2015 NY Auto Show News: Mercedes Benz Unveils the New GLE Coupe, 250d, 350d and 500e

A few things before we get down to business.  Last year, Mercedes decided to restore logic to their SUV naming conventions.  Everything shifted to match the A, E, and S class designation.  So the idea is to take the “G” (for “gelandewagen”), carry the “L” and fuse both to the new class–in this case the midsize “E”.  The GLA was first, presumably to replace the GLK.  The time for the GLE is in advance of the 2015 New York International Auto Show.  The flagship SUV, re-named GLS (from “GL”), has been seen by the automotive spies, and should debut later in the year–maybe at Frankfurt or at Shanghai.

A coupe version of the new GLE was teased at the 2015 NAIAS, otherwise known as the Detroit Auto Show.  Mercedes showed up with a diesel version as well as an AMG Biturbo V8 monster that we love (secretly).  It’s a good looking vehicle, and gave you a glimpse of what was to come when the rest of the line debuted proper.  Here’s a shot of the AMG monster:

 

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe.  Image courtesy of Daimler Global Media.

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe. Image courtesy of Daimler Global Media.

 

Which brings us to the new 2016 Mercedes Benz GLE 250d, 350d and 500e:

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First things first.  Did you notice the “d” and “e”?  For the first time that I can remember, Mercedes isn’t leading with a straight gasoline version.  They’re showcasing a diesel and a plug-in hybrid.  It’s part of an effort to introduce ten new hybrid models by 2017.

Ten hybrids by 2017 is a strategic initiative for Mercedes, and generally by the major European automakers.  It started at Mercedes Benz with the S500 Plug-in Hybrid.  You also see it in the Volvo XC90.  Here’s what Mercedes says about the strategy:

“Plug-in hybrids are a key technology on the road to the local emission-free future of the automobile,” emphasises Prof Dr Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “Plug-in hybrids offer our customers the best of both worlds; in the city they can drive in all-electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the combustion engine’s range. In addition, hybridisation makes the combustion engine more efficient and brings with it a special type of dynamic performance – making driving an absolute pleasure.”

 

As long as the hybrids are paired with these Mercedes engines, Weber’s words will continue to ring true.  For the GLEe, Mercedes is building on the tried and true 3.5 liter V6 and pairing it with an electric motor.

The new GLE 500 e 4MATIC with plug-in hybrid drive combines the power and refinement of a V8 engine with the fuel consumption of a three-litre car and the versatility of a premium SUV. The drive system components comprise a BlueDIRECT V6 direct-injection petrol engine with 245 kW (333 hp) and a hybrid module with 85 kW (116 hp) of electric power. The system peak torque is a massive 650 Newton metres (479 lb/ft). In addition to impressive acceleration thanks to the boost function, the innovative system drive also offers all-electric driving at speeds up to 130 km/h, optimised energy recovery thanks to the intelligent operating strategy and comfort functions such as pre-entry climate control in summer and winter.

 

The diesel variant is no slouch either:

In addition to the equally efficient and powerful four-cylinder diesel engine for the GLE 250 d and GLE 250 d 4MATIC models with an output of 150 kW (204 hp), the proven V6 diesel engine producing 190 kW (258 hp) of power and a hefty torque of 620 Newton metres is available in the GLE 350 d 4MATIC.

 

There’s no information yet (that I can find) on which of the diesels will come to the US.  Given the popularity of hybrid over here, I would imagine we’d see the 4-cylinder GLE 250d, GLE 500 (435 hp, V-8 gasoline), and GLE 500e.

 

 

 

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