Mercedes-Benz GLE 4x4 to debut in New York, coming September
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its M-Class-replacing GLE ahead of the SUV’s debut at the New York International Auto Show in April.
The name change has been introduced to relate all Mercedes 4x4s to the G-Class, the iconic, boxy off-roader, with the ‘E’ at the end intended to reflect the SUV’s equivalent Mercedes passenger vehicle – in this case, the E-Class.
According to the Stuttgart-based company, the GLE’s main upgrades include a restyled exterior, improved fuel economy and a reduction in CO2 emissions and, for the first time in a Mercedes SUV, there will be a plug-in hybrid version to rival the recently announced Audi Q7 e-tron and BMW X5 xDrive 40e.
The GLE 500 e4Matic uses a 3.0-litre, 333hp V6 petrol engine teamed with a 116hp electric motor, which allows for 18.5 miles of zero-emission driving at speeds of up to 80mph. Official combined fuel economy is 85.6mpg and CO2 emissions stand at 78g/km.
Prices will be confirmed closer to its September arrival.
Other, more conventionally powered variants include the GLE 250d, which uses a four-cylinder diesel engine with 204hp and is available with either two- or four-wheel drive, and the four-wheel-drive-only GLE 350d, which boasts a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine producing 258hp.
Unsurprisingly, the 250d is the most economical, with the 4x4 version returning 49.5mpg and emitting CO2 at a rate of 149g/km. As a result, road tax will set you back £145 a year and company car drivers will have to pay 27% BIK tax in 2015/16. The 350d isn’t so far behind though, with headline figures of 44.1mpg and 169g/km putting it in the £180-per-year road tax band and the 31% company car tax bracket.
Heading up the range, however, is the AMG-tuned GLE 63 S (above). With a 5.5-litre V8 churning out 585hp and 760Nm of torque, the top-of-the-range GLE will manage the sprint to 62mph in a mere 4.2 seconds and keeps accelerating to an electronically limited 155mph, although it will find another 19mph if the electronic buffers are removed, taking the top speed to 174mph. Fuel economy suffers for all this power though, and the GLE 63 S achieves just 23.9mpg and emits 278g of CO2 per kilometre.
Standard equipment for all models follows on from the M-Class’ spec and includes 19in alloy wheels, leather seats, a 7in infotainment system, a revised multifunction steering wheel and new safety kit like Crosswind Assist and Collision Prevention Assist Plus. There is also a Dynamic Select controller, which allows the driver to choose the set-up he or she requires from a range of settings including ‘Comfort’ and ‘Offroad’.
AMG Line models get 20in alloys, more aggressive bumpers, sports seats, a sports steering wheel and stainless steel pedals.
Further equipment can be added with packages such as the Driving Assistance Package Plus, which features kit like adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection and a cross-traffic alert system for use when reversing out of parking spaces.
Other packs include the Night Package, which provides gloss black accents on the front grille and door mirror housings and black wheels and the LED Intelligent Light System, which serves up LED headlights.
Standalone options are offered too, and they include an 8in infotainment system with a DVD player and road sign recognition, Harmon Kardon and Bang & Olufsen sound systems and the Rear-Seat Entertainment System with a TV receiver or a remote control.