Mercedes-Benz introduced the 2016 GLE-Class last week at the New York International Auto Show. The GLE-Class is Mercedes’ replacement for the M-Class in the luxury midsize SUV segment. According to Ola Källenius, member of the board of management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars, "State-of-the-art and efficient drive technology, combined with superior ride quality and the versatility and robustness typical for SUVs - the new GLE has all the ingredients to continue the success story of our best-seller.”
Under the hood, the base 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE350 has a 302-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. The GLE 300d comes with a 201-horsepower turbodiesel 2.1-liter four-cylinder engine. The GLE400 has a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 329 horsepower. At the top of the lineup are the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 (550 horsepower) and GLE63 S (577 horsepower). Both models have a twin-turbocharged 5.0-liter V8 engine. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. All-wheel drive is optional on the base trim (rear-wheel drive is standard) and standard on all others. Mercedes’ Dynamic Select offers several different performance modes that optimize the GLE’s driving systems for improved handling, ride comfort, traction and off-roading ability.
The GLE550e has the first plug-in hybrid powertrain ever offered in a Mercedes-Benz SUV. Its 3.0-liter V6 gasoline engine and electric motor together produce 436 horsepower. Using only electric power, Mercedes says the GLE550e can travel up to 18.6 miles and reach a speed of 81 mph.
On the outside, the 2016 GLE-Class has only minor design changes from the outgoing M-Class, including updated headlights and taillights and restyled bumpers. Inside, there are only a few minor updates, including a repositioned display screen on the center stack. Mercedes has updated some of the materials as well. Car and Driver comments, “The materials look and feel more expensive, and the changes should keep the GLE feeling fresh until an entirely new model appears three to four years down the road.”
Official pricing for the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class has not yet been announced, but the 2015 M-Class starts at $48,300.
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class competes against the Acura MDX, BMW X5 and redesigned Lexus RX, among others. The outgoing 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class currently ranks eighth of 17 luxury midsize SUVs. Do you think the new GLE has what it takes to climb the rankings? In the market for a new SUV? Check out the U.S. News Best Price Program for guaranteed savings on a new vehicle. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.