What Is It?
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE and Mercedes-AMG GLE63
What's New About This Model?
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE replaces the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and is the first product line to feature the German automaker's new naming strategy. The successor to the Mercedes-Benz ML63 AMG is now called the Mercedes-AMG GLE63.
In addition to the new name, the GLE offers a few modest updates to the current ML. The biggest exterior design changes are new headlights and taillights, along with revisions to the front and rear bumpers. New light-alloy wheels round out the package. In the cabin, the media display has been partially integrated into the instrument cluster. New color and trim combinations in the cabin include Espresso Brown and Porcelain.
When Does It Go on Sale?
Mercedes-Benz said the GLE and high-performance 2016 Mercedes-AMG GLE63 4Matic and Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S 4Matic will arrive at Mercedes-Benz dealerships in August. The new 2016 GLE550e, a plug-in hybrid, is expected to go on sale in mid-September.
How Much Does It Cost?
No official pricing has been released yet, but we expect the GLE lineup will be priced similar to the 2015 ML models. The base Mercedes-Benz GLE is expected to start around $50,000, while the top-of-the-line Mercedes-AMG GLE63 will start at around $100,000. Mercedes-Benz has not provided a pricing estimate on the new GLE550e 4Matic, a plug-in hybrid.
What Is Unique About the GLE Lineup?
The new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE550e 4Matic is a ground-breaking SUV for the brand, since it's the first Mercedes-Benz SUV to be offered as a plug-in hybrid. The drive system is made up of a 329-horsepower direct-injection V6 engine, a 114-hp electric motor and a lithium-ion battery. Torque is pegged at 354 pound-feet. The GLE550e has a seven-speed automatic transmission.
It can drive 18.6 miles on a full charge. The plug-in hybrid can run solely on electric drive at speeds up to 81 mph. The driver can choose among four different driving modes. They include an E-mode for all-electric driving and E-Save. This mode preserves the current state of charge of the battery to be able to drive on all-electric power at a later time: for example, in urban traffic.
Fuel economy estimates have not been released at this time.
What Kinds of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
- GLE300d 4Matic (formerly ML250 Bluetec): Turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder diesel; 201 hp, 369 lb-ft torque
- GLE350, GLE350 4Matic (formerly ML350): 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 gasoline engine
- GLE400 4Matic (formerly ML400): Twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter direct-injection V6 gasoline engine; 329 hp, 354 lb-ft of torque
- GLE550e 4Matic (new): Twin-turbocharged, direct-injection V6 gasoline engine and electric motor; 436 hp total system output, 354 lb-ft of torque
- GLE63 4Matic: Twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 engine; 550 hp, 516 lb-ft of torque
- GLE63 S 4Matic: Twin-turbocharged 5.5-liter V8 engine; 577 hp, 561 lb-ft of torque
- Seven-speed automatic transmission
- GLE63 and GLE63 S are equipped with the AMG Speedshift MCT transmission.
Mercedes-Benz says the GLE400 4Matic will eventually get a nine-speed automatic transmission, but the launch of that may not happen until model year 2017 with a rollout in the summer or fall of 2016.
What Unique Feature Does It Offer?
The Active Curve System is standard on AMG models and optional on others. It uses active antiroll bars on the front and rear axle and compensates the roll angle of the body during cornering for better agility and increased handling.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
BMW X5: The 2015 BMW X5 is a top choice for a luxury crossover SUV, especially if performance is a priority.
Porsche Cayenne: The 2015 Porsche Cayenne is at once sporty and sumptuous, and its comprehensive lineup includes a diesel-powered model and a plug-in hybrid.
Should You Wait for It?
The luxury SUV segment is crowded with a long list of great choices for those who can't wait until late summer for the revamped GLE. But it may be worth the wait to get your hands on the new plug-in hybrid, which considerably ups the ante for Mercedes-Benz.