Meet the next Mercedes ML-Class SUV — which is packing an all-new style up front, a six-pack of new engines and vastly improved technology in the cabin.
The most striking change might be the badge itself, however. Called the GLE-Class, this change reflects the new naming strategy across the board for Merc SUVs. GLA, GLK, GLE, GLE Coupe and GLS at the top of the range. The hardy G-Class SUV sticks to its single-letter nomenclature, but its AMG models are now ‘Mercedes-AMG G63’ versus the ‘G63 AMG.’
The nose is a fantastic upgrade to the fairly tired style of the ML550 and ML63, which were feeling very long-in-the-tooth recently in the face of the new S-Class and others. This new GLE wears subtly revised detailing in the doors and liftgate, but maintains its existing glasshouse and pillar designs.
Among the powertrain choices are a plugin hybrid GLE550e and a new GLE300d with turbodiesel power. Gasoline power comes from twin-turbo engines with 4Matic across the board, except on the base GLE350. This car will run a 3.5-liter V6 versus the 3.0-liter twin-turbo in the GLE400.
A GLE400 will offer an extra 27 horsepower over the 302-pony GLE350. This GLE400’s 329-horsepower output is matched by the hybrid GLE550e.
Confused yet? =]
Don’t fret — they are all exceptional and fairly quick. Keen drivers will strongly prefer the GLE400 over the base V6, despite matching 7.5-second sprints to 60-mph. A big jump in in-gear power comes from the GLE400 packing an extra 70 pound-feet of torque over the base V6.
The kings of the group will be the GLE63 and GLE63-S — which run 5.5-liter V8TT’s delivering 550 and 577-horsepower, respectively. These new AMG models deliver a fairly stonking 4.3 and 4.2-second sprint to 62-mph — and likely down to a 4.0-second blast-off to the shorter 60-mph run in the USA.
Pricing and arrival timeframes are not yet known, but overall will be similar to the current ML-Class — with a base in the $48,000 range and almost doubling for the top GLE63 S Model from about $88,000. We expect these AMGs to arrive with the rest of the group by August of 2015 as 2016 models.
Note: These photos are Euro-spec GLE’s — so the badges do not match our USA engines as detailed above and below.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class