Mercedes to Include New Plug-in Hybrid with Debut of Revamped GLE Crossover
Mercedes-Benz will introduce a new plug-in hybrid with the debut of the revamped GLE midsize crossover. The redesigned crossover family is scheduled to debut at the New York International Auto Show next week. It will be the first product line to feature Mercedes’ new nomenclature. The GLE badge replaces the M class, Mercedes’ top-selling light truck in the U.S. In 1997, Mercedes was the first European luxury brand to offer a midsize crossover. But now it has a list of rivals including the BMW X5, Acura MDX, Lexus RX, Audi Q5, Porsche Cayenne and Volvo XC90. In 2000, the U.S. sales of the M class peaked at 52,764 and rose 13 percent last year to 46,726.
The 2016 GLE will be available with five powertrain options, including a diesel and the plug-in hybrid. The new GLE550e 4MATIC has a plug-in hybrid system that uses a lithium ion battery. It is powered by a 329 hp, V-6, direct-injection gasoline engine and an electric engine with 114 hp and peak torque of 479 pounds feet. It can drive 18.6 miles on a full charge. The hybrid can run solely on the electric drive at speeds up to 81 mpg. Four different modes of driving can be engaged. The hybrid has a seven-speed automatic transmission. It is scheduled to go on sale in mid-September.
Mercedes is also launching the four-cylinder GLE300d 4MATIC all-wheel-drive diesel and the V-6 GLE350 and GLE 400 gasoline models available with optional all-wheel drive. Two V-8 high-performance models will also debut: the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 and GLE83S. These models go on sale in August. The GLE gets various Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive passive and active safety systems that are options or standard, depending on the model. The Dynamic Select handling system for off-road driving is standard on the base model. No pricing related information has been released as of now. The GLE features new headlamps and taillights, as well as changes to the front and rear bumpers.