The SUV trendsetter completely reconceived - Strength From Within


The exterior design of the new Mercedes-Benz GLE not only exudes presence and power, but also sets a new standard for aerodynamics in the SUV segment.

Mercedes-Benz GLE
Image Supplied by Mercedes-Benz South Africa

The SUV trendsetter is full of innovations. For example, the active suspension system E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL on a 48volt basis is a world first. The new driver assistance systems further increase the level of active safety. The interior is even more spacious and comfortable, with a third seat row available on request. The infotainment system boasts larger screens and MBUX Interior Assist, which can detect hand and arm movements to assist with control functions. The GLE will feature a completely new six-cylinder petrol engine and four-cylinder diesel. The new 4MATIC ensures great agility on the road and superior performance off the beaten track.  

"In 1997 Mercedes-Benz founded the premium SUV segment with the launch of the M-Class. Since then, more than two million customers have decided in favour of the off-roader worldwide. The GLE introduces the new control concept with innovative driving assistants, a new engine range and significantly more space. The new GLE is set to continue this success story throughout."

says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO and Executive Director Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.  

Powertrain: in-line six-cylinder diesel already meets Euro 6d 

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE is the very first SUV anywhere to meet the coming Euro 6d standard. The OM 656 six-cylinder diesel engine comes with 243 kW and 700 Nm of torque in the GLE 400 d 4MATIC. It is particularly clean, too: Thanks to its extended exhaust aftertreatment with an additional underfloor SCR catalyst, this is the first Mercedes-Benz model to be certified to the Euro 6d standard. Also available on market launch is the four-cylinder GLE 300 d 4MATIC with 180 kW and 500 Nm. Thanks to further enhanced emission control technologies, the powerful four-cylinder from the modern OM 654 engine family remains below all emission limits even in demanding driving situations and environmental conditions far beyond the norm. 

Six-cylinder petrol engine: electrified with 48-volt technology 

The first petrol model powered by a six-cylinder engine systematically electrified with 48-volt technology is the Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4MATIC and is available on market launch. Its performance data: 270 kW and 500 Nm of torque, with a further 250 Nm of torque available via EQ Boost over short periods. The integrated starter/alternator (ISG) is responsible for hybrid functions such as EQ Boost or energy recuperation, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology.  

MBUX: now with Interior Assist 

The GLE is equipped with the latest generation of the multimedia system MBUX - Mercedes-Benz User Experience. As standard it include a large screen Cockpit as 12.3-inch/31.2 cm screens arranged next to each other for a sublime widescreen look. The information of the instrument cluster and media display is easily legible on the large, high-resolution screens. An emotive presentation with brilliant graphics underlines the comprehensibility of the intuitive control structure. 

The new, optional MBUX Interior Assist also allows intuitive, natural operation of different comfort and MBUX functions by movement recognition. When a hand approaches the touchscreen or the touchpad on the centre console, the media display changes and individual elements are highlighted.  

A unique feature of MBUX - Mercedes-Benz User Experience is its learning capability thanks to artificial intelligence. With its predictive functions, MBUX can anticipate the driver's wishes – such as a regularly used navigation destination.  

Interior: more space in the rear and third seat row on request 

A size larger: the new GLE has a considerably longer wheelbase than its predecessor, which has increased by 80 mm. This creates significantly more space, especially for passengers in the rear. Legroom in the second seat row has increased by 69 mm. Headroom in the rear with the standard, fixed rear seat unit and 40:20:40 backrest division has increased by 35 mm. And because the A-pillar is more upright than before, spaciousness and entry comfort in the first row has been further improved. 

As an optional extra, a special second seat row with six fully electric adjustment options is available. The right and left seats can be separately adjusted fore-and-aft by up to 100 millimetres, the backrests are adjustable for angle and foldable in a 40:20:40 ratio, and the head restraints are adjustable for height. The backrest can also be completely folded down electrically, using a switch array in the luggage compartment. As in the previous model, three child seats can be installed next to one another in the second seat row. The outer seats have ISOFIX fastening points. 

The luggage capacity is up to 825 litres behind the rear seats, and up to 2055 litres when the second seat row is folded down. A 72 mm increase in through-loading width allows bulky items to be stowed more easily.  

Even more flexibility is possible with the optional, folding third seat row, which provides two extra seats. Thanks to the Easy Entry function of the fully electrically adjustable second seat row, the two rearmost passengers can conveniently reach their seats. 

Exterior design: powerful presence 

"The GLE exhibits iconic Mercedes-Benz design while remaining true to its character as an off-roader,"

says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.

"With its design idiom it perfectly embodies our design philosophy of sensual purity, thus representing modern luxury. The interior derives its fascination from the contrast between the luxurious and elegant design and the digital high-tech of our MBUX system." 

