Mercedes-Benz has thoroughly revised its best-seller in the SUV segment. The highlights of the new GLE include considerably more appealing front and tail ends and extensive measures which make new benchmarks with regard to emissions and drive system possible. Across the available engine range, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced by 17 percent on average compared with the predecessor model series. For the first time in its SUV history, Mercedes-Benz offers a plug-in hybrid model, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC, which combines maximum efficiency with outstanding performance. This multi-talent will even best the already low fuel consumption figures of the efficiency champion GLE 250 d with four-cylinder diesel engine, while delivering the performance of a V8 model. The advantages of the new GLE furthermore include best on-road and off-road handling, outstanding spaciousness and high levels of active and passive safety. The high-performance SUV models, the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 4MATIC and the GLE 63 S 4MATIC, celebrate their world premières at the same time.
“State-of-the-art and efficient drive technology, combined with superior ride quality and the versatility and robustness typical for SUVs – the new GLE has all the ingredients to continue the success story of our best-seller,” is how Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars, characterises the newest member of the Mercedes-Benz SUV family. Outstanding safety and a high level of driving dynamics both on the road and in terrain are among the other strengths of the premium SUV. Furthermore, the GLE impresses with ground-breaking assistance systems, the nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission and the innovative DYNAMIC SELECT dynamic handling control system, which offers extensive drive and off-road programmes already in basic specification.
The unmistakable design with the hallmark C-pillar and the variable interior with the wellness factor of a luxurious saloon model enrich the Mercedes-Benz GLE experience additionally. “Often copied, rarely equalled – the M-Class established the segment of premium SUVs in 1997 and since then has been one of the most successful models in the world. With the launch of the GLE, the edition will surpass the 1.6 million mark,” Källenius went on to say. And Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, added: “With the new GLE 63 and seven additional performance SUV models from the GLA 45 AMG to the G 65 AMG, Mercedes-AMG is in an extremely strong and very confident position. All three generations of the predecessors were highly popular. We offer the right performance automobile for every individual taste in the further growing SUV segment.”
Diesel and hybrid drive: efficiency meets the joy of driving
In addition to the appealing design, the variable driving experience thanks to DYNAMIC SELECT and the assistance systems familiar from the E- and S-Class, the GLE impresses with an extensive engine line-up. Five equally efficient and powerful engines with four, six or eight cylinders are available to choose from. The special focus:
- The 150-kW (204-hp) four-cylinder diesel model 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 140 g of CO2/km (5.4 l/100 km).
- No less impressive is the first Mercedes-Benz SUV with plug-in hybrid technology. A system output of 325 kW (442 hp) in the GLE 500 e 4MATIC guarantees brilliant performance – with CO2 emissions of just 78 g/km (3.3 l/100 km). With a power consumption of 16.7 kWh/100 km, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC is the benchmark in this market segment. In addition, the hybrid model is capable of up to 30 kilometres of all-electric driving.
GLE 500 e 4MATIC: plug-in hybrid technology meets SUV
The new GLE 500 e 4MATIC with plug-in hybrid drive combines the power and refinement of a V8 engine with the fuel consumption of a three-litre car and the versatility of a premium SUV. The drive system components comprise a BlueDIRECT V6 direct-injection petrol engine with 245 kW (333 hp) and a hybrid module with 85 kW (116 hp) of electric power. The system peak torque is a massive 650 Nm (479 lb-ft). In addition to impressive acceleration thanks to the boost function, the innovative system drive also offers all-electric driving at speeds up to 130 km/h (80 mph), optimised energy recovery thanks to the intelligent operating strategy and comfort functions such as pre-entry climate control in summer and winter.
A selector switch on the centre console and the instrument cluster offer the driver a choice between four specific operating modes:
- HYBRID: the system controls automatically select the most sensible operating mode with combustion engine and/or electric motor for optimising the overall energy balance
- E-MODE: all-electric driving
- E-SAVE: this mode preserves the current state of charge of the battery to be able to drive on all-electric power at a later time, for example in urban traffic
- CHARGE: battery is charged while driving and when the vehicle is stationary
The compact hybrid module is fully integrated into the seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. The electrical energy is stored in a lithium-ion battery with an energy content of 8.8 kWh, which can be recharged using public charging stations, the wallbox charger at home or on a conventional 220 volt power outlet. The charging time using the wallbox charger or the charging station is around two hours.
The best strategy for efficient driving has always been anticipatory driving without unnecessary braking and accelerating. This is even more important in a hybrid model: because braking manoeuvres serve not only to deliver deceleration, but are also used to recover kinetic energy. The route or the traffic also has influence on the most efficient charging and discharging of the high-voltage battery. For this reason the intelligent drive system management aids the driver with specific control strategies in adopting the most efficient driving style.