The ML-replacing Mercedes GLE debuts at the 2015 New York Motor Show with efficiency and tech improvements
Mercedes new BMW X5 rival not only has a whole new look but a new name to go with it. This is the Mercedes GLE – formerly ML– and it joins the swooping GLE Coupe in the revamped Mercedes SUV lineup. Set to debut at the New York Motor Show next week, Mercedes has reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 17 per cent on average as well as introduced a new plug-in hybrid GLE 500e 4 MATIC version for the first time.
To bring its best-selling SUV in line with the current crop of models, Mercedes’ new design DNA has been sprinkled over the GLE. A pair of swept-back LED headlamps with daytime running lights have been borrowed from the S-Class and flank the wide, two-bar chrome grille.
The shark-fin style C-pillar which has survived since its conception on the first-generation model in 1997 remains at the rear, with the integrated side window. More curvaceous wings and flared wheel arches have also been bolted on.
Four, six and eight-cylinder engine options remain from the outgoing model, with 436bhp GLE 500e plug-in the latest addition. It features a 328bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and 114bhp electric motor, which Mercedes claims delivers V8 power and refinement.
Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive system and seven-speed automatic gearbox come as standard, with 18.5 miles of pure electric range also possible. The German brand also claims 85.6mpg and 78g/km of CO2 for its hybrid SUV – exactly the same figures BMW claims for its new X5 xDrive40e plug-in.
Diesel options will be the GLE 250d and GLE 350d models, with a 201bhp 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel and a 254bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel providing power to each respectively. Mercedes claims the entry-level GLE 250d is now the most efficient in its class, capable of 52.3mpg and emitting 140g/km of CO2. Both come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
At the opposite end of the range is the Mercedes-AMG 63 S 4MATIC. Now more powerful than ever, the 5.5-litre V8 has been uprated from 518bhp to 577bhp, with a revised chassis to help manage the hike in performance. Mercedes claims 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds – that’s 0.6 seconds quicker than before.
Inside, a floating seven-inch display screen – an eight-inch screen is a cost option – has replaced the pervious integrated monitor, with the redesigned centre console housing the COMAND controller and touchpad.
All models come with an array of standard kit, with Mercedes adding Collision Prevention, Crosswind Assist, ECO stop-start and Dynamic Select controller as factory fit. There’s also the Parking pack, adding a 360 degree camera and Active Park Assist, and Comfort pack, adding automatic tailgate, soft-closing doors and reversing camera.