For today’s review we are onboard a Mercedes Benz GLE 350de 4MATIC, a car generous dimensions and with a very special engine.
I still remember when in the late 1990s Mercedes presented the ML, the ancestor of what we now call the Mercedes GLE. ML was a bit of a milestone in the SUV segment when other European rivals were not yet there. Mercedes with ML has combined the off-road capabilities of a G-class, while making it much more usable on the road. The years have confirmed that this was a winning mix, in fact today we are facing its fourth evolution, the GLE.
Mercedes has always accustomed us to a very pleasant elegance, and this GLE confirms this! Its clean lines that, sometimes, recall the past, hide what are the true dimensions of this gentle giant. We are in front of a car of very important dimensions: 4.93 meters long, 1.95 meters wide and 1.80 meters high. Such important dimensions, and a iter axles distance of 3 meters, are reflected in a first class interior habitability. The huge panoramic glass roof allows the passenger compartment to be radiated by a warm and enveloping natural light.
The Premium trim also offers 20-inch wheels as standard. The test car, however, was fitted with 21-inch AMG wheels and, to accentuate its off-road spirit, we also find the aluminum side steps.
Once inside Mercedes GLE we find an environment with a very classic setting, dominated, however, by two screens that together form the MBUX infotainment system. As on the B-Class, tested previously, we find all the smart features, and realized with the aid of Artificial Intelligence, however, projected on two screens of decidedly larger dimensions, 12.3 inches.
Noteworthy are the functions based on the car’s external cameras; in addition to the augmented reality of the navigator, I found it very convenient to activate the front wide-angle camera when you stop near a red light. This way you don’t even need to lean out to see when the green turns off, just take a look at the central display! The interiors of GLE continue to amaze even when the night falls, in fact we can appreciate a well designed ambient lighting with 64 different colors. The LED strips around the dashboard, the doors and the handles on the central tunnel. Summing up, we find ourselves faced with an interior that, in terms of aesthetics, reflects what the Mercedes GLE communicates to us from the outside: refined, modern, and with attention to the smallest details.
Another interesting aspect of GLE is certainly found under the hood, thanks to a very particular powertrain. In fact, we have a plugin hybrid engine, where the endothermic part is managed by a diesel engine. The diesel engine is a 2.0 liter four-cylinder with 194 horsepower and 350nm of torque which, given its size, might appear disappointing. Inside the 9G Tronic gearbox, however, there is a second engine, this time electric, with 136 horsepower and 440nm of torque. The result is a powertrain capable of delivering 320 horsepower and 700nm of torque. Not bad, right?
The battery needed to power the electric engine is huge: 31kWh. The capacity is many times higher than that of some fully electric cars, and this allows very interesting electric only ranges. Mercedes declares 100km of autonomy and, with the right precautions, I have come to cover about 80 km between highway and urban driving. When the battery is empty, the car behaves like a standard hybrid, still enabling very interesting fuel consumptions for the type of car. During the test, in fact, I managed to have an average of about 14km per liter of fuel.
The battery can be recharged in alternating current thanks to a 7.4kw three-phase OBC or you can request, as an option, the recharge in direct current at 50kw. Charging times and costs vary greatly depending on where you charge and at which speed. The ideal scenario for such a car is to charge it at home or in the office. Charging via a 3kW wallbox takes just one night, and just over 7 euros, to recover all the autonomy. But how is this Mercedes GLE driving? Unexpectedly agile! The weight of 2600kg is important, but thanks to its powerful powertrain and the maximum torque delivered at the start of the electric engine, it can move with great agility in all situations.
Despite this, we are not dealing with a sports car, it is still all about driving comfort. The AIRMATIC air suspension dissipate bumps in an excellent way and, despite the 21-inch wheels, it feels like traveling on a flying carpet. The 9-speed automatic transmission always has the right gear and allows you to travel re on the motorway at very low engine speeds, thus reducing noise and fuel consumption. The excellent distribution of torque, given by the 4Matic traction, finally allows you to face almost any type of difficulty due to adverse weather conditions or uneven terrain. Finally, to complete an excellent driving experience, there are an excellent adaptive cruise control and the multibeam LED headlights that guarantee excellent night lighting. Mercedes Benz GLE confirms all the expectations we had: comfortable, intelligent, innovative and unstoppable.