► 2018 Mercedes GLE SUV
► SUV has clever suspension
► Plus EQ Boost engines & trick tech
Mercedes has released UK prices for its new GLE SUV, following its debut at the Paris motor show earlier this year. Prices will start at £55,685 for the new Mercedes GLE 300d 4MATIC, while the petrol-engine EQ Boost range will start at £62,300 for the new Mercedes GLE 450 4MATIC.
Whichever GLE you go for, you can expect a decent amount of tech. MBUX infotainment – first seen in the A-class – comes as standard across the range – complete with its double 12.3-inch screens.
If you get the 450 4MATIC, you’ll get the air suspension system and the new seven seat configuration as standard – though the family-friendly set up is available for the 350d too, but is an £1995 option.
What about the other options?
A £1995 Premium package the bits you’d hope the car already came with such as wireless charging and a 360-degree camera, while a Premium Plus package adds a Burmester sound system a remote boot closing and a panoramic sunroof among other bits. Furthermore, a £1495 Tech Plus package adds movement recognition to MBUX as well as a HUD.
There’s also a £1695 driving assistance pack which features blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping, and a Pre-Safe anticipatory safety system.
For those interested in using the GLE for more than school runs, a £1150 towing package is available, as is a £1695 off-road package. The latter comes with additional off-road driving modes as well as underguard for the engine.
Mercedes GLE: everything you need to know
The Paris motor show saw the first official unveiling of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV. The new car will rival the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Range Rover Sport and is an all-new effort, bringing the ageing franchise in line with the rest of the Mercedes-Benz range. Dr Zietsche amusingly referred to it as a ‘friend with benefits’ at the motor show unveiling. Let's move on, shall we...
In terms of design, it’s a lot of rounder in the flesh, with smoother surfacing than before. But it still looks like an SUV we’re used to: thick black body cladding and silver partitions in the grille reminiscent of any other GL model. Side steps and (fake) sporty exhausts complete the look further around.
Mercedes-Benz GLE: What we know so far
So far, Mercedes has only confirmed the new GLE 450, but expect the range to grow. It uses the brand’s new straight-six petrol engines with a mild hybrid system nicknamed ‘EQ Boost’. There’s 362bhp on tap and 368lb ft from the engine alone, with the EQ boost hybrid system providing another 21bhp and 184lb ft of shove for short periods.
That means, temporarily, up to 383bhp and 552lb ft is available. Mercedes hasn’t provided GLE performance stats yet but the powertrain has claims of getting up to 28.4mpg and around 220g/km.
Mercedes has also promised four-cylinder diesels and a plug-in hybrid version like the outgoing GLE 500e. Although unconfirmed, expect the AMG bods in Affalterbach to start fettling with it post-haste.
What additional tech do we need to know about?
All engine variants, when others come available, will use Merc’s nine-speed automatic gearbox. The 4Matic all-wheel drive system splits the torque at a fixed 50:50 pattern in the future four-cylinder engines, while the new 450 allows for up to 100% of the torque to be sent fore or aft.
Among the new technologies, the new GLE can be had with Merc’s new ‘E-Active Body Control’ as an option for the six-cylinder engines, which uses a 48v anti-roll system combined with air suspension.
On lumpy surfaces, the kinetic energy from the suspension reacting to bumps can be recuperated, which Mercedes claims ‘halves the energy requirement compared to the preceding system in the S-Class.’ The active elements in the suspension can all be used to rock the car free if it gets bogged down in mud or sand dunes and allows for leaning into sharp corners to help alleviate some body roll.
I’m assuming this is loaded up with tech?
This is a Mercedes, remember. There’s Distronic adaptive cruise, an active stop-and-go assistant, the active brake assistant recognises traffic turning off your lane and can warn you via the active blind spot monitors if you’re about to open your door into oncoming traffic.
MBUX makes its way onto the GLE with its natural voice assistant, configurable displays and wide infotainment screens. The version on the GLE also has extended off-road graphics and information available, plus a specific menu for controlling the off-road drive modes. Merc’s ‘Energising Comfort’ function also actively chills you out using fragrances and different music types.
What about the rest of the interior?
Still familiar Mercedes, but with some specific features unique to the GLE. Along with the usual steering wheel seen on the updated C-Class and the two large MBUX screens, there’s a swooping dashboard inlay similar to that of the S-Class, but with rectangular vents affixed to the central area. The centre console has a large closable storage area and two grab handles at knee-height and a haptic touchpad for controlling the infotainment system, too.
Mercedes says that it’s way more spacious than before due to the 80mm increase in wheelbase, with 69mm of bonus space going to second row legroom.
And if I have a big family/lots of friends/loads of stuff to carry?
It can be a seven-seater with a foldable third row, while the second row can be electronically controlled (at an extra cost) for easier access. Merc says the boot can carry up to 825 litres when the third row is down and up to 2055 litres when the second row.
2018 Mercedes GLE: prices and release date
If you’re after one, Mercedes says the new GLE SUV will go on sale in early 2019, when we’ll find out more about the wider engine range. You’ll have to wait a while to find out the basic price, but we’re expecting to see an entry price hovering around £65,000.
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