While auto journalists and enthusiasts have been busy debating the merits of the BMW X6 for the past seven years, consumers have been snapping them up, racking up sales and profits for the Munich based auto company. So the only surprise in the announcement yesterday that Mercedes-Benz is launching the GLE Coupe as a direct competitor to the X6 is that it took them so long.

Officially dubbed the GLE 450 AMG 4MATIC Coupe it features a 362 horsepower V6 biturbo engine that produces 384 lb-ft of torque mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. The power is delivered via Mercedes’ patented 4MATIC all-wheel drive system.

Promising the driving dynamics of a coupe coupled with the utility of a 4-door crossover, the GLE 450 is equipped with the continuously variable damping AIRMATIC air suspension with selectable drive modes. In addition to tightening up the ride, when the driver selects Sport or Sport+ modes, it also engages the active curve system with active roll stabilization to keep the GLE level through tight corners.

The GLE is available with all of Mercedes-Benz safety systems including Pre-Safe braking with pedestrian detection, cross traffic assist, and their parktronic park assist viewable through an 8-inch TFT display on the console.

We’ll bring you more information on the GLE 450 AMG as it becomes available for test drives. It will be interesting to see how it stacks up to the X6 M, which we will be driving in late January on the Circuit of the America’s in Austin, Texas.