Mercedes-Benz GLE – the new name for SUV efficiency
Mercedes-Benz has reinvented its highest-selling SUV, replacing the formidable M-Class with the new GLE that is on average 17 per cent more efficient than its predecessor and which heralds the arrival of the manufacturer’s first ever plug-in hybrid model in the sector.
The new GLE line-up offers unprecedented efficiency but does so with no detriment to performance, underlining the commitment of Mercedes-Benz to push forward with the research and development of vehicles that combine low emissions and exceptional fuel economy with strong driving dynamics.
All five of the available engines in the new GLE perfectly demonstrate this advanced engineering approach by Mercedes-Benz, but particular highlights of the impressive line-up include the GLE 250 d and the ground-breaking GLE 500 e 4MATIC plug-in hybrid.
Producing 204hp, the four-cylinder diesel GLE 250 d offers superior performance with an all-time low fuel consumption for this class of vehicles. It is the world’s first production full-size SUV with conventional drive that emits just 140g/km CO2.
While the GLE 250 d sets the benchmark for diesel efficiency in its sector, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC achieves the same when it comes to the available hybrid SUV offerings.
Unprecedented efficiency; increased driving enjoyment
The multi-talented plug-in hybrid model manages to better the already low fuel consumption of the frugal four-cylinder GLE 250 d yet blends such amazing economy with the performance of a V8 model.
Powering the cutting edge GLE 500 e 4MATIC is a BlueDIRECT V6 direct-injection engine producing 333hp that is twinned with a 116hp electric motor. The result is a massive 650Nm of torque and CO2 emissions of only 78g/km. The innovative drive system also provides a useful ‘boost’ function for overtaking and offers all-electric driving speeds of up to 80mph and a distance of circa 18 miles on electric power alone.
Via a selector switch on the centre console and the instrument cluster, the driver can choose between four specific operating modes – HYBRID, E-MODE, E-SAVE and CHARGE. HYBRID allows the system to automatically select the most sensible operating mode, E-MODE selects all-electric driving, E-SAVE preserves the battery charge for use later on, while CHARGE ensures the battery is charged while driving and when the vehicle is stationary.
The energy needed to drive the GLE 500 e 4MATIC’s electric motor is stored in a 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery, which can be charged using public charging stations, a wallbox charger at home or even via a conventional power socket. The recuperation of energy under braking and Intelligent drive system management optimise the use of the stored electrical energy, the latter aiding the driver with specific control strategies in order to adopt the most efficient driving style.
State-of-the-art twin turbo, direct-injection BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 petrol engines in the GLE 400 4MATIC and GLE 500 4MATIC respectively, together with the enhanced 258hp V6 diesel in the GLE 350 d 4MATIC, complete the engine line-up.
Aiding the efficiency of all diesel GLE models is the standard fitment of the new nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. With a new design of torque converter and wide spread of ratios, the advanced transmission ensures that no power is ever wasted. For those who wish to explore the huge off-road potential of the GLE, the 9G-TRONIC automatic can also be specified for the first time with the optionally available off-road reduction gear and inter-axle differential lock.
While optimum efficiency has been a key goal in the extensive development of the GLE, so too has increased driving enjoyment. The 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission together with the new DYNAMIC SELECT variable dynamic handling control system have been key to this. Depending on the mode of handling selected, the transmission complements these with a change in its shift characteristics. For example, if the SPORT handling programme is selected then the transmission impresses with great agility and responsiveness, while if COMFORT handling is chosen the 9G-TRONIC partners this with gentle, barely perceptible gear changes for delightful cruising.
Classic SUV elements are merged with modern Mercedes-Benz design
For those seeking the ultimate in SUV performance, they will find it in the phenomenal Mercedes-AMG variants of the GLE – the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 and GLE 63 S. Building on the success of the popular ML 63 AMG, the new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 4MATIC offers even more power from its twin-turbo 5.5-litre engine – 557hp for the standard model and 585hp for the S. For an even more exhilarating driving experience, the chassis has been completely revised together with changes to the throttle response of the engine and the shift times of the transmission.
There’s no doubt that the GLE impresses with its fusion of efficiency and performance, but its unrivalled package is made even more appealing with new styling, a highly detailed interior and enhanced standard equipment.
In the distinctive look of the GLE, classic SUV elements are merged with modern Mercedes-Benz design. The characteristic C-pillar and integrated rear side window have their origins in the first ML in 1997, yet at the same time the exterior benefits from the radiator grille, bumpers, headlamps, wings and the bonnet with its two power domes following the current sensuous and clear design idiom of Mercedes-Benz. The tail end of the GLE was likewise matched to the current design idiom and updated cautiously – features including new LED tail lamps and redesigned tailpipe embellishers firmly integrated in to the lower section of the bumper. New light alloy wheels complete the exterior transformation.
Highlights of the interior include the larger media display being partially integrated into the instrument panel and a whole host of new trim colours. There’s also a revised multifunction steering wheel as well as the Audio 20 CD infotainment system with 7-inch display and communications module for the use of Mercedes connect me services.
With the GLE, the ML-line of SUVs will surpass the 1.6 million sold mark, the new model’s advances in efficiency and driving dynamics coupled with its superior specification ensuring that it will continue to be one of the most successful models in the world.
For more information on the new Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, contact Mercedes-Benz Hertfordshire
Mercedes-Benz of Bishop’s Stortford
Stansted Road, Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM23 2BT, UK
Mercedes-Benz of Hertford
Foxholes Business Park, John Tate Road, Hertford, Hertfordshire, SG13 7LB, UK
Mercedes-Benz of Stevenage
Gunnels Wood Road, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, SG1 2BT, UK