Mercedes-Benz GLE has been revealed ahead of its planned New York debut, next week. Formerly known as the ML-Class, Mercedes’ big SUV gets a new name and a new petrol-electric plug-in hybrid, on top of the customary styling upgrade.
Design-wise, the new GLE features familiar styling cues inherited from the recently launched GLE Coupé. These include more aggressive front-end styling with brand-new bumper, engine bonnet, grille and LED lights at both ends. Roof rails are now standard while the rear bumper sees dual integrated exhausts.
Mercedes has also given its GLE SUV a thorough make-up to its interior. Biggest news are the 7.0-inch free-standing infotainment screen with touch-sensitive controller, mounted on the centre console, the same system already in use across the range. The steering wheel and center console design are also new. Mercedes will offer a wider choice of interior colours and trim materials, which include wood and carbon fibre and new colors for the leather upholstery: ginger beige, espresso brown, saddle brown or porcelain. AMG Line brings Artico leather upholstery, sports multifunction steering and beefier front and rear bumpers plus 20-inch alloys.
The big premiere is the introduction of the first plug-in hybrid SUV in Mercedes-Benz history, the GLE500e 4Matic, which adopts the same system used by the S500 Plug-in-Hybrid. This translates to a 328hp (333PS) 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine matted to a 114hp (116PS) electric motor for a combined output of 436hp (442PS) and 650Nm.
Power is sent to all-four wheels through a 7G-tronic with the driver having the ability to change between four different modes named “Hybrid”, “E-Mode”, “E-Save” and “Charge”. In pure-electric “E-Mode”, the GLE 500e has a driving range of around 30km (19 miles) at speeds of up to 130km/h (81mph) and a mixed consumption of 3 l/100km (78.4 mpg UK or 94.2 mpg US). Charging from a wall box takes around two hours.
Also available in the GLE are a 201hp (204PS) 2.0L four-cylinder diesel (GLE 250 d), a 255hp (258PS) V6 diesel (GLE 300 d) and two gasoline units, the 328hp (333PS) twin-turbo V6 in the GLE 400 and a twin-turbo gasoline V8 producing 429hp (435PS) in the GLE 500. The most potent GLE models remain the GLE 63 AMG, powered by the 549hp (557 PS) 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 and the GLE 63 AMG S with the 577hp (585PS) flavour of the same engine.
Across the range, fuel consumption and C02 emissions have improved by 17%, a feat certainly helped by the fact that all diesel GLE models come with Mercedes’ nine-speed automatic transmission as standard.