The new Mercedes-Benz GLE (Facelifted ML), also known as ML (M-Class). If you are a bit confused, Mercedes-Benz has decided to revise its SUV branding strategy and henceforth, each SUV will be named based on its sedan model and start with GL! ML or M-Class is now called as GLE. This means GLE is represents the SUV version of E-Class. But let’s finish this boring conversation and move on to the good bit.
The new GLE is the face lifted version of the ML and you can easily understand this from the design resemblance. Personally, GLE’s exterior design looks like a teddy bear. Despite the lovely exterior design, its interior design is quite Mercedes-Benz in style. This means the interior design is ergonomically perfect but conservative to preserve the design language.
With the new GLE, a new product is also introduced, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC. The tiny ‘e’ means plug-in hybrid and it is part of the new branding strategy of Mercedes-Benz. The GLE 500 e is powered by a 3-lt V6 BlueDIRECT petrol engine with 333 HP and 116 HP of electric power. The combination brings 442 HP and 650 nm of torque. It can drive up to 130km/h with pure electricity. However, the engine is coupled with the 7G-Tronic Plus automatic gearbox and it is a bit old!
The safety features of the GLE have really improved! Unlike the previous M-Class vehicle, Mercedes-Benz decided to feature all their pre-crash safety systems and driving aid features on GLE. This means; DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian protection, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE® PLUS. Basically, with these features the GLE is more competitive with the BMW X5, new Audi Q7 and the Volvo XC90.
New Gearbox, 9G-Tronic
The 9G-Tronic is now available with the diesel powered GLE models. The 9G-Tronic is the latest 9-speed automatic gearbox from Mercedes-Benz and thankfully, you can order the off road package with this transmission as well. The 9G-Tronic offers more efficiency and thanks to a new torque convertor, the power loss to drive train is reduced. Mercedes-Benz emphasises that the 9G-Tronic is impressive on the gear change, but I will reserve judgment until I have tried it for myself.
The GLE offers some off-road ability. The Off-Road Engineering pack offers a reduction gear (low range) and a 100% lockable centre differential. Locking the central differential may help on off-road but you need to lock the rear differential for a perfect experience.
Additionally, the Active Curve System that is available with the S-Class Coupe is now available with the GLE. Basically, this feature provides a better driving experience through the adjustments of active anti-roll bars on each axle. Of course, you can still order the legendary AIRMATIC suspension for the best off-road and on-road driving experience.
In my opinion; the GLE is a really really good car. Unlike previous models, Mercedes-Benz did not deprive it of pre-crash and driving aids. Also, the plug-in hybrid model is an important achievement. However, the GLE still looks a bit normal or conservative and may not captures the interest of different tastes. Despite this fact, it will offer a really good driving experience for longer journeys and also, gives you the option of an off-road experience.