We drive the luxurious Mercedes-Benz GLE400d
It was in 1997 that Mercedes-Benz introduced its first SUV the ML, and according to Mercedes-Benz, there have been more than 2 million of the SUV sold worldwide. In 2015, the name ML then changed to GLE with the new naming structure that took place at Mercedes-Benz – this was not just done to be in accordance with the new naming structure, but to also emphasise the GLEs position as the E-Class in the SUV market. This week we’re behind the wheels of the all-new GLE400d
Mercedes Benz has decided to ditch the edges and lines of previous cars for more “generously modelled surfaces” and they call this new design – Sensual Purity. Even with less line, the exterior of the new GLE exhibits a powerful, confident presence –, especially in the front. The front is dominated by an upright octagonal grille that in itself has a HUGE three-pointed star sitting in between a bar that runs from one side of the grille to the other, and just above the grille you have the bonnet with two power domes that add to the visual confidence that the car exudes.
That confident, focused look is emphasised even further by the headlight and their focused design. When viewed from the side, the striking feature that grabs your attention is the wide C-Pillar which Mercedes-Benz says was designed to add to the self-assured look of the car from the side. There are rim sizes from 18-inch to 22-inch which are kept in prominent wheel arches. From the rear, you get to see the muscular should line and it dominates the view from the rear, this is then complemented by the new design of the rear lights. Overall, the design of the new Mercedes-Benz exudes a powerful presence that they have somehow mixed with a bit of that typical Mercedes elegance, though it might not be for everyone, especially when you look at competitors such as the BMW X5 and the Range Rover Sport.
The interior has been designed to give off that typical Mercedes elegant ambience mixed with robust features of off-road SUVs. The central element(s) are the instrument cluster and the central control display which are made up of two 12.3 inch screens that are placed one next to the other. As part of the robust features derived from off-road SUVs, there are grab handles located at the bottom of the centre console.
There is also a new steering wheel, which has been designed to complement the SUVs interior with its striking design.
Mercedes Benz has also introduced the E-Active Body on the GLE. It gives the car a more comfortable ride and also help “rock” when stuck in the sand for instance. It is based off the Magic Body Control that made its debut on the S Class and uses the road surface scan camera and the curve inclination feature (where the car will lean into corners to counter roll) to offer comfort levels that used to be reserved for the S Class.
Our test car (the GLE400d) had a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder making 243kW and 700Nm, This highly refined powertrain is matched to a permanent 50:50 AWD system and nine-speed automatic transmission and we wil the car do 0-100km/h in just 5.8 seconds. Mercedes-Benz claims combined-cycle fuel consumption of 6.9L/100km, though on our drive we were averaging 10.2L/100km with more spirited driving.
The new GLE looks set to join the SUV market, a market that is very competitive – being dominated by the like of the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and Range Rover Sport.it will be very interesting to see how it fares.
The Mercedes GLE is Priced as follows :
The GLE300d – R1 252 187
The GLE450 – R1 377 855
The GLE400d – R1 400 729