With a lineage that traces back to the M-Class and the 1997 birth of the premium SUV segment – followed by the launch of the GLE in 2015 and its successor in 2018, the arrival here of the latest updated GLE SUV signals yet another milestone in the life of Mercedes-Benz.
A category bestseller, with its sporty offshoot, the GLE Coupé to follow, the new GLE SUV has been updated and made better in almost every way.
Electrified, the choice includes mild hybrid diesel models with 48-volt system and Integrated Starter Generator as well as fourth-generation plug-in hybrids – with all-wheel drive 4MATIC standard across the range and with muscle to tow loads up to 3.5 tonnes.
Updated outside and inside – with enhanced technology and equipment – its detailed exterior changes include new front bumper detailing with a revised front spoiler and expressively-shaped side air intakes formed in a jet-wing design.
New LED daytime running lights and revised LED rear lights give it a distinctly more modern appearance. On GLE Coupé models, standard is an AMG Line exterior. Fresh upholstery colours, trim parts and two new body colours have been introduced – an Alpine Grey and Sodalite Blue Metallic.
As part of the model update, the range of standard equipment has been extensively upgraded – with 19-inch light-alloys replacing the previous 18-inch versions. A touch-button, fully-electric, retractable ball hitch for towing comes equipped with bolts for fixing a cycle rack.
Inside, features have become even more digital and intelligent as in the case of the latest generation MBUX infotainment system which is now capable of ‘learning’ thanks to enhancements in hardware and software.
Features of interest include a greater use of touchscreen and voice-activated controls. The ‘Hey Mercedes’ function has become more interactive with a capacity to ‘learn’ content. Occupants have the ability to ‘trigger’ certain actions even without the activation keywords “Hey Mercedes”.
The range is comprised of three mild hybrid models: GLE 450 (2999cc), GLE 300 d (1993cc) and GLE 450 d (2989cc) and two plug-in hybrids: GLE 400 e (1999cc) and GLE 350 de (1993cc) with AMG 53 and 63 S versions also included in the mix.
In Ireland focus will likely fall on the GLE 350 de 4MATIC which boasts 103 km of electric driving range also under WLTP. Said by Ciaran Allen, sales manager in Ireland for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars to be “significantly better equipped and more technically advanced than the versions being replaced,” the range comes on the market here at €105,900.
On the ‘driver assistance’ front, improved functions have been added to the previously extensive package supported by a number of optional equipment lines the most significant of which is an Off-Road Package that includes an underride guard. When used in combination with air suspension, ground clearance can be increased by an extra 30mm.
When driving off-road, a ‘transparent bonnet’ links with the MBUX system to feed inform the driver of underbody conditions and hazards. Another helpful option is a Trailer Manoeuvring Assist package helpful when towing.