BMW X6 M versus Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe image

Here’s one battle for the ages – the utterly mobster-friendly BMW X6 SAC and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe have their own M and AMG versions. That could mean ultimate highway chases and a total showdown at the local grocery store, sorry, high end club.

BMW, which already has the upper hand on Mercedes, considering that the Munich-based automaker is the world’s best selling premium brand (versus third placed Mercedes) and the fact that its X6 is already in its second iteration – has announced the range-topping performance version X6 M just ahead of last fall’s Los Angeles Auto Show – together with the X5 M sibling. Now, during the hot days of the 2015 North American International Auto Show (hot when we think about the Ford GT and Acura NSX), Mercedes is taking a swing back at its old rival, unveiling not one – but two Mercedes AMG GLE Coupe versions – with two levels of power.

When it comes to design, the GLE Coupe is obviously destined to try and snatch BMW customers, but overall the Mercedes guys went a little too far – in the direction of Chinese copycat practices, especially if you look at both cars from the back, in the three quarters position. Fortunately the M and AMG divisions have enough sanity to feature their own design cues and the models are differentiated better. They both feature over the top elements, so choosing one is just a matter of personal taste. The same goes for the interior, where they both play their strengths and they both have specific weaknesses.

The real showdown is in the performance area and here Mercedes does come up with an ace – there’s a regular AMG GLE Coupe and a “S” version that lifts the power slightly. The “standard” GLE uses the twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8 engine and gets 557 PS (549 bhp / 410 kW) and 700 Nm (516 lb-ft) of torque – enough to get to 62 mph in 4.3 seconds and top out at an electronically-limited speed of 155 mph. The menacing X6 M ups the ante on the Mercedes rival by having under the hood a smaller displacement V8, the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 engine that develops a little more oomph. Available are 567 bhp (423 kW) and 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) of torque and connected to an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission and an M-designed all-wheel drive system the monster jumps to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds and lands the same top speed of 155 mph. The X6 M is then matched and overpowered by the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe, which has the same engine but now churns out 577 bhp (430 kW) and 561 lb-ft (760 Nm) of torque. That’s enough for the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC transmission and a rear-biased 4MATIC all-wheel drive system to drop the 62 mph time to a matching 4.2 seconds.