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A FEELING OF GLE (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
In MK2 model guise, the Mercedes GLE is a large luxury SUV with a more dynamic look and a more sophisticated feel than its M-Class-based predecessor. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 77
The second generation Mercedes GLE is now a much stronger contender in the large luxury SUV segment thanks to smarter looks, more efficient engines and the option of seven seats for the first time. That's because it's significantly bigger inside than its predecessor, hence the bigger boot. The suspension's more sophisticated too and there are greater levels of safety and media connectivity. Rivals like BMW's X5 and Porsche's Cayenne must now take this car very seriously indeed.
Backgroundword count: 198
Think of all the reasons not to like a large, luxury SUV. Thirst. Poor performance. Huge tax liabilities. Wobbly handling. Yet upper-middle class motorists still love them, patiently sure that one day, the brands involved would bring us something better. Something perhaps, like this - the second generation Mercedes GLE. This contender sits at the heart of the large section of the luxury SUV segment, just above the brand's more compact Audi Q5 or BMW X3-sized GLC model. And just below the Range Rover-sized Mercedes GLS. As you might be aware, cars in this GLE's class tend to fall into two categories in their approach to likely buyers. Seven-seat practicality is favoured by SUVs like Land Rover's Discovery, Audi's Q7 and Volvo's XC90 - which is one way to go. As an alternative, contenders like BMW's X5, Porsche's Cayenne and Volkswagen's Touareg give you only five seats but offer more dynamic looks and agile handling. This Mercedes can now offer up to seven seats and hopes to appeal to both areas of this segment. There's a separate stylised GLE Coupe model still on sale, but that's based on the previous generation model and won't be replaced until 2020.
Driving Experienceword count: 236
There are four GLE engine options to begin with and most buyers are likely to choose the base diesel derivative, a 300d 4MATIC variant that features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 245hp and 500Nm of torque. It can travel from 0 to 62mph in 7.2 seconds and has a top speed of 140mph. Next up is the six cylinder diesel 350d 4MATIC, which offers 272hp, the same engine also available in 330hp guise in the GLE 400d 4MATIC. If petrol power is of more interest, there's an alternative GLE 450 4MATIC variant powered by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine with EQ Boost, which has an output of 367hp and 500Nm of torque. EQ Boost uses a 48-volt onboard network with a belt-driven starter/alternator - the system adds 22hp to the car's overall output. It can sprint from 0 to 62mph in 5.7 seconds and has a top speed of 155mph. In all variants, power is transmitted via 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The broad ratio spread of gears allows for a clearly perceptible reduction in engine speed. Ride comfort and agility improvements are promised by the optional 48V E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL suspension, which is combined with the optional AIRMATIC air suspension. This is the only system in the market where the spring and damping forces can be individually controlled at each wheel. This means that it not only counteracts body roll, but also pitching and squat.
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