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The new GLE is only the second Mercedes-Benz to bear that
name, but it can trace its ancestry to the original M-Class SUV of 1997. Big
news with this generation is the longer wheelbase which makes it possible to
opt for a seven-seat configuration for the first time.
The new GLE continues the family look of the latest generation Mercedes-Benz, with a bold, confident grille that features the three-pointed star and a bonnet with sharply defined creases leading to the cabin. Wheel arches are flared to give an overall impression of a well-defined, chunky and imposing large SUV. All models run on 20-inch wheels as a minimum and the third row of seats comes as standard on every model but the entry-level 300d. Inside, there’s lots of wow factor with the Mercedes-Benz 64-colour interior ambient lighting, well-chosen interior trim and supremely comfortable seats.
At launch in the UK, the GLE will be available as two models; the four-cylinder diesel 300D and the six-cylinder petrol 450. The GLE 300D will deliver a 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds, with 46.3mpg and 162g/km of CO2. At the other end of the scale the GLE 450 delivers a creamy 362bhp and 369lb ft from its straight-six turbo petrol engine which is married to a mild hybrid EQ Boost 48-volt system. This one powers from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph, albeit at the expense of a claimed 33.6 mpg.
Later on, Mercedes-Benz UK will be bringing in the six-cylinder GLE350D and GLE400D and some reckon that their effortless torque, excellent fuel efficiency and long-distance range will make them the sweet spot of the range. All models feature the 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, while all models but the GLE300d are equipped with air suspension as standard.
The GLE’s cabin is a big one and the Mercedes-Benz team have made the most of it, cramming it with not one, but two 12.3-inch touchscreens with a plethora of configurations. You can select navigation, set up or infotainment with either the touchscreen, swiping through the options, or via a trackpad mounted on the centre console, or via steering wheel buttons. Alternatively, put the leading-edge MBUX system to the test by issuing your commands prefaced ‘Hey Mercedes’, just as we’re all learning to address Alexa or Siri at home. The range starts with the AMG-Line, which features the stunning twin-widescreen display as standard as well as heated front seats, Active Parking Assist, Blind-Spot Assist, four-zone climate control (on seven-seat models) and cruise control.
Other options are grouped in easy to understand packages such as Premium, which adds memory seats, wireless phone charging, multibeam LED headlights and 360° parking camera. Premium Plus adds the intriguing ENERGIZING package that assesses your physical and mental state as well as the journey length to keep you relaxed and alert, even making minute changes in your seating to prevent aches.
Travelling in the new GLE, you’re surrounded by safety systems. Standard features include Active Braking Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Lane-keeping Assist and the PRE-SAFE anticipatory safety system. Opt for the Driving Assistance package and the car takes an active role in keeping you safe, for example with Active Lane Assist intervening on the brakes to stop a collision. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC helps the driver to maintain a safe distance to the vehicle in front and with Active Lane-Change Assist you simply indicate, and the GLE makes the lane change. It’s one step closer to autonomous driving though you have to keep your hands on the wheel at all times.
There is no shortage of contenders in the luxury SUV
market but the new GLE has a lot of winning cards. Its interior combines
flagship levels of cosseting luxury with a class-leading twin widescreen
infotainment display. Like most of its rivals it can go off-roading, but most
owners won’t, other than perhaps reversing a boat trailer down a slipway or
towing a horsebox across a field. It’s a brilliant mile-eating all-rounder with
space and refinement to spare.
|Dimensions||GLE 250d 4Matic|
|Unladen weight (DIN)||
|Engine / Cylinders||
2.0-litre 2,143 CC|
|Top Speed||132 mph
0-62 mph / 8.6 seconds (approximately)
|Combined cycle||47.9 mpg |
|Urban cycle||42.8 mpg|
|CO2||155 - 156 g/km|