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Mercedes-Benz GLE (GLE First Generation)

GLE First Generation

Make: Mercedes-Benz

Model: GLE

Released: Jan 1970

Mercedes-Benz logo1 Sep 2015

By ROBBIE WALLIS

The new Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV took over from the ML-Class to streamline naming of the Benz SUVs and brought with the new badge a coupe variant, a nine-speed automatic and updated adaptive suspension systems.

The GLE was further distinguished by a revised bonnet profile, a new radiator grille, LED headlights with intelligent light system (as standard), tweaked front and rear bumpers, chrome tail pipes and new alloy wheels.

The interior was updated with an 8-inch "tablet style" screen, an updated instrument cluster, a meatier steering wheel, touchpad-equipped infotainment controller within a revised centre console.

The entry level 150kW/500Nm four-cylinder GLE 250d claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 6 litres per 100km and the new nine-speed auto drivetrain is expected to maintain its position as one of the top-selling models.

The ML 350 became the GLE 350d, and added keyless entry, as well as a powered tailgate, 20-inch alloys and the nine-speed automatic behind the V6 turbo diesel engined model - responsible for nearly half of the model’s sales - produced 190kW and 620Nm.

The petrol range started with the GLE 400, powered by a direct-injection petrol twin-turbo 245kW/480Nm V6, but teamed with the seven-speed automatic, which was retained for the bulk of the petrol-powered range.

Among the 400's standard fare was leather trim, heated front seats and 20-inch alloys, a 360-degree camera system, a glass electric sunroof and a 14 speaker Harman Kardon Logic 7 surround-sound system.

The GLE 500 seven-speed auto had a direct-injection twin-turbo V8 engine producing 320kW and 700Nm, with a claimed fuel use figure of 11 litres per 100km.

Standard fare on the 500 included the adaptive Airmatic suspension with the "Active Curve" anti-body roll system, 21-inch alloy wheels, and heated and ventilated front seats.

The performance SUV flagship AMG GLE 63 S, was at the time Australia's most powerful SUV, with the 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 engine punching the two-tonne SUV to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds thanks to 430kW and 760Nm.

Standard safety fare range-wide included nine airbags, adaptive cruise control, Pre-Safe automatic braking with pedestrian detection, Crosswind Assist, active Blind Spot and Lane Keeping assistance, trailer sway control (where applicable) and an LED intelligent lighting with adaptive high beam assistance.

A segment first for towing, the GLE was made available with a full-electric extendable and retractable tow hitch coupling to make the most of a 3265kg braked towing capacity with a 265kg ball download.

An option on all except the AMG was the $3350 Off-Road Engineering package, which added low range, a locking centre diff, higher ground clearance settings and off-road specific programming for the traction control systems.

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