Modern luxury both on and off the road: that is the design message of the new GLE. The vehicle's proportions with a long wheelbase, short overhangs and large, flush-fitted wheels already leave no doubt that it feels at home and cuts a good figure on any terrain. The GLE follows the design strategy of sensual purity, and dispenses with individual edges and beading in favour of generously modelled surfaces. The surfaces interact with precise graphic elements. 

The front section of the GLE exudes presence and power: this is ensured by the upright radiator grille in an octagonal SUV interpretation, the prominent, chrome-plated underguard and the bonnet with two powerdomes. This striking appearance is emphasised by the distinctive headlamp design by day and night. The ULTRA RANGE high beam of the optional MULTIBEAM LED headlamps projects a particularly long-range beam of light. 

Viewed from the side, the wide C-pillar typical of the GLE conveys self-assured stability. The large wheels in sizes from 18 to 22 inches; as optional; are housed in wheel arches with prominent liners. The chrome surrounds of the windows are however reminiscent of a premium saloon model.  

The GLE also cuts an athletic figure from the rear. This is particularly ensured by the powerful shoulder muscle extending from the C-pillar to the rear lights. The rear is strikingly rounded off with the chrome-plated underguard. 

Aerodynamics: detailed fine-tuning for the best Cd figure in this class 

The new GLE has a Cd figure from 0.29, the best in its segment. This is also a significant improvement over the preceding model (Cd 0.32). The good aerodynamic properties make a key contribution to low fuel consumption under everyday conditions.  


Driving assistance systems: superior support in tailbacks 

The new GLE is the debut of the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems giving cooperative support to the driver. The level of active safety has not only been improved further compared to the preceding model - some Intelligent Drive functions are also without parallel beyond the SUV segment.  

When Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation is active, the new GLE is able to respond to LiveTraffic info - ideally before the driver or the radar and camera sensors detect the hold-up or hazard. When a traffic jam is detected, the speed is reduced by way of precaution to approx. 100 km/h, unless the driver specifically decides otherwise. 

Once the tailback dissolves, the GLE accelerates back up to the set speed for Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with route-based speed adaptation. Where traffic signs specify a different speed, Active Speed Limit Assist automatically selects the signposted speed limit. 

Always ready to help: numerous other assistants are available 

It is not only by giving driver support in tailbacks that the new GLE further expands Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive and takes another major step towards autonomous driving. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now provide even more comfortable support for the driver in keeping a safe distance and steering.  

A totally new feature of Active Brake Assist in the Driving Assistance package is the turning-off function, which comes into play when the driver intends to turn off across the oncoming lane: in the event of a risk of collision with oncoming traffic, the GLE can carry out autonomous braking. In addition, the new GLE is equipped with Active Blind Spot Assist which includes an exit warning. This function can lower the risk of a collision with other road users, such as passing cyclists.  

ENERGIZING comfort control: now with a guide 

ENERGIZING seat kinetics is another new feature. This supports beneficial changes in seated posture by means of minute movements of the seat cushion and backrest when on a journey. 

ENERGIZING comfort control networks various comfort systems in the vehicle, and uses musical and lighting moods plus a number of massage modes for a wide range of feel-good programmes.  

4MATIC all-wheel drive: agile on the road, superior when off-road 

In all variants of the new GLE, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. With the four cylinder engines, 4MATIC all-wheel drive is realised with a transfer case which transmits the drive torque to the axles in a fixed ratio of 50:50 percent.  

A transfer case with an electronically controlled multi -disc clutch is used in the GLE 450 or GLE 400 d. This allows a variable transfer of drive torque from 0100 percent (torque on demand) between the axles. Also new, and available as an option, is a transfer case specially configured for superior off-road driving characteristics. In addition to the controlled multi-disc clutch with torque-ondemand function, this has a reduction gear set and an automatic locking effect from 0–100 percent for off-road driving.  

The two fully networked transfer cases with torque on demand allow a further improvement in handling safety and agility also when driving on the road. This is achieved in particular during cornering, by specifically influencing the degree of yaw to induce oversteer or understeer. 

Lightweight construction: the battle for the ideal weight 

With its high rigidity, the bodyshell of the new GLE makes a major contribution to meeting the demanding standards for vehicle dynamics, quiet running, perceived quality and crash safety. From PRE-SAFE® to the seat belts, from the bodyshell structure to the airbags: the new GLE provides comprehensive protection that commences well before an accident and continues to act afterwards. 

Both statically and dynamically, the body structure of the new GLE is around 20 percent more torsionally rigid than that of the previous model. To this end it combines high-strength sheet steel with lightweight materials for certain assemblies.  

Head up: the next-generation head-up display 

A next-generation head-up display is available which sets new standards with a resolution of 720 x 240 pixels and an extended projection distance. A system of lenses and mirrors projects a full-colour image measuring around 45 x 15 centimetres into the windscreen. To the driver it appears to float above the bonnet at a distance of around 3 metres. Now more than twice the size, the virtual image is 20 percent brighter for better legibility and has space for further information.   

