Mercedes-Benz has finally finished its 2015 model onslaught with the local introduction of the GLE and GLC.
The GLE is basically a facelifted version of what we used to call the ML. Under the new naming scheme, the letters “GL” implies that it’s and SUV, while the letter that follows illustrates its ranking in the Mercedes line-up. The GLE, then, is the off-road version of the E-class, while the GLC is the all-new off-road version of the C-class.
The GLE features a substantial exterior facelift, which brings it neatly in line with its latest rivals from BMW and Audi. It has redesigned bumpers all round and new head and taillights front and rear. The GLE remains an imposing car and it definitely won’t be mistaken for anything but a Mercedes-Benz.
How it drives and how luxurious it is depends entirely on the choices the owner makes when he orders it. There are numerous optional extras to choose from with regards to both, but we’d recommend going for the Airmatic suspension package and the Off-road Engineering package, which adds an Offroad+ mode to the number of selectable driving modes one can already choose from. The suspension can then be raised on lowered at the push of a button, while the low-range gearbox should make child’s play out of even the toughest of obstacles.
Six models are available locally, ranging from docile to absolutely insane.
On the diesel front there’s a GLE 250d and 350d. The former is the only four-cylinder in the range and offers 150kW/500Nm of torque. The more powerful six-cylinder 350d pushes out 190kW and 620Nm of torque. Both engines are mated to a new nine-speed automatic transmission.
The petrol range consists of the turbocharged V6 GLE 400 (245kW/480Nm) and the turbocharged V8 GLE 500 with a nice 320kW and 700Nm on tap. Both petrol models are mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission.
If that’s not enough, you can always venture into the realm of AMG where you’ll find two models on offer.
The standard AMG GLE 63 is equipped with a biturbo V8 with 410kW at its disposal, but Mercedes also offers the slightly more insane “S” model, which pushes the output to 430kW and 760Nm of torque. Mercedes claims that this is enough power to get it to 100km/h in around 4,2 seconds.
GLE 250 d R 863 000
GLE 350 d R 964 000
GLE 400 R 959 000
GLE 500 R 1 166 000
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 R 1 710 000
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S R 1 839 000