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Paris show: Benz blitz continues with GLE

Power on: Mercedes-Benz Cars sales and marketing director Britta Seeger launches the all-new Mercedes GLE in Paris.

Five powertrain options for Mercedes GLE in Australia as models keep rolling out


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2 Oct 2018


MERCEDES-BENZ’S latest GLE large SUV will spearhead wall-to-wall new-model launches next year for the three-pointed star in Australia where at least six – and probably more – fresh vehicles will continue the rejuvenation of the range and take the marque into new categories, including all-electric propulsion.
Formally revealed on the eve of the Paris motor show this week, the second-generation GLE will kick off in April with a mainstream variant powered by six-cylinder diesel – the first of five powertrains to be rolled out in the big SUV in Australia over about 12 months.
Others will include a four-cylinder diesel, mild-hybrid petrol-electric six-cylinder (the GLE450 4Matic EQ Boost) and two AMG turbo variants: the flagship V8 GLE63 and six-cylinder GLE53.
Other new Mercedes models on the launchpad for 2019 are the first A-Class sedan that is due to arrive in the second quarter, the all-new B-Class around mid-year, two AMG-enhanced A-Class hatchbacks, the A35 and A45, in the last quarter, and Mercedes’ first all-electric production car, the EQC 4Matic crossover vehicle, also in the last quarter.
Somewhere along the line, the new-generation CLA sedan and wagon and GLA small SUV will also lob, although they are yet to be officially confirmed.
The 2019 launches will continue the momentum initiated this year with the launch of important volume sellers such as the all-new A-Class hatchback and facelifted C-Class.
Pricing and full specifications for the GLE wagon and coupe will be announced closer to launch, but Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific head of external affairs and corporate communications David McCarthy has confirmed that Australia will get a seven-seat option alongside the traditional five-seater for the first time.
He said this would enhance the appeal of the big SUV, making it better equipped in the showdown with the traditional segment leader, the BMW X5, and Audi’s Q7.
He said greater interior space with 69mm more rear seat legroom and the first hybrid powertrain in the GLE would also broaden the appeal, as would the addition of hi-tech features such as E-Active body control suspension and Mercedes’ latest MBUX connectivity with its “Hey, Mercedes” voice command system and artificial intelligence learning ability.
As GoAuto has reported, the hybrid GLE450 will combine a new 270kW/500Nm inline six-cylinder turbo-petrol engine with 16kW/250Nm electric motor and nine-speed automatic transmission to deliver V8-like performance while drinking as little as 8.3 litres per 100km.
The hybrid GLE will effectively take the place of the V8 GLE500 that has already been dropped from the line-up.
Although the GLE450 shown in Paris had three rows of seats, it is unclear if the Australian version of the hybrid GLE will get this feature as Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific usually specifies a larger fuel tank to cope with this county’s long driving distances.
Mr McCarthy said he expected the diesel variants that account for up to half of GLE sales in the current model to continue to dominate in Australia, with the entry-level four-cylinder version taking the lion’s share.
So far this year, sales of the current GLE wagon that was launched in 2011 have slipped 14.2 per cent, to 1410 vehicles, while the sloped-roof coupe version is down 4.9 per cent, to 535 units.
While Mercedes is confident the new GLE will reverse this slide, it will not have it all its own way, as BMW is rolling out new X5 and X6 models, including a new plug-in hybrid version, the xDrive45e.
At the Paris show, the GLE is sharing the Mercedes limelight with the new-generation B-Class, feisty A35 AMG hatch, the first A-Class sedan and first all-electric Mercedes-Benz production car, the EQC.
Boasting up to 300kW of power and 765Nm of torque from twin motors – one up front and the other down the back – fed by a 80kWh battery under the floor in a dedicated modular architecture, the EQC will be the first of 10 EQ models by 2025.
The next one off the development drawing board is expected to be the entry-level EQA in 2020.

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