New Mercedes-Benz GLE Gains Third Row, Hybrid Tech

Mercedes-Benz gave us photos of the all-new, longer wheelbase GLE crossover last month. But it didn’t make its auto show debut until yesterday at the Paris Motor Show. Mercedes has made the GLE more comfortable, more spacious, and much more high tech. The automaker even says it’s added some trick new tech that makes it better off-road.

The GLE rides on a new platform from Benz. It stretches the wheelbase by 80 mm. That 2,995 mm of space between the wheels means 69 mm more rear legroom. A noticeable increase. It also means that there’s enough space in the back to add an optional third row. The extra two seats might not be the roomiest, but the option to have them is likely to be popular.

That extra space adds cargo volume too. Luggage space with the middle seats up climbs from 690L to 825L. Fold them down and it’s up from 2,010 to 2,055.
This is a sleek SUV. With the gently rounded nose and gently tapering roofline; Mercedes has managed some impressive aerodynamics. It cuts through the wind with a coefficient of drag of just 0.29. Benz calls that a best-in-segment number.

At launch, the new GLE will be available with a pair of drivelines. One a mild hybrid, the other more conventional.

The GLE 350 is fitted with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder. That engine produces 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The GLE 450 uses a turbocharged inline six along with starter/generator-based 48-volt hybrid system. That powertrain makes 362 hp and 369 lb-ft but the electric assist is able to add up to 184 lb-ft and 21 hp for short periods of time. Both powertrains use a nine-speed automatic and have all-wheel drive.

At the show, Mercedes-Benz confirmed that it will be available with more engine options, including an eight-cylinder and a plug-in hybrid. The new all-wheel drive system on six and eight-cylinder models will be able to send 100 percent of torque to either the front or rear axle to improve traction.

That 48-volt system allows for more use of start/stop and engine-off gliding to improve fuel economy. It also has other benefits for the suspension system. The EQ boost system can work with an E-active body control electronic suspension. That air system uses the higher voltage to help control the spring and the damping rates. At all four wheels. That lets the system improve ride quality and reduce pitch and squat from acceleration and braking.