A clear view ahead: the ultimate windscreen wiper system

The ultimate in windscreen wiper/washer systems is MAGIC VISION CONTROL, which has undergone further development for the new GLE and saves up to 50 percent of washer fluid compared to a conventional system – while ensuring a perfect view to the front. The intelligent system precisely meters the washer fluid according to the prevailing conditions, e.g. the ambient temperature and road speed. The warm washer fluid is distributed onto the windscreen along the entire length of the wiper blades by sophisticated channels and hoses, always on the side towards which the blade is currently moving. Accordingly the washing procedure can be fully automated according to the current conditions. Corresponding washer programmes are stored in the control unit of the wiper motor.  

Trailer Manoeuvring Assist: support during slow manoeuvres  

Trailer Manoeuvring Assist is new at Mercedes-Benz and optionally available for the GLE in Europe. It particularly makes reversing manoeuvres easier for inexperienced trailer users. Trailer Manoeuvring Assist controls the steering angle of the towing vehicle automatically. An articulation angle sensor in the ball-neck of the trailer coupling supplies the necessary information.  

Interior design: luxuriously elegant and powerfully progressive 

The interior of the new GLE derives its fascination from the contrast between the luxurious, elegant ambience of a Mercedes-Benz luxury sedan and the robust, progressive features of an SUV. The central element in the dashboard’s design is a sporty, stylish cockpit unit embedded in a striking dashboard support.  

The prominent, raised centre console creates a robust contrast with the fleefloating appearance of the dashboard. As a typical feature of off-roaders, there are two prominent grab handles on the centre console. Flowing leather surfaces create a modern, luxurious impression rounded off by a broad area of trim and flush-fitting roller blinds. All the ergonomically refined controls and displays feature a new design.   

Nine gears for comfortable and efficient gear shifts

In all variants of the new GLE, power is transmitted by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears one to nine allows a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort. The high overall efficiency is reflected in the fuel economy. Shortened shift and response times ensure optimum spontaneity combined with outstandingly smooth gear changes. Particularly in manual mode and S mode, 9G-TRONIC responds immediately and enhances driving pleasure. 

The particularly good gearshifting comfort of the 9-speed automatic transmission is the result of extensive measures. These include the novel direct control system which enables short, barely perceptible gear changes. The combination of twin-turbine torsional damper and centrifugal pendulum technology in the torque converter ensures outstanding drive comfort. An additional, electric transmission oil pump is activated in start/stop operation, ensuring a basic supply to the control elements and actuators. The time delay between the desire to move off and the vehicle's actual movement is reduced by the electric transmission oil pump.  

In ECO driving mode, the gliding function assists the driver's active fuel economy measures. When the driver's foot leaves the accelerator, the combustion engine is decoupled from the drive system and runs at idling speed. The vehicle rolls for a measurably longer distance than when on the overrun. When the accelerator is depressed again, the connection between the engine and drive system is re-established. 

When the driving situation and charge level of the battery allow, the combustion engine is decoupled from the drivetrain and switched off, so that the vehicle can coast freely ("gliding").This involves shifting the transmission into neutral position, thereby reducing drag losses in the drivetrain. The starter-alternator serves as an electric drive and helps to extend the energyefficient gliding phase. During deceleration, the kinetic energy from the starter-generator is converted into electric power ("recuperated") as appropriate to the driving situation and used to charge the battery. 

Especially in conjunction with the new transfer case with Torque on Demand, a clear difference between the individual on-road driving modes Comfort, Sport and Sport+ (only in conjunction with eABC) is perceivable and selectable by any customer. The vehicle characteristics can be varied from neutral/slight understeer right up to slight and controllable oversteer.  

The new GLE Models: 

  GLE 300 d 4MATIC GLE 400 d 4MATIC GLE 450 4MATIC
Number of cylinders/arrangement 4/in-line 6/in-line 6/in-line
Displacement (cc) 1950 2925 2999
Rated output (kW) 180 243 270
at rpm 4200 3600-4000 5500-6100
Extra output from EQ Boost (kW/hp) - - 16/22
Rated torque (Nm) 500 700 500
at rpm 1600-2400 1200-3000 1600-4500
Add. torque from ECO Boost (Nm) - - 250
Fuel consumption combined  (l/100 km)  6.4-6.1 7,5-7,0 9.4-8.3
Combined CO2 emissions (g/km) 161-169  184-199 190-214
Emission class Euro 6d-TEMP Euro 6d Euro 6d-TEMP
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s) 7.2 5.8 5.7
Top speed (km/h) 225 240 250
Starting Retail Price  R 1 210 500 R1 351 200 R1 329 400

*DIN kerb weight, not including driver; **EC kerb weight, including driver (75 kg). 

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