Mercedes are hoping to hit BMW for Six.
They are trying to muscle in on the niche market created by BMW’s X6 – with their new 4dr GLE Coupe.
And they have made it so it closely resembles the Beemer that is selling like hot cakes in America and China.
The GLE Coupé has its underpinnings in the GLE which, in itself, is a heavily revised and renamed successor of the large M-Class sports utility vehicle (SUV).
The Coupe is due here in August but the GLE SUV doesn’t get here until September.
Expect Coupe prices to be somewhere in the mid-€80,000s – much the same as the BMW it is targeting. The GLE will be somewhere around the €70,000 mark.
But for today the concentration is on the Coupe. It has 4-Matic permanent all-wheel drive as standard and, after driving it through parts of Germany and Austria, on motorway and windy mountain roads, I have to say it gave the car enormous grip and surefootedness. What a drive we’ve just had.
Along with the 3-litre diesel and 9spd automatic transmission it looks like it will pose a serious challenge. This has 248bhp and it makes a powerhouse of a car that, to my Irish eyes, is far from good looking but a wonderful drive.
The number of buyers for a car like this is expected to be relatively small but one of the phenomena of these niche-busting motors is that they attract more and more people as they go along.
It's going to be a fascinating battle between the two giants.
No Bling Bling, just good value for money. That was the message from Opel at the international launch of their new city car, the Karl, which will be in showrooms in a matter of weeks. It is one of the best looking small cars around but it enters a crowded market place where Hyundai i10 is notching up big sales and models such as Skoda Citigo, Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1, Seat Mii and VW up! have established themselves.