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The allure of the four-door coupe

It seems a new body style is taking the auto industry by storm: the four-door coupe. Now, as humans we like to give things titles. It gives us comfort that things fit in certain boxes, that they can be categorized. We call four-door cars sedans, and two-doors are coupes. All-wheel drive, off-road capable vehicles are SUVs, and those vehicles with an extended rear and hatchback are station wagons.

So, what happens when we blend one of the two? At first, it’s shocking. Jarring even. The Panamera was met with raised eyebrows and naysayers, same for the more recent BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe (and consequentially the 6-Series Gran Coupe that launched before it). And of course, the grandfather of the 4-door (or grand) coupe, the Mercedes-Benz CLS 500 started it all. 

Suddenly, the normal “boxes” we put cars in no longer applied. Lines were being crossed, things were different – as human beings, this causes a bit of stress on our fragile psyches. Or so it would seem. 

Now, Mercedes-Benz is changing the game again and offering up another vehicle classification for us to wrap our fragile minds around: an SUV Coupe. That’s right: an off-road capable coupe. 

Take that in for a moment. 

The brand new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe is an SUV that sports a coupe hatchback style. Now, keep in mind, BMW did this with the X6 years ago, but they didn’t explicitly call it a coupe. Mercedes has made the ballsy move of calling their SUV a coupe. That really does take some cajones in an industry where labels can make or break a vehicle (Oh, it’s a minivan not a multipurpose vehicle? Oh, I don’t want it then. And that’s a station wagon not a crossover? Yeah, that’s not going to work.). 

So, will Mercedes’ bold new naming plan hurt or help their GLE-Class popularity? Personally, I think it will help a great deal. Despite our innate habit of needing characterization and familiarization of everything around us, as humans we also like to stand out. We like to be different, and this SUV coupe will be exactly that: different. 

And the allure isn’t based just on looks alone (remember that for your next car purchase and relationship), the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Coupe is an SUV that drives like a car. Not only does it (kind of) look like one but it truly handles better than the GLE-Class SUV version. 

So, what will the auto industry think of next? They’ve already attempted the convertible SUV (CrossCabriolet … God why) and SUVs that double as living quarters (Pontiac Aztek anyone?). Maybe AWD hatchbacks? Oh wait, those already exist …