If your definition of "coupe" is necessarily defined as two doors, don't tell the Germans. Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW have adopted a much more liberal definition of the term, applying the term to just about any stylish model they choose. Mercedes shattered convention first with the CLS in 2005, which has since been followed by numerous other segment-defying examples such as the Porsche Panamera, Audi A7 and Mercedes' own CLA. Never mind the BMW X6, the 6-series Gran Coupe, and now the X4. Well, the company that first applied the "c" word to a four door is at it again with its Concept Coupé SUV.
The overall lines closely follow the theme of the BMW X6, Munich's more rakish variation of its popular X5. However, comparing the Concept Coupé SUV to the current ML, the grille definitely shows a much stronger resemblance to the CLA, CLS and the SL, as opposed to Mercedes' other SUV or traditional sedan offerings. Around back, the Coupé SUV has a full-width horizontal taillight that is, at least in our eyes, reminiscent of the rear end of the Lincoln MKZ.
One look at the spec sheet on the press release tells you that the Concept Coupé SUV is based on the ML, sharing the same 114.8-inch wheelbase. Overall length is slightly longer at 194.3 in. Its height of 68.4 inches is 2.3 inches lower than a production ML, but overall width (with mirrors) is 2.6 inches wider, giving it a much more aggressive, street-oriented profile than the more utilitarian ML.
For the powerplant, Mercedes is showcasing its 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine, powering the E400, and soon to be offered in the C400 as well. Some believe the engine will eventually replace the 4.7-liter twin-turbo V-8 across much of the Mercedes lineup, leaving the high-performance AMG sub-brand as the primary purveyor of V-8s. As installed in the Concept Coupé SUV, the engine is rated at 333 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque, mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission putting power to the ground through Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive.
No photos of the interior of the concept were revealed along with it, so we can't tell you much about that, other than the fact that it's listed as a four-seater, signifying a deliberate positioning as a more sporty and personal alternative to the ML. Expect a dealer-bound version of the Concept Coupé SUV to be in showrooms approximately 12-18 months from now, and if it's anything like the ML and GL, will probably come from Mercedes' plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Does the world need another coupe-like crossover? Probably not. But there's undeniably a niche market for them, and if Mercedes can justify its investment in it with enough sales volume, that's probably reason enough.