Mercedes-Benz GLE launched

It's now 18 years since Mercedes introduced the ML and this whole SUV frenzy really kicked off. Crikey. Mercedes says it has been "often copied, rarely equalled" - you suspect BMW may have a little something to say about that. Anyway, the ML has been thoroughly overhauled and renamed in Mercedes range-wide refresh to become the GLE.

Yep, the screen is here again!
Yep, the screen is here again!
The important details as far as Mercedes is concerned are its first plug-in hybrid SUV, Dynamic Select configurability and new LED tail lights. The important details for PH relate to the AMG GLE 63 S 4Matic (don't forget the naming switch around) and its update.

Uber SUVs may not be your cup of tea but there's no doubting their popularity or absurd performance. The GLE 63 produces 585hp from the familiar 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8, accompanied by 560lb ft from 1,750-5,250rpm. That makes it more powerful than the Range Rover Sport SVR, BMW X5 M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S. That will most likely matter to quite a few customers. The 0-62mph is dispatched in 4.2 seconds (the Porsche is faster...) with top speed limited to 155mph or 174 depending on which option boxes are ticked. Kerbweight? Don't ask.

Mercedes claims the chassis has been "completely revised to deliver even better driving dynamics and agility." Throttle response and shift times are said to be improved too. So there we are, another way to offend every person in sight will be available soon.

AMG can be had in other colours. Really
AMG can be had in other colours. Really
The rest of the GLE range is comprised of the 500e 4Matic plus 250 and 350 diesels. That hybrid will of course compete with BMW's recently announced X5 xDrive40e. Contain your excitement now. The Mercedes combines the 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 seen in the E400 with a 116hp electric motor to produce 442hp and 479lb ft. That performance allied to 85.6mpg and 78g/km makes a case that's annoyingly hard to argue with, at least by the numbers.

The Dynamic Select system seen in both the AMG GT and C63 is further modified for use in the GLE. There's an off-road setting for "mild terrain" and an 'off-road plus' mode if the 'Off-Road Engineering package' has been specified. That gives the GLE a 100 per cent inter-axle diff lock, Airmatic suspension that has up to 285mm of ground clearance and a fording depth of 600mm. Y'know, in case it has rained in the M&S car park.

"Impresses with dominance" says Merc
"Impresses with dominance" says Merc
The GLE now has an "even more harmonious interior" than the ML in case you weren't sold already. So there's a larger media display (not quite as tablet-esque as some other Mercs), fresh colours including ginger beige (really) and new standard equipment including Crosswind Assist.

The GLE is still recognisably an ML from the outside, albeit refreshed with the new Mercedes corporate face and those LED lights. For the GLE 63 the standard rims are 20s, with 21s on the extras list. It "impresses with dominance" supposedly.

Mercedes will release the GLE in the UK this September following a debut at the New York show next week. Prices to be confirmed nearer the time.


P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (24) Join the discussion on the forum

  • mrclav 27 Mar 2015

    I was never really a fan of these (especially the later versions as they look a bit, er, melted) but I'm sure living with one would't be the worst thing in the world.

  • Macadoodle 27 Mar 2015

    Of all the big SUVs, I've always thought the Merc was the best at hiding its bulk visually. In my opinion it's not a bad looking thing. Certainly better than the X5 to my eyes.
    I like the way they just quietly slip in the 585hp AMG at the top of the range without any fanfare or fuss (take note Range Rover SVR).

  • kambites 27 Mar 2015

    Nice enough looking thing as big SUVs go. Especially in darker colours, I suspect.

  • J4CKO 27 Mar 2015

    85.6 Mpg, yeah, because we believe that.....

  • schmalex 27 Mar 2015

    I just wish they'd get rid of that stupid screen. Its design looks dated already and in every Merc I've seen it in, it looks like a real after-thought

View all comments in the forums Make a comment