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Mercedes-Benz GLE

Motoring Review

THE M-Class name has been with us for around 20 years now and established the segment of premium SUVs in 1997. It has since then been one of the most successful models in the world. Now though, for 2016, Mercedes-Benz has a new badge on the back: GLE.

If you, like many others are wondering what a GLE is, then let us explain. Mercedes-Benz has decided to rename its SUV models. From what we can un-code, the ‘GL’ stands for Gelandewagen,which we think stands for overland wagon and the ‘E’ suggests that it’s the E-Class (mid-sized) equivalent of the SUV line up. Mercedes-Benz hasn’t just changed the name here, they’ve redesigned the GLE, formerly known as the ML and we have details below.

Just to set things straight once more, the GLE must not be confused with the GLE-coupé, which is a direct competitor to the BMW X6; we will bring you details on that at a later stage. The GLE is based on the ML model thus competes with regular SUV models such as the X5 and Audi Q7.

The premium off-roader (if you consider it to be an off-roader) gains sharper headlights with integrated daytime running lights,  a more upright twin-slat radiator grille, revamped lower bumper, and more muscular-looking hood with two power domes.

Inside, the GLE benefits from a larger, more user-friendly screen, running Mercedes’ Command infotainment system, and a sportier three-spoke steering wheel. New interior colours such as porcelain, espresso brown and ginger beige add an extra touch of elegance to the cockpit.

With the start of the new GLE generation, all diesel models will be equipped with a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission as standard, for the first time also with the optionally available off-road reduction gear and inter-axle differential lock. The transmission is fitted with a new type of torque converter with a high efficiency of 92 percent and a wide spread of 9.15 across the nine speeds. Both contribute to the high energy efficiency of the GLE models. A double turbine torsional damper with centrifugal pendulum and the torque converter lock-up clutch with return spring ensure the extremely refined operation - typical of the brand.

Yes, there will undoubtedly be an AMG version, which will compete with the recently launched BMW X5M. The new Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S 4Matic is now stronger and more appealing than ever with an expanded model line up and even more power. The AMG 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine is even more powerful than before; the highly sporty S-Model is rated at 436kW of power.

The chassis was completely revised to deliver even better driving dynamics and agility. The throttle response of the engine and the shift times of the transmission are now on a new, even sportier level, thereby underscoring the hallmark AMG driving performance. With the characteristic AMG family face featuring "A-wing" and twin-blade radiator grille, the power SUV also has a more dynamic appearance than before.

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