The big news on the Mercedes-Benz stand at the New York International Auto Show was undeniably the introduction of the all-new GLE, set to replace the M-Class next year. It’s a great opportunity to better integrate the mid-size SUV with the rest of the Mercedes line-up, both in the stylistic and nomenclature departments.
As far as styling goes, it’s no surprise that the GLE borrows heavily from the GLE Coupé introduced at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI. The most distinctive additions include new headlamp lenses and newly-shaped grille. Out back, you’ll find more dynamic bumpers and LED taillamps.
In the case of the GLE63 performance models, we again go back to the Coupé, with its gaping front fascia and special AMG split-grille.
Inside, the improvements are subtle; there’s a new three-spoke steering wheel and infotainment system with a screen that sits above the dash, just like in the GLE.
As always, Mercedes will be offering numerous engine choices. The most significant of these is a plug-in hybrid that has the Volvo XC90 T8, BMW X5 xDrive40e and upcoming Audi Q7 e-tron Quattro, set to debut as a 2017 model, squarely in its sights. Called the GLE500e 4MATIC, it differs little from the other GLE models in the stylistic sense save for a rear bumper opening for the charging port. We don’t have exact figures yet, but expect a 3.0L V6 with an 84 kW electric motor, the latter adding over 100 horsepower and 250 lb.-ft. of torque.
There’s also a chance we North Americans (and we Canadians, especially) may see a second diesel version that shares its motor with the current GLK250. In that car, it makes 240 hp and 389 lb.-ft. We’ll also see the return of the popular 3.0L V6 seen in the current ML350 BlueTEC, making 240 hp and 455 lb.-ft. Two other gas V6’s will also be offered; the GLE400 4MATIC will make 329 hp and 354 lb.-ft., while the GLE450 4MATIC will be good for 362 hp.
If that’s not enough for you, Mercedes will also be offeeing three V8-powered models; the “base” GLE550 pushes out 402 hp and 443 lb.-ft. from its 4.7L V8, while the GLE63 AMG and AMG-S models will push out 557 and 585 hp, respectively.