New Mercedes GLE to rival BMW X5, Audi Q7

The replacement for the Mercedes M-Class will rival the BMW X5 - and a hot AMG performance version is on the way too

Details and images of the new Mercedes GLE have been revealed ahead of the car’s public debut at the New York Motor Show next month.

The GLE is a redesigned and renamed version of the Mercedes ML SUV, which will go up against the BMW X5 and Audi Q7. The big news is that Mercedes has managed to make the GLE , on average, 17% more efficient than the ML. The German manufacturer has also introduced a new plug-in hybrid version for the first time.

The design of the GLE is in keeping with the newest models in the Mercedes range and includes sweptback LED headlights with daytime running lights that sandwich the trademark two-bar chrome grille.

Overall, the car is slightly more curvaceous and striking than the old ML.

Mercedes GLE engines

Mercedes will offer GLE buyers a choice of two diesel models, a plug-in hybrid and a range-topping V8 petrol version.

The entry-level GLE 250d uses a 201bhp 2.1-litre diesel engine that, Mercedes claims, makes it the most efficient in its class thanks to economy figures of 52.3mpg and CO2 emissions as low as 140g/km.

The more powerful GLE 350d uses a larger 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine that produces 254bhp. This model is around 9% more efficient than the old one thanks to changes to the engine’s control unit, and now returns 44.1mpg. Both diesel models come with Mercedes nine-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic gearbox as standard.

The GLE 500 e 4MATIC combines a 333bhp V6 petrol engine with a 116bhp electric motor for impressive performance and economy figures of 85.6mpg and 78g/km of CO2 emissions. Like its direct rival, the BMW xDrive40e, the hybrid version of the GLE comes with permanent four-wheel drive.

Those looking for a high-performance SUV have the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S to choose from. It’s fitted with a 577bhp 5.5-litre V8 that’s 59bhp more powerful than the outgoing ML version. The car’s chassis has been tweaked to help it cope with all the power - power that will get the car from 0-62mph in a staggering 4.2 seconds.

Mercedes GLE equipment

Standard equipment on the new GLE includes stop/start technology, a new multifunction steering wheel, and Mercedes’ Audio 20 CD infotainment system with seven-inch touchscreen. Assistance systems like Crosswind Assist and Collision Prevention Assist Plus also come as standard.

The AMG model comes with a sporty styling kit, 20-inch AMG alloy heels, and AMG line Artico leather interior.

The options list for the GLE includes the latest COMAND Online with eight-inch touchscreen, a 6-disc DVD changer and upgraded sound systems from Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen.

Driving Assistance Plus, Comfort, and Parking packages are also available, offering various software systems to make the car safer, easier to live with and easier to park.

Mercedes GLE price and release date

The GLE will be in showrooms and available to order in September 2015.

Exact prices for all models are likely to be confirmed at the time of the car’s debut in New York but we expect the entry-level GLE 250d to cost around £50,000, which represents a slight increase on the outgoing Mercedes ML.

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