Mercedes-Benz has just launched the new GLE in India with prices starting at Rs 58.9 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). This new luxury SUV, in essence, is a heavily revised version of the outgoing ML-Class with a new nomenclature as the GLE. The latter was introduced back in mid-2012 to sit below the gigantic GL-Class in Mercedes’ SUV range here in India.
Design wise, the GLE retains the overall shape of the old ML-Class but adopts the new Mercedes family look. As a result, nearly all the design elements appear more angular and more aerodynamic compared to the squarish design of the outgoing car. The creases on the bonnet have become prominent while in select versions, the bumper now gets a pseudo bulbar element like the GLA. In profile, the GLE retains the overall shape of the ML-Class including the prominent C-pillar which signifies the third row. The rear, however, remains nearly the same with revisions coming in the form of different taillight detailing and a new bumper.
Inside, Mercedes hasn’t made too many revisions to the overall layout of the cabin. That being said, the GLE boasts of few noticeable upgrades in the form of a sportier-looking 3-spoke steering wheel, new design for the air vents and an upgraded display for the COMAND infotainment system. As for the equipment, the new GLE is being offered with new ambient lighting, rear seat entertainment package as well as a more advanced version of the COMAND over the old ML-Class.
Mercedes-Benz India is offering the GLE with either the 258bhp, 3-litre V6 diesel or the 203bhp 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel engine. While the former accelerates from 0-100kmph in 7.1 seconds, the less powerful four-cylinder version takes 8.6 seconds. What’s entirely new here is the 9-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic gearbox that replaces the old 7-speed unit. This new unit comes integrated with start/stop function, quicker response and up to three driving modes – Sport, Economy and Manual. The GLE, then, is the first vehicle in India to feature this new 9-speed unit from Mercedes-Benz.
Now that it has officially arrived in the Indian market, the new GLE is all set to compete with other premium SUVs including the BMW X5 and the Audi Q7. While the X5 is still a relatively modern product, the Q7 sold here in India is of the older generation. Audi India, though, has been extensively testing the all-new generation Q7 for a while now and should be able to bring it to the showrooms by the end of this year.
Ex-showroom prices for the new GLE range are listed below:
GLE 250 d 4MATIC - Rs 58.9 lakh
GLE 350 d 4MATIC - Rs 69.9 lakh