A lot has changed, but it still remains the same. Confused? Well, don’t be, because this is exactly the situation the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE class is in.
If you haven’t heard of it already, Mercedes-Benz is currently revamping its models’ nomenclature and soon the Benz models you knew will still be here, but with different names. First in the line was the former Mercedes-Benz CL Class, which now is the S Class Coupe. Then, we come to the car in today’s discussion, the former Mercedes-Benz ML class, which from August 2015 will be known as the GLE Class worldwide.
So, what are the changes are we going to see as the most popular SUV in Mercedes-Benz’s lineup changes names?, well lets find out.
Based on the looks, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz looks like a hybrid between the all-new GLE class and the current ML class. Up front, the GLE class receives the same bumper, hood, grille, lights and design elements from the GLE Coupe. As you move to the side and to the rear of the vehicle, you will notice the familiar ML class design elements. Some of the carryover design elements from the ML class include the tailgate and the wrap-around quarter windows after the C-pillars.
So far, everything almost looks similar to the current ML class and should not be confusing to current Mercedes-Benz ML class owners. However, it is not the same story inside the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE class. The moment you open the doors, you will be welcomed into an interior that looks exactly the same as the interior in the new GLE Coupe. Some of the new interior design features in the partially integrated touchscreen, the COMMAND system’s location in the center console and the new, touchpad’s location in relation to the COMMAND system’s switches. The interior of the new GLE class is covered in soft touch materials and when compared to the current ML class, the new GLE will offer more leather choices as well as wider array of interior trims.
Based on the press images provided by Mercedes-Benz, these subtle design enhancements does give the interior of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE class a more premium feel and overall is a vast improvement when compared to the interior of the current ML.
For 2016, Mercedes-Benz will offer two additional variants on top of the models which represents the current ML class. The newest members to the family include the GLE 550e hybrid and the GLE 63 AMG S.
The entry level GLE 350 4 Matic will be powered by a naturally-aspirated 3.5 L V6, which produces 302 horsepower and 273 lb.ft. of torque. A step higher is the GLE 400 4 Matic, which is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0 L V6, which produces a healthy 329 horsepower and 354 lb.ft. of torque. The former ML 250 BlueTec will now be called the GLE 300d and it is powered by the new 2.1 L turbo-diesel 4 cylinder engine which produces 201 horsepower and 369 lb.ft. of torque. For those who are curious, this is the same engine which is currently offered in the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz C class and the new Mercedes-Benz GLC class (formerly the GLK class). One of the two new variants in the family is the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e, which combines the 3.0 L V6 engine from the GLE 400 4 Matic with a 114 horsepower electric motor for a combined output of 436 horsepower and 479 lb.ft. of torque.
So, based on the info so far, if you like powertrain options, then this SUV is for you. But, if you are not satisfied with any of these offerings, don’t worry because the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE class will once again offer the beastly GLE 63 AMG and GLE 63 AMG S models. Both of these SUVs are powered by a hand-built 5.5 L twin-turbo V8, which in the “base” GLE 63 AMG produces 550 horsepower and 516 lb.ft. of torque. Still, if this is not enough power for you, check the ordering box for the GLE 63 AMG S and Mercedes-AMG will happily increase the power output from the 5.5 L V8 by 27 horsepower and 45 lb.ft. of torque. For those who cannot be bothered to do the additions, the final power rating from the 5.5 L twin-turbo V8 in the GLE 63 AMG S is an astounding 577 horsepower and 561 lb.ft. of torque.
Regardless of the engine choice, all 2016 U.S. bound Mercedes-Benz GLE models will be backed by a 7-speed automatic transmission. In the GLE 350, 400, and the 300d, the transmission will be a traditional torque converter automatic. However, in the hybrid and the AMG models, the transmission will be dual-clutch semi-automated unit. For 2017, rumor around the internet is that Mercedes-Benz will offer a new 9-speed automatic transmission in the GLE 400, but we will have to wait and see if this is true or not.
As of this writing, fuel efficiency ratings have not been provided by Mercedes-Benz, but more information will be revealed closer to the production of the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE class.
For 2016, the GLE class have crosswind assist and collision prevention assist as standard features. Other standard features across the range include multi-function steering wheel, Eco Stop/Start feature and 7.0 in touchscreen.
As with all Mercedes-Benz models, the 2016 GLE class will offer a host of additional assists as options. Some of them include blind-spot assist, active lane-keeping assist, automatic tailgate, and 36o surround view camera. Also, depending on which model and trim level you choose, features like Airmatic air suspension and active curve and agility control systems might either be offered as a standard or an optional feature.
The current Mercedes-Benz ML class will be in production till the end of this year or even early into next year. Currently, Mercedes-Benz has not released any further information about the 2016 GLE class than what is mentioned above. Key information which currently is missing are the price range for the new 2016 GLE class. But, Mercedes-Benz mentioned that pricing and fuel economy ratings will be announced closer to the model’s launch in August 2015.