonnes. With that in mind it’s never going to be the most agile thing on the planet.

Even so, this is a car trumped by both the BMW X6 and the Porsche Cayenne in this respect. No matter which version we drove there was an inherent lack of body control in corners, and the upshot is a car that doesn’t inspire confidence when pressing on. Coupled with dimensions that would make a military tank jealous and you really don’t feel like winding up the wick as you would with other sporty AMG models.

It’s perhaps better to think of this car as a ‘lifestyle SUV’, which means that it’s at its best driven slower. The only problem, then, is that it doesn’t ride particularly well for its class either. There’s a jiggle noticeable through the chassis at most speeds, so there’s never a really happy medium.

We did like the steering, which is nicely weighted and offers decent feedback. Its heaviness can be altered using the Dynamic Select rotary control, and so can the firmness of the adaptive air suspension. We preferred it in Comfort mode, though.

There’s a Slippery setting as well which caters for less-than-perfect road conditions such as snow and ice.

The GLE450 AMG Coupe gets a Sport+ setting too, which offers the ultimate in sporty driving outside of a full-bore Mercedes-AMG GLE63 model.