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The GLE gets a complete refresh for this model year, and a lot of technology too
The GLE has been a success for Mercedes-Benz in India — it’s big, it’s comfortable and it has the road presence that it’s price calls for. For 2020 though, Mercedes has stepped up the game by bringing in the all-new GLE. The new car is both longer and wider, and the car gets a complete redesign inside and out. However, the signature forward leaning C-Pillar stays, harking back to the M-Classes of old. At Rs 73.70 lakh it is priced higher than both the Audi Q7 and BMW X5.
The new GLE looks almost nothing like the old one, but it still looks like a big, expensive Mercedes. The headlights are more compact and sleeker than before, with two LED strips hinting at the E-Class lineage. The large grille is centered by the three-pointed star, lending it an imposing front end. This is aided by the muscular bulges in the bonnet and flared wheel arches. The side profile is not over the top but has a muscular sense to it and features a sharp beltline. It is still very GLE though, or rather M-Class like, thanks to the C-pillar design.
The rear of the GLE does borrow inspiration from the GLS, as the rest of the design but more so in the rear. There are slim taillights that taper towards the center and meet a chrome element under the three-pointed star. There are chrome (faux) exhaust tips flanking a chrome diffuser, adding a touch of luxury to the rear-end. The new GLE looks very handsome overall, it is well proportioned and imposing. Like the GLE should
If you think the exterior is a big departure from the outgoing GLE, wait till you step inside. The cabin is dominated by the large twin 12.3-inch screens, where one handles the infotainment and the other serves as the digital instrument cluster. The GLE now gets Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment system that debuted on the GLC in India, and features the “Hey Mercedes” functionality. The infotainment screen gets a row of four AC vents that are finished in chrome, under which are shortcut keys for the climate control. The large displays are flanked by two large vents, the one on the driver’s side if functional but the one on the other end is just for show, for symmetry. The steering wheel offers more functionality than before too, with touchpads on either side to control both displays via the wheel. The strip of wood running across the dash looks exquisite. An almost signature of the new generation Mercedes cars is the class leading ambient lighting and the GLE does not disappoint those looking for a light show in their car. There is an option of six-way electronically adjustable rear seats on the GLE! The large panoramic sunroof adds to the luxe factor and makes the cabin feel airier and larger than it already is.
The new GLE is longer than the old one by 105mm, now measuring in at 4924mm with a 2995mm wheelbase. The new car also has a wider track than before, by 25mm on the front and 35mm at the rear. The GLE has a more athletic stance thanks to the slightly lower roof, as compared to the last generation car. Internationally, the new GLE gets the E-Active body Control, that can individually control the suspension on each side, meaning it can keep the car level during cornering, jiggle about to get you unstuck off-road, or put on a dance show at the launch event. The E-Active Body Control is standard on the 400d model in India, while the 300d will run on standard steel springs.
The 2020 GLE will come with two power units, the 300d and the 400d. The base 300d replaces the 250d with a 1950cc diesel that makes 241bhp and 500Nm of torque and has a claimed 0-100 time of 7.2 seconds. The 400d replaces the 350d with a 2925cc motor producing 325bhp and 700Nm of torque, and gets the GLE to a 100 in a brisk 5.8 seconds. Both engines on the new GLE will come mated to a nine-speed automatic gearbox and Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel-drive system.
The new GLE has got a bump in price, largely because of the extra kit on offer and also thanks to the BS6 norms. The GLE is now priced between Rs 73.70 lakh for the GLE 300d and Rs 1.25 crore for the top-end 400d, since the latter is a CBU. The GLE goes up against the Audi Q7 and BMW X7 and although it is priced higher than the two, it offers the same level of quality and kit, if not more in some areas. Mercedes-Benz has already opened up bookings for the all-new GLE after selling all stocks of the outgoing model during Diwali.